Links to recent articles published by The Ringing World about the Contest are below.
RWNYC 2014 will take place in Worcester on Saturday, 5th July 2014.
RWNYC 2013 for the Whitechapel Trophy was held on Saturday, 6th July at St Lawrence’s, York. Congratulations to winners Bedfordshire and also to gold medallists The G. & B.
RWNYC 2012 was held at St Paul's, Birmingham. The trophy winners were The G. & B. and gold medallists Sussex Young Ringers.
The first Ringing World National Youth Contest was held at St Saviour Pimlico as part of the paper's Centenary Day in London on 26th March 2011. Articles on the first RWNYC are currently in the RW Centenary section of our website.
Ringing World National Youth Contest 2013 at St Lawrence’s Church, York – 6th July
by George Vant, Essex Young Eagles
In the morning at approximately 9am, all the teams including us (Essex Young Eagles) went to St Helen’s, Stonegate. This church is very historical as a place of worship has stood on this site for over a thousand years. Inside we checked in at the information desk and received our wrist bands which most people thought were cool! We also got given booklets with all the events and times when the teams were up for their piece (we were 4th). During this, further into the church was a Mini Ring, The eight bells were originally installed in The Black Bull Inn at Frosterley, Durham but they were replaced with a new ring of 12 in 2011. They were the ring of bells used for the first ever peal rung by rope and wheel in a public house on 14th December 2005. Not many of the Essex Eagles were keen to ring on it but I really wanted to have a go. Then we set off for St Lawrence’s Church and walked through the main part of town; I noticed lots of towers along the way which happened to have a ring of 3 bells but unfortunately were unringable. During the walk we passed through one of the main gates into the city, which was surrounded by the ancient stone walls surrounding the city. It was a amazing sight to see!
When we arrived in the churchyard we noticed that there was a small bell tower standing on its own! I read the notice stuck on the tower saying this was the last remaining part of the previous medieval church. Unfortunately it did not have any bells! The main tower holding the light peal of 8 was very tall and magnificent. The sound of the bells gave the impression that they were much bigger than they were. Before our turn to ring we had our team photos taken. After that we went up the narrow staircase into the ringing chamber. It was rather warm up there but had enough space to fit us and still have some breathing space. We also noticed a small bell in the the chamber which dated back to 1400. We started off with some rounds and a few call changes so people could get used to the bells. I rang on bell 6 which, after a few rounds, I noticed was odd struck. I was eventually able to ring closer at handstroke to counter the odd struckness. After a few sage comments from our conductor, who rang the 7th, we went straight into our piece. We started off with some nice rounds and rang at a fairly quick pace, which seemed to be good for the bells; then we went into the first set of call changes. Half way through some people missed a call and clashed with other bells, which we knew would result in the deduction a lot of points. After a few more errors we got it back and carried on – towards the end we maintained a good pace and ringing standard. After we finished we all heaved a big sigh of relief as it was over! And we could now enjoy the rest of our day. Our ringing supporter and manager was very pleased with our performance and I will mention our results later.
Shopping or grabbing? – no contest!
After that my team and friends all walk off and went shopping, I had no intention of shopping as I wanted to get some tower grabs. Myself, manager and 3 supporters went off to have a nice drink before going to the first open tower. The first tower we went to was St Martin-le-Grand, which had a nice peal of 8. From the outside the bells sounded amazing as they were well tuned and were rung by the York band. When we walked in they started the focused method session for Yorkshire Surprise Major. Unfortunately I don’t ring any Surprise methods yet, and to add the pressure I barely ring on 8 bells because my home tower, Layer-de-la-Haye, has a ring of 6 and is surrounded by a lot of other 6 bell towers. There are a couple of 8 and 10-bell rings but, due to lack of ringers, they usually only ring on 6 there too. During these focus groups barely any young ringers could actually ring the methods and I found it daft that 8 teams rang call changes and only 4 rang Bob or Grandsire Triples. But luckily the person running the session allowed us to ring some Bob Triples so I could get a grab! I rang very reasonably but again not as confidently as I would on 6. Then they started more Yorkshire and at that point I left …
On the way to lunch we quickly stopped by St Helen’s, Stonegate again so I could ring on the mini ring. I had a go at 2 bells without much success but after ringing the 6th of the mini ring to call changes it became easy to master. Then we rang Bob Minor on the back 6 and I rang the tenor! Unfortunately there were two inexperienced ringers on the 2 and 3 and I had to try hard to keep a steady pace. Then after we went to a nice pub for some lunch as the food provided didn’t look so appetising.
