I get a phone call from Mike before I’ve even left the house. He’s in Durham and his first train is half an hour late. This will have a knock on effect with all the connections though, so he, Dawn and Lucky The Dog are going to be very late into Clapham. He asks if I can let JJ know.
I carry on as planned. Train from New Mills to Piccadilly, train from Piccadilly to Lancaster (where I meet up with JJ and give him the news), then train from Lancaster to Clapham.
We arrive at Clapham station at around 2:30pm. The pub I remember there – The Flying Horseshoe – is no more. This means we have to walk the mile or so into Clapham to find a pub we can wait in. The New Inn does the job nicely.
A Kit Kat and a Coke for me, and beer and crisps for JJ, pass the time before Mike, Dawn and Lucky The Dog arrive at around 5:30.
Lucky The Dog has kindly organised this #thenaughtytrip Pre-Challenge thingy for us and he’s quite clearly a bit peeved at the late start. Mike is pulled unceremoniously into the pub and LTD taps his paws impatiently while Mike insists on a drink before we set off properly.
Finally, LTD manages to motivate us all out into the rain. It’s not too many miles to the first camp spot and it goes past many childhood memories for me. I know the area very well, but haven’t visited this side of Ingleborough for many years.
The Nature Trail that takes us toward Ingleborough Caves,
the folly thingy that I named ‘The Witches House’ when a nipper,
and Ingleborough Caves themselves. When I first went into these as a 6 year old, they had no electricity supply and so we all carried a little paraffin lamp on the trip.
There’s no time for reminiscing however, LTD keeps us route marching ever upwards and through Trow Gill.
LTD wants his tent up, his dinner and his bed.
He’s organised a good spot. Sadly, he hasn’t organised particularly nice weather.
The rain rains and the wind blows. I’m snug and warm though in my little tent. It’s quite late now – around 8pm – but I’m soon supping a hot tea and enjoying a tasty meal.
LTD rather begrudgingly allows us a slackpacking start in the morning. The weather is now dry, but a manic wind is giving us a wind chill of around -2C. But the clouds lift and the views improve as we make our way up ever higher.
Once moving, LTD is a hard task master. Breaks are totally frowned upon. A brisk pace is set for the day.
It takes its toll though, and it’s not long before we throw ourselves on the ground, begging for a few minutes reprieve.
We’re finally allowed a proper rest just below the summit. But the weather takes a turn for the worse and as LTD drags Mike and JJ up to the trig point, while Dawn and I watch their rucksacks, the cloud lowers, the rain starts hammering down and the wind starts blowing a hoolie.
The afternoon goes downhill from there. It’s a long trudge down to Ribblehead.
In fact, even LTD throws himself on the ground half way there, demanding a reprieve with a few chew sticks before continuing on.
It’s with great relief that we finally catapult ourselves into the Station Inn, looking like drowned rats and dripping cascades of water everywhere. And I mean everywhere. There is no longer a dry spot in the bar.
Sadly, we have to spend a couple of hours in here before it’s dry enough outside to brave putting the tents up.
A tiny drop of rain soon has us all diving back into the bar again for the evening
where LTD insists on behaving like he owns the place, settling in front of the fire for the duration. Even though the fire isn’t on.
By the time we retreat back to our tents for the night, the weather is peaceful and dry. I sleep pretty well, but wake up at around 3am as the wind suddenly gets up and deposits a load of hail on my tent. I’ve also woken with a nasty migraine.
I speak with LTD. I explain that I could continue and force myself through the pain, but since it’s not actually a crisis if I don’t finish the whole training session, would rather take it a bit easier today. LTD grants me a reprieve in exchange for a Dentistix. He’s a good un.
But the others don’t get off so easily. Quickly rounded up for today’s route march, they hardly get chance to breathe as LTD barks orders. I wave emotionally as I watch them fade into the distance.
Feeling suddenly very alone, I slowly make my own weary way to the Local Station for Local People, and wait for the next train.