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Monday, 2nd September - Friday, 6th September


1. The Invitation Letter, dated 6th April, has been or is in the course of being distributed. It invites Members and Friends of Probus to join us on this year's Minibreak to Derbyshire. The letter seeks responses, with completed booking form and £50 non-refundable deposit, by no later than Thursday, 23rd May. Do let me know if you have not yet had a copy but would like one.
Note. The decision to go ahead with this year's Minibreak followed the positive response received to the 'Information Letter' dated 26th January. 27 people expressed interest in coming on the Minibreak. I am hopeful that this will be a better indication of the number that will actually come on the trip than we had with last year's equivalent when 25 people expressed interest but only 15 came. [It was possible to continue with the 2018 trip only because of exceptional support from Norman Allen.] Bearing that in mind, this year's Information Letter included options that sought to identify what prospective participants wanted to do. The feedback to this was not as comprehensive as hoped for but was enough for us to narrow the options and come up with the proposed Itinerary shown below. The idea of splitting into 2 groups for 1 or 2 of the days has met a mixed response but it is arguable that doing so should enable us to meet the need to give some people relatively 'easy days', this being important to those who would otherwise find 5 consecutive days of activity a bit much. It also enables us to allow for the fact that, whilst for some people visiting Chatsworth is 'a must', for others it is somewhere they have been to before so that they prefer to go somewhere else.

2. As last year, Norman Allen Group Travel Limited (NAGT) will be the Tour Operator for the trip whilst Probus acts as NAGT's Booking Agent and the Group Organiser, taking responsibility for arranging the Itinerary for the trip. NAGT has booked rooms for us, half-board (covering breakfast and dinner), at the 4-star Holiday Inn (formerly 'The Derbyshire Hotel') in South Normanton, DE55 2EH. The hotel is not in the prettiest part of Derbyshire but, because of the uncertainties we had about our numbers, we were not able to book early enough to obtain any of the best-situated hotels in our price range. However, our hotel is well placed for our trips, has its own spa pool, and should be very comfortable.

3. NAGT has booked an executive coach for us from Astons Coaches, whom we used last year. NAGT will also suggest insurance cover to those who wish it. Please note that those who want to come on the trip are being asked to confirm that:
- they have read and accepted NAGT's 'Booking Conditions and General Tour Information' (which may be seen here).
- they consent to the use of their data in line with NAGT’s Privacy Policy (which may be seen here).

4. The procedure for the arrangements is expected to be similar to last year's. Assuming that enough people book to come on the trip to make it viable:
(a) The cheques for the deposits will not be banked until after 23rd May. If you are interested in coming, please do not hold back from paying your deposit as the earlier we receive the bookings the more confidence I will have to proceed with making the necessary arrangements.
(b) The letter seeking the balance due will be sent out in June with the payment due by the beginning of July.
(c) A final letter will be distributed in August to those who are coming on the trip. I hope to enclose with it an Information Pack, similar to last year's, to help participants prepare for the trip.

5. The 5 days of the trip will probably include something like the following (which is subject to change not least because the visits have not yet been booked):
(1) Monday 2nd: leave Ewyas Harold 10.00am; a brunch at a Motorway Service Station then visit Crich Tramway Museum (we should have just under 3 hours there); get to the hotel about 5.00pm.
(2) Tuesday 3rd: split into 2 groups:
      - Group A: leave hotel 9.30am; visit Masson Mills (about 3 hours) then Haddon Hall (about 2½ hours); back to hotel 5.15pm.
      - Group B: leave hotel 10.45am; visit Chatsworth (about 4 hours); back to hotel 5.15pm.
(3) Wednesday 4th: leave hotel 10.00am; coach drive around the Peak District (possibly visiting Longnor, Buxton, Castleton & Eyam Village); back to hotel 5.00pm (or thenabouts). The exact route has not yet been set but inspiration is being sought from NAGT and web sites such as TripAdvisor, VisitPeakDistrict and AccessibleDerbyshire.
(4) Thursday 5th: split into 2 groups:
      - Group C: leave hotel 10.00am; visit Heights of Abraham (about 6 hours); back to hotel 5.30pm.
      - Group D: leave hotel 11.30am; visit Hardwick Hall (about 3 hours); back to hotel 3.30pm.
(5) Friday 6th: leave hotel 10.30am; visit Calke Abbey (about 3 hours); stop for tea at a Motorway Service Station; back to Ewyas Harold about 5.15

6. If you have any queries about the trip, feel free to contact me. My contact details are shown on the Contact page.

Peter BG
8th April 2019