We then went onto All Saints Church and again they were in a focused session which happened to be Bristol Surprise Major which I had no idea how to ring. Again barely any young ringers ringing it so I began to wonder what was the point of it! Luckily the Tower Captain asked what I wanted to do and I rang some Bob Triples and eventually Bob Major. After that we moved on.
The last tower I rang that day was St Wilfrid’s Church with a reasonable 10. Luckly we had just got there before the “focus” which was Yorkshire and Bristol Royal. The person in charge seemed very strict as he said we had to quickly ring before the methods started. I did 2 sets of call changes on the 9 and then had a good go at Plain Hunt on 9! Then after that I went back to St Helen’s and had a go at Change Rining on Handbells which was great fun! I rang 5-6 to Plain Hunt Minor which was good fun! Then finally after a good look at the Minster we went into St Michae-le-Belfrey to get the results!
It turned out we came joint 4th which we were very pleased about. The judge said that the beginning and end changes were the best they heard all day but unfortunately the piece was let down by some change errors. He even said the pace was good and we had great potential.
To summarise I got four tower grabs, rang on a mini ring and did some method ringing on handbells, so I had a really great day! The temperature even got up to 30°C which was excellent – to me it was more like a holiday than a competition!
Here is the full results list:
|Call Changes category:|
|1st||Team 16: Bedfordshire||A (80%)|
|2nd||Team 7: Derbyshire Dingers||A (78%)|
|3rd||Team 2: Sussex Young Ringers||B+|
|4th =||Team 4: Essex Young Eagles||B|
|Team 10: Worcester Young Ringers||B|
|Team 12: Lincolnshire Poachers||B|
|5th =||Team 6: The Blue Lines||B-|
|Team 14: Bath & Wells||B-|
|6th||Team 1: Lichfield & Walsall||C|
|7th =||Team 3: St Martin's Youths||C-|
|Team 5: Les Beaux Belles
of South Lincolnshire
|8th||Team 8: Vectis Youths||D|
|1st||Team 9: The G. & B.||A-|
|2nd||Team 11: Oxford D.G.||B|
|3rd =||Team 13: Suffolk Young Ringers||C|
|Team 15: Yorkshire Puds||C|
After another night in the Hotel and a Sunday morning ring at the Minster we had a 3½-hour journey back to Essex. This was my first and unfortunately last (due to my age) opportunity for competing in this great competition. However hopefully next year I will still be able to come and support the Essex Young Eagles at Worcester!
Results in St Michael-le-Belfrey, Deangate
The Contest was judged by Simon Linford, Ryan Mills, Helen Beaumont and David Lesse, who presented the results of their deliberations at the end of the afternoon. Simon said that the grades were not directly comparable to previous years. “The bells are very much more difficult, the judges are different and might have different opinions. So if you get the same grade as last year you’ve probably done well and don’t be disheartened if you get a lower one. These grades are relative to the other grades on the day, although we were pretty clear in our minds what sort of ringing we expected to hear in each grade band. We have given a greater range of grades this year, to recognise the spread of performances today. Now you have probably all practiced hard for this competition and in doing so will have become better ringers. The knock-on effect of striking competitions is that they improve our ringing which will be appreciated by those who hear our service ringing week in, week out. It has probably brought you closer together as bands and as friends and it enables us to have great days out like this one.”
Ryan said that their method of judging was relatively straight-forward. “Helen, David and I independently marked each row while Simon listened. The marking was done on a scale from zero to two: 0 was given for a row that was quite good, 1 to rows that contained a clip or a gap, and 2 to any row containing multiple clips or clashes. The scores that we gave were then totaled and entered into Simon’s magic spreadsheet. They were normalised and averaged and a percentage produced which we could then compare. We followed this process with a discussion of how we were going to grade the pieces. We based this grade on the percentage and our impression of the ringing.”
