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  • admin - Sunday 19 July 2015 22:05
    O.C.O.T. Minutes

    19th September 2014

    Hope

    Present: Dave Bates, Robert Brown, Steve Carey, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, Graham Fildes, Adrian Hammond, Robert Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, Alan Larsen, Kevin McDonough, Mike Melia, John Nelson, Noel O’Toole, Bob Riall, Dave Whittle, Mike Worthington


    The group was in a buoyant mood following the previous day’s Scottish independence vote and the day’s fine opening weather. It was as likely as not purring more loudly than Elizabeth, sat in her chambers at Buckingham Palace ruminating over how to deal with her recalcitrant prime minister. The Kingdom remains united!

    The British weather is perfectly capable of changing even the most buoyant of moods and defeating the most fastidious of meteorological soothsayers. We departed from Manchester Piccadilly on the 10:49 to Sheffield under blazing sunshine and blue skies only to be greeted by low cloud and diffuse light upon our arrival at Hope. Several members responded to the ambient climatic signals by donning additional layers of clothing before we began our ascent up Bradwell Edge. The mist had now become quite dense and its opacity completely obscured our views around the surrounding countryside. Unsurprisingly, it began to rain as the surrounding air had become as pregnant with moisture as the bramble bushes were in the hedgerows with ripened blackberries. Our sympathies were extended towards Robert B who had neglected to furnish himself with a water repellent jacket and any heartless individual who considered admonishing him, given the clemency of the weather earlier during the day, would have been regarded as somewhat churlish. Dave W did his utmost to volunteer the shield of his umbrella to Robert but the restrictive nature of the path that we were walking along prevented him from doing so. Several of the group took full advantage of the availability of luscious blackberries which by this time were glistening with rainwater. Warning reminders were issued about the fibrous nature of the fruit and the distance remaining to the nearest available amenities.

    A rain soddened group began its gradual, tortuous descent into Bradwell village and proceeded further into Smalldale where the first hostelry awaited us: Ye Olde Bowling Green Inn. The tight narrow path proved to be something of a nightmare given the recent rainfall. The state of the ground afforded minimal adherence to the group’s mud caked boots. Indeed, Kevin J suffered a fall which transmitted a shock wave through his shoulder and elbow of sufficient intensity that it provided a painful reminder of an already broken humerus bone in his shoulder; the break having been inflicted some weeks earlier but, for reasons best known to himself, he had neglected to seek medical attention for it. Several of us learned on the following mid week walk that Kevin will be incapacitated for several weeks and it will be highly unlikely that he will be attending any walks in the near future that require any sustained level of physical exertion.

    We duly arrived at the Bowling Green where we enjoyed pints of Hobgoblin, Harvest Pale and Tribute bitters together with Thatcher’s cider. Upon arrival, we sat down at one of the available tables just as a couple of individuals who had been dining had decided to depart upon our arrival. We all assumed that this was purely coincidental. However, prior to their departure, they had left a considerable portion of their meal behind including a still steaming portion of chips. As the Fildes brothers sat down, the chips quickly became the sole focus of their attention as the walk so far had begun to accentuate their prodigious appetites. It wasn’t long before the chips began to disappear and, after partly sating their own desires, duly offered the residual scraps to the remainder of the group. I casually glanced over at Robert B who appeared to be rapidly heading towards stage one hypothermia. He felt the need to conserve his dry shirt for later in the evening as the rain may yet have decided to make a return. So for the present, he was condemned to remain in his now saturated attire. I overheard a comment from Dave D that he felt fully justified in paying tribute to his pint of Tribute.
    We were enjoying pint number two when Alan suddenly announced that we had twenty-five minutes to complete our extant neckage prior to our departure at 13:30. Mystified looks were exchanged between us all as the time was presently 14:05. Kevin M in his inimitable and typical spontaneous fashion provided an apt quote from Hilda Baker who played Nellie Pledge in the 1970’s television series Nearest and Dearest: “I must get a little hand put on this watch”. Alan, in his defence, blamed his erroneous time keeping on the dubious quality of his fake Rolex watch that he had recently purchased in Spain!

    Following our departure from the Bowling Green, we made our way towards Bradwell Dale and walked up to Earl Rake. The dense mist was unrelenting and continued to obscure our views of the undoubted panoramic views that lay just beyond. We proceeded along the Limestone Way towards Cavedale.

