A brief gap in the cloud: looking toward Whernside across Humphrey Bottom.
The weekend before Christmas (golly, I’m almost up to date) and it was time for our annual rent-a-hostel weekend with the group of long-term partners in crime whom the kids refer to as Our Camping Friends. This was the fourteenth time we’ve done this, by my reckoning anyway, and the fourth consecutive trip to The Old School Bunkhouse in Chapel-le-Dale. Actually, we’ve been getting together for this weekend for a lot longer than that, but we used to meet in one of our respective houses. We must be getting on a bit: The Adopted Yorkshire Woman, who played host on more than one occasion, was denying all memory of this earlier incarnation of our festive gatherings. Maybe her unconscious has suppressed the memories; we used to attempt a full Christmas meal, Turkey with all of the trimmings, but those of us charged with the cooking were usually quite inebriated before we began and the results were often far from spectacular, although, ironically, the mess we made of the kitchen often was spectacular. This year, after several years of sous-cheffing, I took responsibility for one of the evening meals and tried to kindle some nostalgia for those earlier efforts by chucking a tray full of roasting carrots, and the fat they were cooking in, across the kitchen floor; by having everything ready at once, excepting some rock-hard jacket spuds and some recalcitrant pie-topping pastry; and by burning myself repeatedly on the unfamiliar oven.
On the Saturday assorted members of the party, including the boys and myself, set off in the fog to climb Ingleborough. Here we are, near to the top…
We followed almost exactly the same route as I walked last year, but the weather and the views weren’t so good. Having said that, we bumped into The Eternal Weather Optimist part way along the ridge and apparently he had been enjoying wall-to-wall sunshine on the Whernside ridge, and would go on to experience the same on Ingleborough after he left us.
Unbeknownst to me, Little S (who will soon be towering over me) had decided to set 0ff on our climb wearing only a T-shirt beneath his cagoule. It was pretty windy on the ridge, and unsurprisingly, he was cold. My only option was to give him my fleece, which looked quite comical, being way too big for him, but seemed to alleviate the problem. Or at least transfer it: that left me with only a T-shirt under my cagoule. (But I’m a bit better padded out than he is – you might quibble with ‘better’ – more thoroughly padded out, let’s say).
Once again, the weekend was a great success – I always think that these get togethers feel like much more than the sum of their parts – this one for example, signals the start of Christmas to me, and always seems to contain much more than two days worth of relaxation – a sort of mini-holiday in fact.
A little more about Sunday’s adventures to follow.