Yorkshire Dales November 2007

There is no more effective way of making life appear to pass more quickly, than repeating every twenty years a trip or visit to a notable location. So it was with the November 2007 meet of LMG at The Crown Horton-in-Ribblesdale, scene of our first weekend gathering in May 1987. Three of the 1987 participants are still with the club, and two of them (Steve Tolson and your scribe) were present again last month. Looking at the two of us you would have to say that we were a bit older, but none the wiser. We have however survived, although in my case, after fainting away during the Friday night meal, only just!

The Crown seemed much as before, a comfortable base for the weekend. But in the dining room there is now an extensive menu relying rather heavily on the microwave and deep-frier, replacing the memorable four course set meal of yesteryear. The road journey to Horton from London seemed longer than before, now taking 7 hours and involving a transit through the centre of Bradford, the Bermuda Triangle of West Yorkshire. Back to the (1987) future, please!

The Saturday walking involved Whernside and Ingleborough. The walking party was made up of nine members, with Steve and Alistair Macdonald forming a separate mountain-biking section for the day. Steve in particular has all the proper biking gear in day-glo and Lycra, recalling the old joke that if we had pitched a tent at the summit of Pen-y-ghent we should not have witnessed more high camp. The bikers and the walkers met up for a pub lunch at the Hill Inn, Ingleton. The weather was reasonably friendly; the rain held off until the end of the afternoon but the walkers were buffeted by strong winds on the higher slopes of Ingleborough. From that second summit the party split into two groups, one returning to Horton direct, whilst the other headed back to the cars left at the start at Ribblehead Viaduct.

Saturday evening saw the party rush of to Settle to watch the Scotland-Italy and Israel-Russia soccer on Sky Sports at the Harts Head Hotel. The first of these games was a particularly good match, despite the outcome, and Israel produced the right result, albeit to no avail. Dinner was taken back at the Crown.

Sunday saw the club at Clapham, with all the eleven weekenders on foot for a walk up to Long Scar and Gaping Gill, returning for lunch in the village along the path by Clapham Beck. This was typical limestone country, well-drained but with the stone being slippery when wet. Gaping Gill is a swallow hole which over the centuries has developed into a series of underground chambers in the limestone, making Clapham something of a centre for potholing.

Thanks are due to Steve and Harry Critchlow for superb organisation of the meet, and for planning the walks. As always.

And so back in the cars for the long journey back to Scotland or London. Your scribe was so busy congratulating himself on a successful crossing of Bradford that he took the wrong lane in roadworks at the M606/M62 junction and headed down the M62 in the wrong direction. Luckily another junction in less than a mile enabled the mistake to be corrected, and West London was reached in 6 hours from Clapham. A record for 2007, perhaps?