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Yorkshire Weekend, Saturday, 7th April 2007

Sun and Fun in Yorkshire

It was an overloaded Renault Megane that left for Yorkshire at dinnertime on Good Friday. Four lots of walking gear, food and sweets for the journey made a £4m Bedsit in London look palatial but we were all in good spirits as we cruised (albeit falteringly with the traffic) up the M6. Eagle eyed Alex sitting in the back recognised a member of The Bill as we passed his girlfriends motor several times in the yo-yo traffic. I never saw anyone famous when I played spot the registration when I was a nipper !

Excellent driving by Adam "The Transporter" Vincent got us to the bunkhouse in good time and we then found the way to our homes for the next few nights. The ladies room was an enormous, vast open spaced dorm with sink, kitchen table and bench. The gentleman's room was compact and bijou but nevertheless ideal for our simple, limited needs.

Not long after we arrived the familiar presence of Matt's car appeared somewhat surprising us as we weren't expecting him or his passengers until after 8pm. A small oversite that it was a bank holiday meant they were incredibly early which made for an earlier start to the night's entertainment, especially as Phil H arrived as we went to get some bedding from the reception.

We headed over to nearby Settle to visit the Royal Oak for our first evening meal. The beer was splendid stuff and an odd pint of Black Sheep was consumed, and the food was pretty good with a carvery and a vegetarian choice. We finished our drinks then made our way back to the site to check out the entertainment at the bar there. To wake us up a bit card games were suggested. We then endeavoured to learn a game whose name cannot be published as our webmaster will remove it ! After several explanations Matt and myself began to get it. Instructions for such games just sounded like noise to us both but in the end we got there.

Next day with our guide, Michelle, reading the map far better than I, we set off from the site to Ingleborough. The weather was fantastic and we couldn't have hoped for better. Heading through Austwick into the pretty village of Clapham and The Lake, we headed up to Gaping Gill. This is quite a scary 100 odd foot sheer drop into the bowels of the earth. After a quick tea break we headed up to the ironically named Little Ingleborough which is far from. Lunch was at the summit point here before we relunctantly made our way from the warm, windless shelter to the big brother Ingleborough. The views from the top were superb with Pen Y Ghent and Whernside in the distance. We made our way down to a well earned in the New Inn, Clapham. Although it was sunny there was a slight chill in the air as we sat by the river so we headed for the Game Cock (Cue much hilarity) in Austwick where we had a meal.

Heading up to Little Ingleborough

After much cursing standing on the torture mats which pained even the hardiest of walkers feet we headed back to the bar for round 2 of the game that shall not be printed. A few people soon appeared to be card sharks, Phil H, Nina, Michelle and Alex all playing rather immoral hands.

Day 2 (cue dodgy Geordie accent) of our walk went from the lovely village of Malham. Top on the list of must do walks in this area is Gordale Scar made famous by James Wards' painting The Romantic North. It's a a 22 mile geological fault line which runs from the borders of Cumbria into the Yorkshire Dales and is somewhere around 15-16 million years old ( I think you'll find!). In its dark heart is a gripped, sorted off road, up hill scramble. Being Staffs Walkers, we laugh in the face of danger, and and throw ice cubes down the vest of fear. After waiting a while for the queue to drop a bit, we scrambled our way up to the waterfall. It is an amazing place made even better by the weather, but saying that if the weather had closed in it would easily be just as beautifuk but more atmospheric. You can only imagine the sites that must have gone on through its million years of history.

Lunch after Gordale Scar

Onwards we went through the fields full of limestone to Malham Tarn which was getting quite choppy as the wind had picked up by this point. Heading back past ancient settlements we aimed for Malham Cove along the Pennine Way. Although it was the busiest day of the year so far it wasn't a walking equvalent of the M6 by any means and we finally got to the stunning Malham Cove and it's stunning views in the early evening sunlight. Along with everyone else we trod down the steps into Malham and a well earned pint in the Lister Arms before going on to a great night in the White Hart Inn at Giggleswick.

View from top of Malham Cove

We'd come here expecting great brews and some tasty grub. We got both and a brilliant night which included a pub quiz. Trevor, our host, quickly impressed with his wit and repartee and while we were eating asked if we'd like to stay for the pub quiz. We weren't going to until he suggested that he could book us a taxi. Not wanting to be rude we decided this was a plan and soon forgot about another night of cards and hunted for a place to park our weary bones for the quiz. We soon split into camps, the girls team (Aren't Birds Brilliant) and the Boys (The Gareth Hunts). The quiz started and not longer after the rivalry kicked in. Played along the lines of Blockbusters with Bob Holnes (Can I have a P please Bob ?), we were a bit pants to start off with. The girls got close, and then the boys didn't, and we were pretty far off again. Then we started getting there and the questions came into our areas of speciality ( and we lucked in). It went to a tie breaker, when did Whitney Houston marry Bobby Brown. 1992 - back of the net. The Gareth Hunts won - a meal - for one. Still that wasn't the point. The night was brilliant, the company entertaining and we even got a lift back off Trevor as he couldn't get hold of a taxi for us all. What a great bloke !

Next day we headed off to Ingleton for a little stroll and to see the Thornton Force (waterfall) and the several others downstream. Ready for a bite of lunch we headed into the superb Bernies Café (www.berniescafe.co.uk) caver/ climber shop/ café which served pints of tea, huge portions of chips in Yorkshire pudding and a massive veggie selection. All in all it was a great weekend, and even the final days weather couldn't take it away from us. Big thanks to everyone on the weekend that made it so much fun and to Michelle who got us around the walks with her excellent map reading. Finally, we'd all like to thank Trevor and Barbara Reynolds at The Harts Head Hotel (www.hartsheadhotel.co.uk) for making us welcome and going out of the way to make sure we got back to Daleshead safe and sound.

Mark

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