The Tower Handbook

8.5: Visiting other towers

a: Why should I visit other towers?

You will see other ringers in action. You will be able to ring on different bells. You will learn about the comradeship that exists among ringers. You will be made welcome in almost every tower you visit. But the big advantage is that you will be ringing more often, and with other ringers. This inevitably leads to faster progress than if you only ring at your own tower.

b: Which towers should we visit?

Visit neighbouring towers that practise on a different night from you. If possible go to a practice where you will help them as well as yourself. If you are just ringing Plain Bob Doubles competently, and you visit a band most of whom only plain hunt, you will help them (by ringing plain hunt without going wrong), and you may mean they just have enough to ring Plain Bob which will help you all. By all means go to towers with more advanced bands. That will allow you to stretch yourself, but if they normally practise Surprise all night, you might find the experience a little awe inspiring if you do not ring such things. They will make you welcome whatever you ring and fit in something for you, but you won't ring a lot and it may be better to choose a practice nearer your own level until you become more experienced.

c: How often should we visit?

If you are keen and want to progress, and you can fit in with another tower's practice night, why not visit every week? But if you do this, always try to arrive on time for the start of the practice like the rest of them, and let them know if you will not be able to attend, since they will begin to depend on you. Attending another practice each week will accelerate your progress, and benefit you, your home tower and the band you visit.

d: What should I say when asked what I ring?

This can be a little difficult. If you are inexperienced just say for example 'I can ring Plain Bob unaided but prefer someone to stand behind me for Grandsire'. If you know lots of methods don't recite them. You can say 'Up to Cambridge' or 'Anything up to the Standard Eight' (see glossary). Beyond that it is better to wait to be asked. If asked what you would like to ring, again be specific. Don't say 'Oh - anything' or you may find yourself ringing something obscure you can't cope with. If you can ring anything, then you could for example say 'I would like to ring whatever you would normally practise. I can ring quite a lot of things'.

e: Will I be able to ring at churches when I am on holiday?

Yes (if you take your holiday in a part of the world where they ring). You will be made most welcome at almost every tower, especially if you are visiting in the height of the holiday season when some of their ringers are away on holiday and you help out by filling in for them.

Check up with local ringers before you arrive (they may all be away on holiday too). You can find out who to contact by ringing the local association or district secretary whose telephone number should be in The Ringing World Diary.

You don't need to restrict it to holidays either. If you are planning to stay overnight somewhere on a business trip, look in Dove's Guide or Tower Base before you go to see whether there is a practice nearby.

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