Next Helen said that they thought that these were very good bells for a striking competition. “The odd-struckness tested most teams and we noticed that the 6th and the 2nd particularly caused problems. With one notable exception we thought that teams weren’t making enough use of their practice time as most of the test pieces got better as they went along, so more practice would have been beneficial. In general the handstrokes were better than the backstrokes, and this was mainly due to bells dropping at backstroke. There was also a tendency towards closed handstroke leads, which often caused problems later in the row. For those ringing call-changes the Queens was always risky because of the second – and extra care should have been taken here. In the majority of change ringing, teams demonstrated a common Triples problem of the tenor being slow over the front bells and the seventh then hitting the tenor at the following backstroke. However the teams that mastered these issues achieved some very good ringing.”
Simon then gave the following details of how each team had rung:
Team 1 (Lichfield & Walsall) Call Changes – Grade C
It is always difficult to go first, although it means you can relax and enjoy the rest of the day! We were aware of the odd-struckness of the bells, particularly 5, 6, 7 and 8. This band headed off towards Queens with the front bells giving a good lead. Indeed the treble ringing was very good, and the tenor set a steady beat. It tended to fall over itself towards the end of the changes. The transitions between changes were almost all clean, and although you stayed in the feature rows a long time, you didn’t actually manage to make these rows better as you went along, which was a shame. There was a steady accumulation of faults though, particularly early on as you got used to the odd- struckness and we thought this could have been polished up with a little more direction.
Team 2 (Sussex Young Ringers) Call Changes – Grade B+
This was a bit more measured, and our local knowledge felt that this speed was good for the bells. A nicely controlled piece with good changes, some very good ringing, and mastery of the odd-struckness in the main. 1 2 3 were very deliberate, sometimes taking up more of the row than you are actually entitled to, causing problems towards the end of the change. The backstrokes weren’t quite as controlled as the handstrokes. The feature changes were very good – half a dozen really good Queens rows were the bonus feature. So overall a solid, controlled piece of ringing.
Team 3 (St Martin’s Youths) Call Changes – Grade C-
This was a good positive start although we thought there was some early difficulty handling some of the bells. The changes weren’t quite decisive enough so each new row took time to settle and gaps in the middle of the change weren’t giving the back bells many options. If the tenor was accommodating, it tended to get hit by the beginning of the next row. The best row was 17523468, and there was a perfect Whittingtons row. This didn’t really have enough clean ringing in it unfortunately, however it was getting better and showed promise.
Team 4 (Essex Young Eagles) Call Changes – Grade B
This team started with some of the best ringing so far. It was positive, starting and finishing well. It was however let down by quite a few indecisive changes, and the more the front bells got mixed up, the less controlled it became. Well done to the ringer of the second for holding off at backstroke more in the test piece than the practice. We wondered if you had been found a box! We liked the Whittingtons, and it was a shame the Queens wasn’t as sharp. So there is clearly some talent here and this was not far off realising its potential.
Team 5 (Les Beaux Belles of South Lincolnshire) Call Changes – Grade C-
You started well, as many teams did, but then struggled to get to grips with the enormity of the challenge. It would probably have benefitted from going a little quicker, as it stumbled along in parts, and got slower. There was a nice transition into Whittingtons, and an even better first row of Queens which I thought emerged like a beautiful butterfly. But then the butterfly got knocked by a lot of rather large raindrops. So this band had endeavour, and will gain from more experience.
Team 6 (The Blue Lines) Call Changes – Grade B-
The test piece was preceded by a lengthy team talk, which may have been on the merits of closed handstroke leads. The effect of closed handstroke leads tends to be that a gap has to appear somewhere later on in the row, and this did suffer from that. It was frustrating because there was some good ringing here, but punctuated by dropped backstrokes. The difficult bells were rung very well, with a steady beat from the tenor keeping the framework together. This band therefore had potential to do well, but with a few creases to be ironed out.
Team 7 (Derbyshire Dingers) Call Changes – Grade A (78%)
David wanted to award this band an F for not ringing Grandsire! We thought they came with a game plan itching to be executed. And indeed they did. It was fast and furious, possibly too fast at times because there was a tendency for it to fall over itself, and one section in particular with some dropped backstrokes. But it is easy to be over-critical of good ringing, and this was very nice to listen to. A pretty experienced band perhaps? Maybe you ought to ring Grandsire next year.
