Theo, aged ten, writes,
“We arrived at the first tower, which was Grinton, for a 9:45am start! It was a lovely sunny day. There was a tall ladder to climb up get into the ringing chamber. Ellie had to be careful because she was wearing her Heelies! There are 8 bells there and they were really quite nice. Lots of people arrived, some from Ripon Cathedral, John from Richmond and other from towers in the area. Everyone got to ring. There were enough boxes for the children who needed them and some of the adults too 😉
We rang there for about 40 minutes then headed off in the sunshine to Reeth. We weren’t ringing there but Robert and Anne (the trip organisers) had planned lots of refreshment stops in between towers, which was a good idea as it was a very hot day! We all had a drink and lots of people had cake or even an ice-cream! Dean John took photos of us all before we headed back to the cars and set off for our next destination, Barnard Castle.
It was a fantastic drive over the top of the hills. There were hundreds of sheep wandering around, some on the road, which slowed us down. We also stopped to look at some vintage Massey Ferguson Tractors that were parked up in a lay-by. Ethan had a look at them with Charlie and the men driving them said they were taking them out for a day trip to Yarm.
Barnard Castle was another 8-bell tower up a spiral staircase, which was through a door from outside the church instead of inside. This ringing chamber had a lovely new wooden balcony along one side that meant the children; Lottie, Eleanor, Ethan, Rachael and I got to sit up out of the way and play while the others were ringing. The tower even had it’s own supply of Lego and toys too!! I think they were a nice ring and everyone else thought so too.
Next stop on the journey was The Black Bull Pub in Frosterley, which not only was our lunch stop but also a ring. There is a Mini-ring of 12 bells there, which my brother Ethan & I had rung before, as had a few of the other ringers. My Grandma came and joined us too at this point and it was a grab for her. She told me that ‘Ethan and I are like Mini-ring experts,’ because we’d rung the Durham & Newcastle Mini-ring lots of times with our Uncle Kris (it’s a family thing!) We all had great fun ringing on the bells. We rang lots of rounds on all 12, Andrew & John even rang 2 bells at once (double handling) but I stuck with just one. There was lots of concentration when they rang Grandsire Triples – it sounded lovely while I stood outside with Grandpa listening to it in the sunshine.
After a lovely lunch and ring we headed over to Bishop Auckland. Some people didn’t make it to this nice 8-bell tower, as it’s not really in Bishop Auckland it’s in South Church! This was a nice tower with a lovely thick red carpet; the bells were quite nice too! After a ring here it was definitely time to find an ice cream. We couldn’t find the café we were supposed to go to so we called into a lovely Garden Centre on the way and got one there! Gainford was our last tower of the day. They are a heavy ring of 6 bells and are extremely loud inside the tower so it’s quite hard to hear the conductor. Everyone had a ring but a few of the younger ones found them a little tricky and there weren’t many boxes for us to use.
It was a great day out and a brilliant opportunity to fill up the tower grabs in my Dove’s Guide. Thank you Robert for organising it. Can’t wait for my next Ringing Trip!”