ROOTS SPOTLIGHT: The Reindeer Ramblers took first steps at pub

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We want to put all the unsung groups that represent the beating hearts of our communities in the spotlight.

The latest organisation to come under the Grass Roots Spotlight is.....

Name of group...

The Reindeer Ramblers

How many members are there in your group?

Sadly our numbers have been depleted over the years, and we now have less than 40 members, meaning the distance we can travel by coach is restricted through lack of funds.

However these restrictions don’t deter us from what our founders set out to do.

We have organised occasional non-coach related local walks to consolidate our resources.

We are likeminded ordinary lads and lasses, (no dukes or duchesses) with a love of the countryside, plus the bonus of being able to take the rough with the smooth.

Most of the members are from the Mansfield/Ashfield area, but we have one from Nottingham, and another stalwart from as far afield as Barnsley.

Age of members...

Members are aged from 20 years old to 80-plus.

How long has your group been running?

The Reindeer Ramblers was set up 34 years ago by a group of regulars at the Reindeer pub on Southwell Road in Mansfield in 1984, with Barry Fryer, Ray Renshaw and Larry Whitehead at the helm.

The idea was to spend less time in the then smoky pub and get out into the countryside for the fresh air, exercise, and to enjoy the scenery, thereby improving their life-styles.

From basic beginnings, pit boots, trainers and carrier-bags, the club gradually grew to about 120 members, some outings requiring extra transport.

Where is your group based?

We still use the Reindeer pub for our meetings.

What do you offer your members and what activities do you get up to?

Apart from regular fortnightly walks, successful charity initiatives and coastal and weekend rambles have been arranged.

Our aim is to make the walks as varied and interesting as possible and keep the mileage, pace and terrain within the ability of all members.

However due to an unpredictable climate, unforeseen bogs and fogs, farm machinery turning lanes into canals, or someone reading a map upside down, a change of plan could be required.

The average length of our walks is about eight-and-a-half miles.

We try and maintain a return to the coach by at least 5pm.

All members are free to suggest and lead walks.

The coach we hire is invariably with us all day, so in the event of typhoons, monsoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis or revolutions, it can usually be utilised to save our souls!

In fact without the coach drivers’ patience and road sense, negotiating narrow, twisting lanes and village streets and coaxing old engines up steep inclines, rambles would be far more difficult to arrange.

Special thanks to Derek, our driver for many years.

Are there any costs involved?

Members pay a £5 annual membership fee and £10 per coach trip, plus a little extra if the walk is further afield, for example the Yorkshire Moors/Dales or Tipperary in Ireland etc.

What are your ongoing campaigns/greatest achievements?

Our charity walks have raised around £30,000 in total down the years of the club.

How can people contact the Reindeer Ramblers if they would like to become involved?

The Reindeer Ramblers always welcome new members.

To find out more about the group call Fred on 01623 453038 or email fmar10@ntlworld.com.