Team 8 (Vectis Youths) Call Changes – Grade D
This was a valiant effort from what we expect was an inexperienced band not used to ringing bells as tricky as these. Including Tittums, which is the most difficult change to strike on 8, was commendably ambitious, and the best row of all was in the Queens. If this had been wedding ringing you’d have stuck at Queens and perfected it, but of course you had to move on. You did pick up a lot of faults, we cannot deny that, although it would probably have helped you to open out the handstroke leads more, which helps with the framework. Stick with it, come back next year – the bells in Worcester will be easier than these.
Team 9 (The G. & B.) Grandsire Triples – Grade A-
We were woken from our lunchtime snooze by the first method ringing of the day. This was very positive with a clear sense of purpose and a steady beat throughout. There were a couple of mistakes but you recovered well and they had minimal impact. You did have a bit of the common Triples problem of the end of the handstroke row holding out, and then the tenor getting rapped by the start of the backstroke, but this is a minor criticism. We thought the treble was rung particularly well. So a good enjoyable start to the afternoon – well done.
Team 10 (Worcester Young Ringers) Call Changes – Grade B
This team didn’t give us any clue as to what their test piece would be because of an unusual lack of practice. But after plenty of rounds and then a signal we found out it was call changes. There was some good solid ringing in this. Closed handstroke leading throughout generated gaps in 3rds and 4ths place, although the 2nd stuck to the treble like glue. The 6th didn’t seem to like ringing over the 7th, which was odd given how good the rounds were. This piece therefore had an accumulation of minor faults rather than anything dramatic, so a solid effort with some grade A ringing.
Team 11 (Oxford D.G.) Plain Bob Triples – Grade B
We gave your signal an F! However we didn’t really mark that. This was a competent touch of Bob Triples, with a steady compass provided by the tenor. It could have done with a little more drive, because it was a bit stilted in places and didn’t settle into consistency. There were a number of method mistakes but you recovered well so not a big issue. We did struggle with this piece only because there wasn’t much to criticise, but it didn’t shine as much as it could have. Overall though it was a pretty good piece of ringing.
Team 12 (Lincolnshire Poachers) Call Changes – Grade B
After a confidently short practice, you got into your call changes which I described as a very satisfactory piece of wedding ringing, in that it sounded pleasant, made the most of Queens and Whittingtons, and by and large you avoided hitting each other. So you would have been good for your fee. Closer inspection by the trained ear did however pick out some faults in the detail. Queens wasn’t actually that great, and there was more fault avoidance than pzazz. Didn’t quite reach the promised land, but definitely heading in the right direction.
Team 13 (Suffolk Young Ringers) Plain Bob Triples – Grade C
A nice pull off which always impresses the judges, and some brisk rounds before you set off nicely into Plain Bob Triples, before almost grinding to a halt. The method ringing was good – I don’t think we detected any mistakes, but it was a bit lumpy, with a steady accumulation of blips, and not enough faultless rows. I bet you wish you were on more familiar bells because we didn’t think you quite mastered these, but you clearly are confident at ringing the method and are probably capable of more.
Team 14 (Bath & Wells) Call Changes – Grade B-
Sadly we disqualified this team for giving the incorrect signal. Only kidding! These were purposeful call changes, maybe a tad slow, although quick handstroke leading did give us gaps in 3rds and 4ths place. You are to be congratulated for giving us all three feature rows, with Whittingtons the best of them. It was a drip, drip, drip of faults, with nothing really standing out, but it didn’t really deliver on flavour. A good effort though.
Team 15 (Yorkshire Puds) Plain Bob Triples – Grade C
Most of this band was ringing Plain Bob Triples most of the time. This was an entertaining performance – the first Act finished quite abruptly but then you decided to start again, we started marking afresh, and you delivered a markable test piece within the time. It was frustrating though. You proved you could do it, the back bells drove it along mercilessly, and although there were faults, it was determined. We surmised that if this was a quarter peal you would have spent another two courses learning the method and then got some very good ringing.
Team 16 (Bedfordshire) Call Changes – Grade A (80%)
I started to worry at this point that the rules I wrote about what the signal should be might not be clear enough. It is supposed to be 1-2 1-2, 1-2 1-2! Anyway, I set aside my mild irritation and listened to what was a foot-tapping set of call changes – very tactical competition ringing. You stayed in Queens for ages and it was about the best Queens of the day with 1 and 2 very good. You also stayed in Tittums for ages, but this was less of a good idea because it didn’t quite hit the spot. Faults were only minor and there were stretches of very good ringing. This was right up there, causing us to go back and think carefully about the call changes of an earlier team.
Finally David announced the results and called the teams forward to collect their medals.
Note: the official team photographs are published with this article in The Ringing World issue #5337 on pp 792-5.
RWNYC write-up competition runner-up
Ringing World National Youth Contest 2013
by Ellie Sargeant, Lincolnshire Poachers
We all came to York for the third contest for the Whitechapel Trophy, this year 16 teams entered:
|Team 1||Lichfield & Walsall|
|Team 2||Sussex Young Ringers|
|Team 3||St Martin’s Youths|
|Team 4||Essex Young Eagles|
|Team 5||Les Beaux Belles …|
|Team 6||The Blue Lines|
|Team 7||Derbyshire Dingers|
|Team 8||Vectis Youths|
|Team 9||The G. & B.|
|Team 10||Worcester Young Ringers|
|Team 11||Lincolnshire Poachers|
|Team 12||Oxford D.G.|
|Team 13||Suffolk Young Ringers|
|Team 14||Bath & Wells|
|Team 15||Yorkshire Puds|
There was a peal ringing during the day:
YOUNG RINGERS’ ASSOCIATION
YORK, Cathedral & Metropolitical Church of St Peter
Sat Jul 6 2013 3h56 (59)
5004 Stedman Cinques
Comp. Edward R Mack
1 Adam A Brady
2 Edward R Mack (C)
3 Heather M Forster
4 Katharine A Hill
5 Jonathan H Potter
6 Michael R Crockett
7 Simon Read
8 Daniel Jones
9 Michael J Pollard
10 Nicholas D Brown
11 Thomas J Waterson
12 Simon A Percy
Rung on the day of the Ringing World National Youth Contest, taking place in York, by a band aged 17 to 24.
First of Stedman as conductor.
First peal of Stedman: 9.
The conductor would like Tom Mack to be associated with this peal.
Well done to all who rang in the peal! Especially in that heat, it was one of the hottest places in England!
I’m sure I speak on behalf of all the people who were at York on 6th July by saying a huge ‘thank you’ to The Ringing World for putting on yet another great day for us. Not just the contest itself but for the other ringing and treasure hunting as well.
The treasure hunt was won by Richard Pinnock and Tom Horton from St Martin’s Youths; the prize was four £15 Amazon vouchers so well done to them. We found it hard to complete the treasure hunt because of the timing; none of us read the bottom of the sheet until 4pm! And we were running about trying to get the answers!
When we arrived at St Helen’s to register, we received a wristband which was red and said RWNYC 2013 on so we could get into the towers, everyone had them. The mini ring was out all day in St Helen’s and our team went to ring them at about 11, and they were a bit of a challenge because they were so light.
Next we moved on to the handbell workshop, a bit of plain hunt for a few of us then on to something a bit harder for those experienced on hand bells.
There was a bit of walking between St Lawrence and the other towers but no one minded. Personally I thought it was a great idea to have all of the towers open most of the day, so you’re not pressured for time to ring at all of the towers in a particular order; we were free to ring when it suited and where we were at the time.
The churches open during the day were:
- All Saints, North Street – 11-12:30 – focus was Plain Bob Major
- St Olave, Marygate – 11-13:30 – focus was Cambridge Surprise Minor and Stedman Doubles
- St Martin-le-Grand, Coney Street – 12-13:30 – focus was Yorkshire Surprise Major
- St Wilfrid, Duncombe Place – 13:30-15:00 – focus was Grandsire Caters
- All Saints, North Street – 14:00-15:30 – focus was Bristol Surprise Major
- St Martin-le-Grand, Coney Street – 14:30- 16:45 – focus was Plain Bob Major and Grandsire Triples
- St Wilfrid, Duncombe Place – 15:30-17:00 – focus was Yorkshire Surprise Royal and Grandsire Caters
St Lawrence’s bells were a challenge but I think every team worked really hard and did absolutely brilliantly; so well done to everyone who took part in the day to make it a great success, the judges commented about the 2 and 6 being a challenge.
McDonalds was certainly a popular place during the day due to its location being just a few steps away from St Helen’s, we probably kept them busy all day! They were so busy they ran out of McFlurrys! Our team all had large cokes or sprite with extra ice! The queue was spilling out the door-literally!
Which gave everyone a go; they rang rounds and call changes as well for anyone who couldn’t ring either the focus method or what they were ringing at the time. Everyone had their prime ring and I didn’t see one unhappy face throughout the whole day; everyone was smiling during the results – especially those who won!
The judges were Simon Linford, Helen Beaumont, David Leese, and Ryan Mills. Simon was head judge again but will be sadly missed next year as he is letting someone else do it.
During the results ‘The Creeper’ was out doing his ghost trail which kept us all entertained during a serious moment!
Congratulations to Bedfordshire and The G. & B. on winning the call changes and methods category and look forward to seeing you all there again next year.
They told us the date and venue for next year’s contest, 5th July 2014 at Worcester. All in all my team decided that this year was better than last year, not just because there were more things to have a go at but we have become closer as a team and grown stronger as ringers.
RWNYC write-up competition runner-up
by Caroline Pawley, Bedfordshire
This year, I entered the RWNYC for the first time and I have found the experience exciting and amazing. Although it was a long day, everything was really well organized and we enjoyed ringing at new churches. Unexpectedly, our team won and now, a couple of weeks after the event, we are still trying to get over the shock!
We started the day very early, driving up to York, then waited for the rest of our team to arrive outside the Minster. We sat and listened to the peal being rung on the wonderful Minster bells in the background. When the others arrived, we were given our new lovely T-shirts and official RWNYC wristbands. We also collected our leaflet where – after the draw – we learned that our team, Bedfordshire, would be last to complete its test piece. This had advantages and disadvantages. It was good as we had all day to try out new bells and to get to grips with the sort of things we should expect from the tower running the test pieces. On the other hand, we had all day for our nerves to shred! Next, we walked to St Helen, Stonegate, where we had a drink and snack, and met up with some friends from Leeds who were also ringing in the competition, we also got to watch the incredible mini ring which we were all desperate to have a go on!
We trekked back to the Minster where a guide was going to take us around the towers, we saw many fascinating things such as the old ringing chamber, Great Peter (weighs around 11 tons and has a deeper pitch than Big Ben!) and we even went into the belfry while the peal was still ringing. The extraordinary sound trembled through you – we stood on a mesh type platform so the bells were ringing below our feet, it was very scary but an incredible experience. The last part of the tour was standing on the very top of one of the South West tower, the view was unbelievable!
Later on, we went to St Olave, Marygate and got a very pleasant practice and a nice sit down. After some lunch and a drink, we quickly went to another open tower where we just managed to get the last ring of the day there. Some interesting call changes were called, but it was still nice to try out new bells. We visited St Wilfrid’s, but not many of us rang as the methods were tricky and it was very busy!
The wait for our test piece was nearly over. Despite only being a reserve, I was just as nervous as my teammates.
We made the nerve-wracking walk to St Lawrence, which was quite a distance from the other towers; when we got there we congratulated the two teams that rang before us and had a quick sit down before going into the tower to complete our piece.
In the tower, I was not allowed to say anything, but I didn’t have to, I knew they would do well. They made excellent use of the time given to practise and when the real test came, stayed calm and focused. It was clear that they had practised hard and their effort was really paying off. The final round was struck, and from now until the results, all our team could could do was wait.
To pass the time until the results, we went back to St Helen Stonegate and finally got a go at the mini ring, which was very good fun and was a nice way to relax. After more drinks and cakes, the staff rounded all the teams up to go to St Michael-le-Belfrey church near the Minster, to read the results.
