Hello and welcome to 'HFGF'! ~ ~ We've always been a easy-going way to meet other friendly people for fun and a chat while improving your fitness on what's most often a 5-and-a-bit mile walk. Until earlier in 2020 we'd customarily get our fix of fresh air on a Tuesday morning beside canals and rivers, in parks and out in the countryside, sometimes with a tea or coffee along the way; plus there'd usually be optional extra time spent at a café or pub afterwards as a bonus!
We'd frequently have several friendly and enthusiastic dogs with us, accompanied by responsible owners to help them over/through/under stiles and keep them safe on farmland and roads.
Our walks are usually within 40 minutes' drive from Worcester in all directions, and they're often closer.
I look forward to the day when much of this free-wheeling friendly activity can resume and we can enjoy having you come and join us while we're out exploring the landscape and appreciating each other's company. But right now - after a long break for everyone's safety and a reassessment of what HFGF can offer - there's an opportunity for members to register that they'd like to join in with a flexibly arranged small-group walking meetup whenever a suitable one allows me to invite them. **My introductory message about it is copied for you below, and you can message me to request your link to register [as this is a public page].
~ I've always asked for a contribution on the day for my planning efforts and Meetup.com Organizer costs (previously just a £1, but I'll need to review that subject to the feelings of small-group participants). ~
** MESSAGE >> HFGF IS WAKING UP
Dear long-suffering good people,
It’s been several centuries since you’ve heard from me, and for that I really am sorry.
Dealing with the extended absence of face-to-face contact with all you so very many most affable human beans turned out to be more disorientating than I ever anticipated, and planning ahead for HFGF really difficult. But if extraordinarily your patience hasn’t run out I’d like to offer you a new option for meeting up. Note that you can jump down from here to What You Actually Want To Know, or feast your eyes on …
… The View From Here
For several weeks leading into March (and just before the world went even more peculiar than it has been anyway for about the last four years) our meetups were clocking wondrous attendances in the twenties and trending upward. This despite my efforts to keep a lid on your enthusiasm by keeping you guessing when the walk might actually get under way, then if/how/when it might actually finish; devising routes through flooded byways, with memorable muds and notable gradients (often interestingly combined); incorporating one or two dignity-challenging obstacles to grapple upon/through/around; even ignoring the odd critical turn-off and getting us lost. Still folks insisted on turning up.
Walking in a group of that size can be a hoot, but it’s also limiting with regard to things like parking, serial stile-clambering, and walker-herding. So I’d already been ruminating on my options …… when life as we knew it did a high-altitude back flip from which it still hasn’t actually landed.
Since then some of you have met up with each other on your own initiative and according to your own judgment. Some haven’t had such an opportunity, and those in higher-risk groups haven’t had any choice in the matter.
There's been a lot of muddle and debate around running meetups under changing rules and laws.
I prefer to come at this from the other direction. Any perceived need to shoe-horn public meetups of more than six people into an exempted case under the current safety restrictions won’t change the fact that the virus doesn’t care about exemptions.
The data coming from everyone currently tracking the virus seems clear and ominous to me; so right now I think we should apply the six person limit whenever possible as we interact with each other, all the more so from the point of view of someone responsible for instigating group activity.
This of course exacerbates our group’s previous attendance-frenzy problem by making us accommodate fewer per meetup than we’d ideally like instead of too many. It is dreadfully frustrating.
What You Actually Want To Know
Given all the foregoing, I’m offering some small-group walking meetups
• with five other HFGF members joining me at a time
• potentially on any day of the week
• prioritizing previous HFGF attendees, but including actively interested new members
• with attendance by invitation calculated as helpfully and fairly as possible (by a process outlined below)
According to the level of interest, some waiting will regrettably still have to be part of the system (though hopefully worth it).
To whatever extent is practicable with the number of esteemed members who log your interest via the online form provided I‘d like to match meetups to participants and prioritise those members for an invitation. There are 13 simple answers needed + 4 optional extra bits.
The balancing act will take into account time waiting to attend and personal availability and preferences, primarily by technical sorting, only then descending as far as necessary into magic and divination.
I’ll need to work with some relevant information from you, with updates from you whenever you want to do so. For your reassurance I’m the only person who’ll see any of this, and it’ll be stored where only I can access it.
Like so many of you I’d absolutely prefer to see everyone again a.s.a.p. Maybe we can move in that approximate direction within the sensible constraints for safety. Please message me [as this is a public page] to request your link to register.
Thank you all for your support and general delightfulness.