For all of you who have been wondering how he is after finishing his 20th trekking season last Autumn, our long serving guide and faithful friend Cowboy Pete is recovering after a successful hip replacement operation on 11th January. He was up and about on crutches within 48 hours of the op and was allowed home in under a week. Our love and best wishes go to him and Margaret. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope he’s back on his feet (and a horse) very soon.

2008 And a very happy New Year

OK. So these are my New Year’s Resolutions:-
1 Write more Updates
2 Take more photographs
3 Put more photographs on website
4 Eat less
(5 Drink less).
Number 5 is in brackets because one mustn’t attempt too much in one go!
The Valley came alive on New Year’s Eve, with all sorts of brilliant pink wigs, green painted faces, witches hats, and a Frenchman in stripy jumper – yes, it was fancy dress at The Half Moon. Paula and Keith had gathered together a Harry Potter cast, and Tom, Annabel, Jamie (Annabel’s boyfriend) and Harri (our Trekking Leader) were revoltingly bilious as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Bryony remained rather more elegant as Betty of the Flintstones. It was a fabulous night, and great fun to see so many people from the Valley getting together – especially as we didn’t do so in August when the Show was cancelled. The “Biden crowd” – the Trevelog riders, and big float rivals – helped swell the throng. They are now as much part of the Valley as the permanent residents, and things would not be the same without them. Long may they keep coming!
Any hangovers were dispelled with the traditional New Year’s Day swim in the river. Tony Smith led the jumping, resplendent in royal blue long johns. Kris followed in the previous night’s Fred Flintstone costume, followed by at least twenty swimmers. There appear to be more and more each year, everyone happy to raise money for charity.
History of “The Swim”.
It all started in 1975 when Tony Smith took up a bet to do something a little mad on Christmas Day! A lone swimmer then, the bet raised £5 for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, chosen because Dai Griffiths from The Grange Trekking had lost his sight.
The idea continued the following year when Rex and Tony took the vicar’s bicycle in the river. It took two days before it was retrieved downstream. I hope it wasn’t too rusty by then! Gradually more swimmers have joined them, and New Year’s Day was deemed to be a better day for everyone, swimmers and spectators alike.
Other bets were put forward – one year someone said they would give £50 to see the swim. “Good heavens” Rex spluttered “I’ld swim nude for that amount!”. Well – you know what he had to do. Another year Neil the Broadley proclaimed that he couldn’t possibly swim for under £100. Never has £100 been raised so quickly by the Half Moon clientele as on that night, and Neil kept his bargain.
On his 50th birthday Tony decided to hang up his swimming trunks. “Enough is enough”, he said. And Christine said he was too old to jump in the river any more! But, as you see, he couldn’t stay away from those freezing waters of the Honddu, and he has continued to lead the swim every year since then. On a sad note, the benefitting charity has changed. Bob and Margaret Juggins, who rode regularly with Tony, lost their grandson in an accident, and in respect to the help offered by the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital the collection now goes to them.
All are invited to swim – the more the merrier. After mulled wine on the river bank, some swimmers retire to the Abbey or the Half Moon for hot mince pies and further sustenance.
To make sure I stick to my New Year Resolutions, watch this space for further Updates, and photographs of our New Year activities on our photo page.
Best wishes