Inside the church, the tension grew more and more as the judges gave each team their feedback. We had to wait to the end because we were the last of the sixteen teams to ring, so we couldn’t have been more surprised to find that we were not given too many criticisms, and later we also found that we had scored an A grade along with one other team.
We were amazed to find out that in the end our team were the winners by a tiny amount. When the results were announced we were incredibly excited and so were the adults who came with us!
It was a fabulous experience, we enjoyed the whole day and next year I’m hoping I’ll be in the main team for the competition at Worcester.
RWNYC write-up competition runner-up
280 Miles up the Road
by Marcus Ham, Bath & Wells
What would you find 280 miles up the road from a quiet little town in Somerset? The Midlands, Cadbury World, Leeds? Well, you can find all of those but, probably, the most important of them all on the 6th of July 2013, was the Ringing World National Youth Contest. It was the contest’s 3rd anniversary, and this year it was held in York.
We had travelled up the day before, and stayed with relatives in the Peak District, to break the journey. Even though we were already 5 hours up the country, it took a further two to get to York. Our spirits were a little low (especially mine) because we had been in a massive traffic jam on the A64. Nevertheless, we still had the motivation to navigate our way around the busy city. Luckily, St Helen’s was not too hard to find. The rest of the team had come up on the bus, so we did not know when we were going to meet up. Coincidently, the minute we were told that we had to wait for our team leader, Jan and all of the other in their Bath and Wells uniform walked up. The Bath and Wells had arrived. We all were given our red wrist bands, the treasure hunt book, and the official guide to the day. We were set for the day. Seeing as we were in St Helen’s, we thought that we should take the opportunity. They were a lovely mini-ring! The thing that I liked the most was that my brother and my Dad had a go at ringing. I had never seen them ring before, usually it is only my Mum and I. We rang some lovely Grandsire Triples there.
Now it was off to St Olave. I have to admit, we got slightly lost, but in the end we got there. We could not just listen out for ringing to guide us, because there was so much going on. I liked St Olave, they sounded very nice, but the ropes were a little bit short. They went a little bit slow, and the ringing chamber was a little bit dark. Then we had a lovely stroll through a park, where we talked tactics and thing like that. Then we had a walk through the busy streets of York city centre, to St Michael-le-Grand. Where we were greeted with lovely ringing. I had never been to a place that had yellow and black striped sallies. They were rather peculiar. Despite the colour, the bells went very well, and the striking was lovely (after about 5 minutes of rounds, getting them perfect), even though the front bells were flighty. By then it was about quarter to two, so we needed to get walking to St Lawrence.
After we had a long tiring walk (I got a blister) to St Lawrence (that was hard to find) we found everyone else there already. The ringing before us was commendably good, so I was quite worried about ours. After a team talk, and our photo being taken, we were walked up to the tower. At first it looked quite nice. But as we got used to the bells, we were aware straight way that they were quite odd struck – especially the 5 and the 7. Overall, the bells sounded nice, but I think that from the 5 onwards there was a struggle. When the treble and two had to make the signal, it sounded like the two was up the wrong way! Regardless of the fact that it might be the wrong way, we carried on through the test piece. In the end we were all happy with the ringing. It was all over.
Pleased with what we had rang, we wandered back to the centre of York. When it was about 16:00, we went up to St Wilfrid. After queuing for about 10 minutes, we went up the spiral staircase. I got stuck about half way up because more people came down the stairs. Finally once I had got to the top, I found that it was packed! Moreover, people kept coming in. Once I got to ring (hooray!) I found that the bells were lovely. They sounded very nice, and they were very well behaved. Indeed, I had a very nice time ringing there.
By the time I had got down, it was almost time to go the St Michael-le-Belfrey. After we had all signed a card for our team captain, and got ourselves ready, we went into St Michael as a team. Because we had a row counter and a reserve, there were 10 of us, so we had a job to all fit on the pew. One had to sit on the ledge at the end. We were all nervous and anxious about our result. After many speeches, about Yorkshire, Treasure Hunts, general striking, and comments, we found out where we came. In the end, we were joint 5th. Considering that it was the first time that we had entered, we were very pleased with the general outcome. After a quick team photo with our new medals, we could go home.
So, now you know what lies 280 up the road from a little town in Somerset.