    Upon our arrival at Castleton, we headed into our next port of call, the Castle, where Lees Pale, Doombar, Adnams and Black Sheep bitters were on offer together with Aspall’s cider. Dave D vented his chagrin at the Lees Pale as he concluded that it was a ‘pale imitation’ of the quality that he has experienced and consequently come to expect.

    We then proceeded towards Ye Olde Nags Head where, again, Lees Pale, Doombar, and Black Sheep bitters were served together with Rudgate. Andy F unfortunately suffered the ignominy of being short changed by the bar staff to the tune of the princely sum of £1. However, we all sympathised with him as most of us would agree that an incident of this nature does stick in one’s craw.

    Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese proved to be the next venue that appeared in our crosshairs. Here, we enjoyed Acorn Barnsley, Absolution, Castleton Smooth, Chatsworth Gold and Moonshine bitters and Olde English cider. Dave D and Kevin M, heads both bowed in deep debate, conducted a comparison of their respective estimations of our distance travelled so far: Dave using global satellite positioning equipment and Kevin, his trusty pedometer. I recollect that a considerable discrepancy emerged between the two. Regarding the accuracy of the output of each of the individuals’ equipment? The jury is still out.

    Our penultimate venue was the Old Hall Hotel. Kevin M and Dave D however, as an accidental precursor, decided to visit the Peak Hotel. Kevin’s subsequent report of his Adams was: “Superb!” Dave, in stark contrast, complained that his eyes had watered following his pint of Piledriver! The Old Hall served Theakston’s Best, Old Peculiar and Dizzy Blonde bitters.

    Our final hostelry was the Traveller’s Rest, which reminded me of the Half Way Inn that I used to visit some years ago. I believe that it has now been subsequently renamed the Virgins’ Rest. The Traveller’s Rest took us to within a cock’s stride of Hope railway station, albeit the walk to it was a formidable distance along a poorly lit road frequented by high- speed traffic. Farmer’s Blonde, Wainwright’s, Cobra and Stone’s awaited us at the bar.
    The Manchester local football cognoscenti may or may not be interested to learn that an animated, jocular and nostalgic discussion took place, led principally by Larry J and Mike M, which endured for some time regarding the historical composition of the Moston 6/11 team members.

    Our heartfelt thanks once again to Alan for his unswerving dedication to the O.C.O.T. cause in providing a top quality walk. We extend our condolences to Kevin J and wish him a speedy recovery and an imminent return to future walks.
  • admin - Sunday 19 July 2015 21:51
    O.C.O.T. Minutes

    18th July 2014

    Chapel-en-le-Frith

    Present: Dave Bates, Syd Bennett, Robert Brown, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, Graham Fildes, Bill Flanagan, Steve Carey, Steve Goff, Miklos Gombos, John Guest, Robert Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, Colin Larsen, Sylvia Larsen, Kevin McDonough, Noel O’Toole, Elsa Sawczuk, Steve Sawczuk, Dave Whittle, Mike Worthington

    Marketed as the “The Capital of the Peak District” and its name originating from a French derivation of: “Chapel in the forest”, Chapel proved to be a hit from both from dual perspectives of walking and hostelries.

    We welcomed the inaugural attendance of Elsa at her first main monthly walk, clearly following the lead taken by Sylvia at her inaugural main outing the previous month. Perhaps now, the old myth has finally been laid to rest that the group is male, pale and stale. I noted that David Cameron too gave a nod in our direction when announcing his recent Cabinet changes in the House of Commons! Where we lead, others follow.

    After leaving the rail station, we began the walk which took us towards Castle Naze reaching an altitude of 400m and subsequently along Combs edge. The climb proved to be quite testing both physically and psychologically. Thankfully, the forecast temperature of 29 Celsius did not come to pass because of the altitude and which proved to be a merciful relief. The psychological challenge emerged as we gained height because to our right lay vertiginous rock faces. Indeed, Kev J, prone to bouts of vertigo, chose to walk along the opposite side of a wall which formed part of the perimeter of an Iron Age hillfort to steer himself well clear of any potential catastrophes. The hillfort was apparently surveyed in 1957 by students from a Nottingham University summer school and The Workers’ Educational Association of Buxton, when it was established that the fort had undergone three phases of construction, two of the Iron Age period and one Medieval. Obvious differences in the method of construction confirmed that the two prehistoric phases were not contemporary.
    Kev M sustained an injury to his left arm which was badly lacerated as he accidently caught it on some wickedly barbed vegetation. He appeared to be in some difficulty mopping up the excess oozing blood which, given the seemingly insignificant size of the cut, was flowing quite prodigiously. The news quickly caught the ear of Nurse Elsa and, acting as if she was a long standing vocational clinician, judiciously applied sticking plasters to Kevin’s arm in an attempt to staunch the flow of blood.
    Having stymied Kevin’s haemorrhage, we gradually negotiated our way along Combs edge. Larry too suffered a mishap as he stumbled and fell when he misplaced his foot on some loose earth. He made a quick recovery but it had the effect of putting the remainder of the group on high accident alert.
    I inquired of Syd about the fate of his shorts that he wore on the Lancaster outing. Sadly, after several bouts of hand and machine washing he decided to discard them as they were too severely stained. I felt that I had to mention to him that his new shorts looked very avant garde. The fate of the bird remains unknown.

    Eventually, we descended towards Allstone Lee farm and hit a blind alley. According to Robert’s ordnance survey map, there was a clear public right of access. When he initially looked at his map, he commented that the terrain in which we were walking was so bland and featureless it was difficult to assess where we were heading but then quickly realised that his map was upside down! We noted too an old price tag on the map stating 2s6d (or 2/6 - half a crown for the benefit of the more juvenile members) which didn’t inspire us with confidence. We made our way to the perimeter of a field hoping to find an exit stile or gate: there wasn’t one. We were therefore now presented with formidable task of climbing a five foot dry stone wall with no obvious footholds. The two ladies suffered a manhandling by some of the male members who offered them a helping hand as they negotiated their way over the wall to avoid any injuries. They were both very amused, once they were safely on the other side, to see the remainder of us engaging in a variety of futile attempts in negotiating the wall.
    Some considerable time later we headed towards the farm’s exit gate to be confronted by a ‘No public right of way’ sign prominently positioned on the farm’s gate. Robert by this stage felt that the ‘Sword of Damocles’ which had been dangling perilously close to his head for some time during the walk, was now in imminent danger of decapitating him.
    Paralysed by inaction and indecisiveness as to whether we should commit a civil tort of trespass and climb over the gate, Larry quickly stepped forward and made an executive decision. Clearly, this aspect of Larry’s profile had been honed from years of working under the tutelage of Jim Cocker, an erstwhile treasury manager of Manchester City Council, together with stockbrokers and roaming the money markets to secure the most lucrative financial instruments on behalf of Manchester City and Bolton Metropolitan Borough Councils. Larry’s decision making prowess provided the green light for us all to climb the gate but unfortunately, we were immediately confronted by a farm manager which potentially could have precipitated a highly incendiary situation. Larry engaged his legendary charms and negotiating skills which helped to pacify the manager and provide an ameliorating effect. I overheard part of Larry’s negotiations and I had to stifle a chuckle as I heard him explain the rules of the walking game: “there’s twenty of us and one of you – we’re coming through!”.

    Luckily, we were waved through by the manager and made our way to our first port of call – the Beehive Inn.
    Kevin J’s inimitable humour shone through once more as he emerged from the bar with a clutch of pints remarking that he’d just been ‘stung’ at the bar. Offerings at the bar included Bank’s Sunbeam, Wychwood’s Beehive, Ringwood’s Old Thumper and Revisionist Craft lager.
    The second hostelry was the Hanging Gate. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Robert H as he glanced at the pub sign and gave a shudder. The choice of beverage here was limited to Theakston’s.
    The New Inn was the next venue. Again, a limited range of beers were on offer. Unicorn was the featured bitter.
    Our final stop was the Royal Oak. At this juncture, several members disappeared for some solid sustenance whilst the core drinkers made themselves comfortable in the beer garden soaking up the remaining uv’s as the sun began to wane. We were joined sometime later by the remainder of the party, several of which had prominent catenaries forming in their lower abdomens – a direct consequence of sating unbridled appetites.
    Kevin M announced some news following some gossip with pub staff and/or customers concerning the ever widening reach of his family’s genetic footprint. Apparently, his uncle’s name, Pat Frith, is connected to the town of the same name - namely Chapel. Remarkable!

    Following our departure from the Royal Oak, we endured an extremely brisk walk to Chapel station as we had under estimated the time required. Thankfully, we were in time to catch the 20:40 to Manchester Piccadilly.


    We extend our thanks to Robert for such an entertaining walk.
  • admin - Sunday 19 July 2015 21:45
    O.C.O.T. Minutes

    19th June 2015

    Bradford

    Present: Syd Bennett, Robert Brown, Dave Burrows, Steve Carey, Dave Dalton, Bill Flanagan, John Guest, Trevor Heywood, Robert Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, Alan Larsen, Kevin McDonough, Barry McGuinness, Paul Morrell, Paul Muir, John Nelson, Mark Nutter, Neil Shortland, Tony Statham, Dave Whittle, Mike Whittle


    It is oft said that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. It was by no means a certainty that your correspondent would ever cross the path again of one, Paul Muir, emeritus doyen of purchase cards and erstwhile colleague of mine at a leading greater Manchester local authority. On platform two at Todmorden rail station, however, there he stood, looking as pleased as Punch following his recent retirement from the aforementioned organisation. I hesitate to describe his attendance as his inaugural appearance as I seem to recollect his presence as a guest some years ago when we visited Littleborough.

    The two of us exchanged a volley of pleasantries between each other before being joined by John Guest. We hadn’t stood for very long before the next train arrived and following some delay in the opening of the carriage doors, the three of us boarded. It was mercifully a shorter period of time before it dawned upon us that we had boarded the wrong train: it was destined for Bingley rather than Bradford. Disembarking smartly at the next station, Hebden Bridge, we stood and waited for the next train from Manchester carrying our compatriots who had boarded at Manchester.

    Arriving several minutes later than scheduled, we duly boarded the Bradford service and greeted our seated Manchester colleagues.

    In due course, we arrived at Bradford Interchange station where we were met by the organiser, Alan and a longstanding childhood friend of John Nelson: Dave Burrows. Dave, another retiree who has recently retired from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Taxes had hitherto, organised a pub visit to Keighley in West Yorkshire and had also made a very brief and fleeting guest appearance at our previous visit to Bradford during 2014. In view of this, today could be properly described as his inaugural visit. Following Dave’s introduction, Alan quickly shepherded us to the bus stop where we had to make a short bus journey across the city to Crossflats – a suburb of Bradford. We caused a few raised eyebrows as we quickly subsumed every available empty seat much to the consternation of the extant itinerant passengers.

    After alighting from the bus, we headed towards the Leeds and Liverpool canal and walked along it for some distance until we arrived at the outskirts of Bingley. We seized upon the opportunity of a brief break at the Brown Cow public house where we stopped for some brief liquid refreshment. The predominant available brews were Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker, Golden Best, Ram Tam, Landlord and Dark Mild. Stowford Press was the cider on offer.

    We left the Brown Cow and plotted a route towards the River Aire. Our target now was to reach the Devil’s Alter. Following a reasonably testing incline up the hillside we reached the hill’s plateau and progressed along it with the Alter soon to appear in our sight. Several members’ facial colour, pallor and heart rates had visibly and audibly changed soon after their successful overcoming of the incline.

    Alan and your correspondent were the first to arrive at the Alter. Alan, confronted by several rocky outcrops any one of which could be persuasively described as having the appearance of an ‘Alter’ shape, was briefly racked by indecision as to which of these he should be describing as the genuine article. A quick random decision provided a solution to this most vexing of geological condundrums. He turned to me and in a somewhat hushed voice whispered: “Christ! They all look the bldy same! That one over there looks like a pretty convincing outcrop!” The remainder of the group began to arrive whereupon Alan with the assured flourish of a confidently outstretched hand and forefinger authoritatively proclaimed with aplomb: “Here gentlemen lies the Devil’s Alter!” Somewhat surprisingly, there were no dissentients coming forward questioning the validity of Alan’s judgement. Perhaps any such individuals were simply overwhelmed by the panoramic views afforded by our lofty position of high altitude.

    In due course we began our gradual descent and imminent arrival at the St Ive’s estate. We navigated our way through some impressive deciduous woodland and a plethora of rhododendron bushes. Along the way we stumbled across an engraved sandstone rock informing its readers of a Dowager* Lady Blantyre by way of a brief inscription (http://www.friendsofstives.org.uk/history/ferrands_4.php). Confusion quickly spread around the group as to the definition of the word “dowager” (see below).

    Having sated our appetites for local history, we wound our way down to the Coppice Pool, which, historically, was the source of the Estate’s water supply. It also provided an abundance of wildlife and freshwater fish, which were comprehensively catalogued by a wooden signl. Following a brief rest, we walked from the pool towards a narrow bridge to cross over the Aire as we made our return to Bingley.

    We set a course for our second port of call: Off The Tap. Here we enjoyed an eclectic variety of bitters and ciders such as: XT15 IPA, Darkside Of The Moose, Acorn Belma IPA, Coniston XB, Perfect 10 and ciders: Wyldwood, Sandford Orchard and Black Dragon.

    Sometime later, a selection of members headed down the road to the local Wetherspoon’s to enjoy a ‘Ruby Murray’. Those Wetherspooning members were to subsequently rendezvous with us later at our final hostelry. The remaining members headed towards the bus stop for a return bus journey to Bradford city centre for our next hostelry visit: Jacob’s bar. It was situated in a location, which entailed a five minute walk to Bradford Interchange station. Here we were provided with beers such as Pacifica, Blantyre Red, Stancil Mild, Titanic Plum Porter and Dark Side Of The Moose. The cider on offer was Kingstone Press.

    We began to wind up the evening when the first tranche of members opted to go for the 20:14 service to Manchester. The remaining members departed for the subsequent 20:58 service.

    Many thanks again to Alan for his tireless devotion to his organisation of our walks. We all thanked Paul and Dave for coming along and joining us.
  • admin - Sunday 19 July 2015 21:29
    O.C.O.T. Minutes

    15th May 2015

    Ulverston

    Present: Karen Arnell, Dave Bates, Syd Bennett, Clive Benson, Steve Carey, Kevin Clarke, Dave Dalton, Sarah Evans, Andy Fildes, Graham Fildes, Bill Flanagan, Andrew Goff, Steve Goff, Miklos Gombos, John Guest, Adi Hammond, Robert Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, David Lamb, Alan Larsen, Colin Larsen, Sylvia Larsen, Mike Melia, Aidan Moy, John Nelson, Mark Nutter, Noel O’Toole, Bob Rial, Elsa Sawczuk, Steve Sawczuk, Bohdan Serednycky (Sid), Neil Shortland, Debbie Thomas, Roger Wallace, Dave Whittle


    Sauntering along Manchester’s Chorlton Street in the early morning sunshine, I made a mental note to confirm my next optician’s appointment as I peered through the windscreen of the Huyton’s coach, parked in its majestic glory and which would soon be thundering northwards along the M6 motorway – its suspension struts weighed down by its 36 strong human cargo of O.C.O.T. members and, most probably, given a test the likes of which they will not have experienced in its driving lifetime.

    Was that the top of this week’s edition of Motorcycle News, which was becoming visible as I approached the parked coach? If so, it was surely beyond any co-incidence that the driver could be anybody other than Chris Law, who has not been seen in O.C.O.T. circles for the best part of five or more years? As I arrived, I quickly realised that it was just a trick of the early morning light and that the said rag propped up against the driving wheel in front of the driver was in fact of copy of the Metro belonging to its reader Andy Goff, the professional driver son of regular attendee member Steve. I supposed my imagination had run away with me in thinking that Chris had decided to play a trick of his own by making a surprise reappearance by masquerading as Andy.

    Members gradually assembled in Chorlton Street, engaged in casual conversation and waiting to be subsequently shepherded, registered, and gently prodded on to the coach by our resident registrar, Robert Holmes. Following the final member’s boarding onto the coach, Robert performed his now almost obligatory final roll call by way of a raised voice and proclaiming: “If anybody hasn’t yet boarded, would that person please make him or herself known!” Robert’s inquiry mattered little to Andy as he already had his foot pressed firmly on the coach’s accelerator even as Robert’s words had yet to fade away.

    We made our way in a northerly direction along Regent Road in the direction of the M61 motorway. On reflection, it was only natural that several members would begin to comment upon and to compare and contrast, the driving styles of Andy and Chris given that Andy was only the second driver that O.C.O.T. had ever experienced. Members also favourably viewed the extra capacity afforded by the 49 seat vehicle having historically endured a somewhat intimate and, depending upon one’s viewpoint, indeed claustrophobic, travelling environment. It was a generally noted feature too during this journey, as we made good progress along the M6 motorway, as to the absence of hands clamped on facing seat head rests with whitening knuckles!
    Following an approximate 2 hour journey and having suffered only one minor delay on the motorway because of a road traffic incident, we duly arrived in Ulverston with several members sat with tightly crossed legs signalling the fact that they were in urgent need of the water closet. This unsatisfactory state of affairs was the combination of a fault with the on board coach facilities and the leadership’s uncompromising target of arriving in Ulverston in record time and uncharitably turning a deaf ear to any bleats of motorway toilet breaks from any of the unfortunate souls who were courageously attempting to manage their bladders that, under any normal laws of human physiology, should have succumbed to the inevitable odd accident, long ago.

    Soon after parking up, we were greeted by Alan who had departed his country pile in Bear earlier that morning to meet us upon our arrival in Ulverston. No sooner had he introduced himself to the group when he was faced with a barrage of calls for advice on the whereabouts of the nearest water closet facilities. He urgently assembled the group and directed us towards the town centre mindful of his responsibility to avoid any ‘little accidents’ among the group. Upon arrival at the facilities there was a loud collective groan as the realisation dawned that there was an admission charge to the facilities. It was fascinating to ponder that even in the centre of this pool of human misery, Southlakeland District Council (SDC) was not to be denied its receipt of miscellaneous income. Much to the relief of the group, a couple of enterprising individuals had access to 20p coins to permit two tranches of sexed individuals to obtain relief from their feat of endurance. Unbelievably, I thought I had misunderstood a retired, community minded Manchester City Council finance employee, who shall remain anonymous, whose thoughts were focussed upon SDC’s budget monitoring team and its income shortfall regarding its miscellaneous income budget as thirty odd O.C.O.T. members had relieved their selves for the princely sum of £0.40. Egalitarianism can sometimes become an end in itself!

    When everybody had been suitably relieved, we assembled again outside a municipal building in the centre of Ulverston in front of a memorial statue of Arthur Stanley Jefferson (Stan Laurel) and Norvell Hardy (Oliver Hardy). In the meantime, Alan had mysteriously disappeared back towards the direction of the parked coach. Several opportunistic members used the wait for the return of Alan to sate their burgeoning appetites which were now evident following a two hour journey. A local bakery had been spotted and members were seen making a beeline for various pies and hotpots. Secretary Larsen showing uncharacteristic indecisiveness finally made his own visit, exhibiting surprising agility as he made his way, fleet of foot, towards the bakery having realised that time was running out, as by now, Alan’s return was imminent.

    In due course we made our way from the town centre and began walking up an incline towards the John Barrow lighthouse. Having climbed to the lighthouse summit, it duly provided the group with photo opportunities. Our descent from the summit took us towards Ulverston canal. A site along the canal presented us with a sandwich opportunity. As the majority or members sat down on wooden benches and enjoyed their food, several eagle eyed members noted the presence of a public house and duly set off to take advantage of the facilities. Unfortunately, Mark Nutter was neglected and much to his chagrin, missed out on this opportunity.

    We duly made our way from the canal foot head along the Cumbria Coastal Path to eventually arrive at the Buddha Temple. We had a short cultural break at the site to investigate the artefacts and other objects which garnered our interest

    Our departure from the temple took us on a route through the villages of Bardsea and Swarthmoor and ending at Ulverston. The earlier fine weather had now given way to the start of rain and we were grateful that our first point for refreshment was appearing ahead of us, namely the Devonshire Arms where Copper Dragon, Cascade Pale Ale, Coniston Bluebird, XB and Yorkshire Terrier were the bitters on offer.

    Our next stop was a visit to the Farmer’s Arms. Here, we savoured Land Of Cartmel, Hawkshead, Esthwaite, Langdale, Lakeland Gold and Swan Blonde.

    Upon our exit from the Farmer’s Arms, we were greeted by very heavy persistent rainfall. Noel, conscious of the dripping water gathering upon his head, immediately advised that perhaps we should take a minibus ride to The Swan, our final hostelry, to avoid a soaking. Incredibly, he was overruled and with an incredulous look on his face, not dissimilar to that of a condemned man, he began to walk towards the Swan muttering words which cannot be included by your correspondent but were similar in meaning and vitriol to phrases such as “the parsimonious bunch of so and so’s” and “tight-fisted set of ne’er do wells!”

    In due course, we entered the Swan and Noel, rendered myopic by the mist over his spectacles’ lenses caused by the relative humidity of the warm pub interior and water rivulets visibly running off his pate, barked over to me in an almost accusatory tone of voice: “What are you drinking?” When his myopia dissipated somewhat, he noted the array of ales that lay before him and that helped him to attain a modicum of pacification: Screech Owl, Wobbly Bob, Hawkshead, Timothy Taylor, California, Acorn Blonde, Haka, Acorn Gorlouka and South Island Pale.

    Between 19:45 and 20:00, we headed off towards the car park and boarded the coach for the return journey back to Manchester.

    We extended our sincere gratitude towards both Andy and Steve for their provision of the transport services and to Alan for his organisation of a scenic and culturally rewarding and fulfilling walk.
  • goft - Sunday 24 March 2013 12:22
    Smashing!
  • admin - Saturday 29 December 2012 14:58
    Smashing