The Lake District

Note: This blog post is taken from RAMSOC member Joanna van Zeller's personal blog, and do not necessarily reflect the views of RAMSOC as a whole. 
The Annual Dinner Meet is a decades-old tradition in my Rambling and Hiking Club. Whilst other societies prefer glitz and glamour, we instead lug our formalwear to a youth hostel in the middle of nowhere, along with our waterproofs, fetching woolly hats, and a wine order of at least half a bottle per person (though many enjoy significantly more). No one knows why we do this, but tradition is a powerful thing, one that encourages students to stuff their ball-gowns in their hiking boots and get on a coach driven by the Absolute Legend/Mad-Max-Madman that is Roger. This was my final ADM of my university life, and as I shared earphones with my friend Ollie to listen to The Now Show, and received tens of McDonalds Monopoly stickers from rambling friends and strangers when I put out a plea at the service station, I felt such gratitude to this…

Walking Gifts for Your Valentine (Or Literally Anyone)

Struggling to find the perfect gift for your loved one this Valentine’s Day? We spoke to Love and Walking Guru, and writer of this blog post, Joanna van Zeller, to hear her best gift ideas.

A Walk in the Woods (Bill Bryson, 50p from nearly any charity shop)
Is your partner literate? Then they’ll love Bill Bryson’s 1998 classic ‘A Walk in the Woods’, an autobiographical masterpiece about his attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail with his hopeless friend Stephen Katz. It’s touching, hilarious, and his passages about the joys and perils of walking uphill are damn near perfection.
A Walk in the Woods (2015 film)
Is your partner illiterate? Then they’ll love the film adaptation of ‘A Walk in the Woods’! If you already know who’s the reacher and the settler, the Jack and the Rose, the Ross and the Rachel in your relationship, now find out who’s the Bryson and the Katz! (Note: If you're the Katz you need to change)
Wild (2014 film)
What better romantic film than one about hiking rescuing…

Joanna’s 2018 RAMSOC roundup!

(but only September-December because she is a very busy lady who must get back to her family jigsaw puzzle)
Hello, and welcome to the first and last annual RAMSOC newsletter, where we look back on some of the highlights of this year, most of which are cute animal photos. It has been a real pleasure serving you all as Publicity Sec, especially for the bit where I’ve actually been in the country and met the people who open my emails each week. Thank you for embracing Sheep of the Week just as I’d hoped – every week I baa-sk in the glow of excited messages from you all. So without further ado, here are some 2018 highlights – make sure to leave yours in the comments! Weekends AwayElterwater and Snowdonia were both exciting adventures in their own way, particularly the coach/minibus journeys! Although our ascent up Snowdon was marred by cloud, the cloud inversion and brief views from the top made it (nearly) all worthwhile, as well as the reward of a delicious meal and a truly unforgettable …

Peak District Poetry

Here is a selection of the Peak District Poetry written for RAMSOC emails between April and June of 2018:
Peak District Poem – What is Sunday for if not for the Peaks? What is Sunday for if not for the Peaks? Where can I go after the Sunday next week? Like a ramble in January my summer seems bleak, What is Sunday for if not for the Peaks?
I suppose my Sunday is meant to be for church, But where’s my sheep, beer, and sunshine? My oaks, fir and birch? This Ramsoc hiatus has left my weekends in the lurch, What is Sunday for? I’ll continue my search.
What is Sunday for? Perhaps I’ll try to study, But without my fresh air, my brain is getting fuzzy My walking boots look sad, all clean, no longer muddy. I fear I cannot study ‘til I see my Sunday rambling buddies.
But in the quiet of the day I hear Wednesday squeak, “You may not have found your Sunday but if it’s sun and fun you seek, Play board games and visit a bouncy planet – havoc you may wreak, And make sure to raise a glass to socials -…

Nastya's Final Nostalgia: A RAMSOC Confession

It's Wednesday the 14th, 14:14. The AGM is on tonight: the election of a new committee, and freedom for the old one. It's an important occasion, and I even attempt to pick pretty clothes. 
A friend asked me yesterday evening: "How do you feel about the end of your reign as publicity sec?". I don't know to be honest, but I guess the answer is "Sad". You see, being on committee is quite addictive. It's almost like being in a relationship: your phone buzzes all the time, and it's the only thing you can talk about. When you finish Uni, it takes a few years to learn to say no to helping the club out; some seem to never escape. Sometimes you spend a long time flipping through the blurry grey photographs you took on walks, remembering the views, silly jokes, and how you helped someone get out of a bog. 
Funny to mention, but I used to get butterflies every time the tickets sold out. I was treasurer last year, and, as we say: "Once treasurer, alwa…

Should you join RAMSOC?

How to know if Ramsoc is the right club for you:
Committing to joining a club at university can seem like a stressful task, especially if you don’t know if you will enjoy it. Answer this quiz to find out if you belong to our wonderful Rambling and Hiking Club!
Which description do you fit best?
A.I love walking and am incredibly fit. I am also really great at making conversation, particularly at pubs. I am currently studying engineering. B.I quite like walking and can make it up Portland Hill without dying. The pub isn’t really my thing but I’d love to make some new friends. I study some kind of science. C.I hate walking, have no sense of direction, and have to lie down after a walk round the lake. I do love pubs but am much better at drinking alone and watching Netflix. I’m in Humanities, and have no understanding of basic scientific concepts. I have no interests.

A Well, of course this club is for you, and we can’t wait to welcome you aboard! You’re going to love our challenging walks, …

RAMSOC in reality

by Joanna van Zeller
Think you can only use your walking skills in the Peak District? Think again, as I teach you how I’ve learned to conquer the struggles of city living with everything I’ve learned in Ramsoc.

Sometimes, after the long coach rides and the arguments that don’t seem to resemble English (was that a tor or a fell? A beck or a brook?), rambling and hillwalking can become rather other-worldly. Sundays seem to be on a separate calendar, which is especially true when you see everyone out of their fleeces and in Real Normal People’s Clothes at a Wednesday social. And everything you’ve learned on a walk or weekend away, like how to read a map or take a bearing, can seem completely irrelevant during a 9am on a Monday. But it doesn’t have to be that way! By following these top tips, every day can be a Sunday, and can even make those chores that little bit easier…
Find your way out of Ocean!

Our Treasurer David Dewar is grateful for this tip - he's been stuck in Bodega for weeks…