Newsletter 49

Welcome to our weekly newsletter

This last Wednesday morning we had speakers, Hugh Price and Steve Rumney from Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue.  We welcomed as guests,  Paul Tucker, Sarah Gilbert guest of Mary Whittington, Justin Cook of Burston Cook and Lucy Saunders of LinkAge Bristol.   

This week is busy for our club. On Wednesday we had 'Kids Out' taking 140 children from special schools in Bristol to Cattle Country in South Gloucestershire. On Thursday some members visited the Royal Mint at Llantrissant.

On Sunday we will be holding our annual Dragon Boat Festival at Bristol harbourside and the forecast is good so please come along and enjoy the fun. 


This week we heard about the amazing work of the Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue Team. Hugh Price and team leader, Steve Rumney explained about the vital role that this totally voluntary organisation plays in our communities assisting the emergency services. Our many thanks to all the volunteers who give their time and special skills freely.

Cliff Rescue cover of Avon was originally provided by the Police as the Bristol Police Force Rocks Rescue Unit. In approximately 1981, Police Rocks Rescue Unit was disbanded & its duties were absorbed into the role of the Avon Rocks Rescue Team (ARRT), which was formed in 1976 and was working in parallel at the time; this organisation was made up mainly of climbing instructors working for local government. 

Cheddar Gorge

No cliff rescue cover was in place for this area and it was opening to a wider climbing audience; Lord Bath (Longleat Estates) was being advised to prohibit climbing in the Gorge due to difficulty of recovery and liability. An agreement was reached whereby the climbers would form a rescue team to provide this cover and climbing would continue to be permitted. The Cheddar Gorge Cliff Rescue Team (CGCRT) was consequently formed in 1977


Both teams continued in parallel and over time, the membership became common to both teams, this required a needless duplication of roles etc, circa 1990 ARRT and CGCRT merged to create Avon and Somerset Cliff Rescue team.

A&SSAR has fifty plus dedicated trained rescue and support members to call upon and extensive access to other specialised outdoor personnel.

A&SSAR has three dedicated mountain rescue posts;

  • Avonquay, Cumberland Basin, Bristol

  • Cheddar, Caves Complex, Somerset

  • Charterhouse Centre, Mendip Hills, Somerset

The team has an extensive portable radio network and members are trained in its use. They also have  portable IT systems used for search management including GIS mapping.

It’s very rare they help to rescue climbers these days. Climbers equipment, self-rescue skills and the rockfaces they climb on have all improved over the years. The typically get called out to search for and rescue ‘despondents’, people who are suicidal, or people who are vulnerable for mental health reasons. Invariably these call-outs can be quite tragic.

A recent callout on the evening of the 22nd May was to help rescue a climber with a broken ankle and his partner and is a rare occasion they can share more details and hear from the casualty.

Simon Carobene and his partner were scrambling up the cliff at Cheddar Gorge to the start of their climbing route for the evening when he slipped.

Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue were called out at 19.39 to work alongside the Fire & Rescue Service and South West Ambulance Service to locate the climber, stabilise the injury and bring him down to the road and the waiting ambulance.

Simon reported, “I broke my ankle on the way to the start of a climbing route in Cheddar Gorge, and had to be rescued due to the awkward location. One of the ASSAR members, who as I remember was called Ian, climbed up to me and gave me a blanket and put my ankle into a splint. He also kept me company while we were waiting for the rope system to be set up, and then helped get me into a stretcher and lower me down to the road. I would very much like to thank him.

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to ASSAR along with the fire and ambulance services and everyone who helped to get me down from the cliffs. They did an outstanding job of getting me out of a very tricky situation, and I really can’t thank everyone enough.

After being rescued, Simon spent five days in Weston General Hospital having broken his ankle in three places requiring surgery to install metal fixtures on both sides of the ankle. He is now making a good recovery. 

All the members of ASSAR wish Simon a speedy recovery and a long climbing career ahead of him.

Upcoming Meeting

  • 21 June 2017 - Club Assembly
  • 28 June 2017 - Handover meeting


News and Events


On Wednesday District 1100 played host to some 600 children to provide them with a fun day out at Cattle Country in South Gloucestershire. Our many thanks to Colin and all at District for organising this superb event so much enjoyed by the children.

From a club perspective we took 140 children from the Bridge Learning campus, Hareclive School and Kingsweston Special School so many thanks to Mark Colfer for arranging this. 

The day went well with wonderful weather and the children trying out all the activities on offer. Mark and I supervised the huge slide. I wonder who was having more fun?

Presentation of Golf Day Cheque

A cheque for £4,500 presented to Lucy Saunders of LinkAge Bristol to work with people 55+ and local communities to facilitate inspiring social activities that enrich lives, reduce loneliness and encourage active participation.

Visit to the Royal Mint

We had a great trip around the Royal Mint at Llantrissant learning about the history and the processes to make coins for some 60 countries. The first responsibility of the Royal Mint is to make and distribute the UK’s coins. We estimate that the current number of all coins in circulation in the UK is around 28 billion pieces. And we’re hard at work making next year’s mintage. Many thanks to Roger Barnard for organising this trip.

9th July 2017  
Portishead Raft Race - Portishead Lake

WE NEED YOU to be a paddler or build our raft
We as a club have entered a raft  and the team name is "Breakfast means Breakfast." We need to build a raft, get a team together, organise a gazebo on the day and ooze lots of enthusiasm. Fancy dress positively encouraged. We need two paddlers - we can have ringers but they must be over 16.
Anyone up for it ? Please! 
Contact Roger Harper: