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16th October 2015
Present: Clive Benson, Robert Brown, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, John Guest, Steve Goff, Robert Holmes, Kevin Jordan, David Lamb, Alan Larsen, Colin Larsen, Sylvia Larsen, Barry McGuinness, Dave Nichols, Noel O’Toole, Bob Rial, Elsa Sawczuk, Steve Sawczuk, Neil Shortland, Julie Sprigg, Dave Whittle, Mike Whittle
Viewed from a strict economic standpoint, it would have hardly been the most risible of occasions for the typical member as his or her eyes first alighted upon the rail fares for the journey to Staveley when making ticket purchases. At £23 for a return journey, with no meaningful financial recognition afforded to those who decided to purchase tickets in advance, the pecuniary pain inflicted must have been barely tolerable for most.
It was therefore immensely gratifying to see the number of attendees swollen to a heady twenty-two as we assembled upon the platform at Staveley shortly after disembarking from the slightly delayed service when it arrived ten minutes late. We set off from the station and in the direction of Dales Way to lead us towards Fell Plain, Borwick Fold and High Fairbank and the promise of a prompt arrival at our midday watering hole – The Watermill at the village of Ings. Waves of nostalgia washed over us as we entered the bar area, with fond memories of previous visits and a former overnight stay at the hostelry. Your correspondent observed several tear stained faces around the lounge as recollections were resurrected of memories of his rendition of a medley of memorable piano pieces played one evening during the short break. It would be perfectly understandable if expressions of shock were voiced today at the news that, contrary to popular belief at that time, he did indeed continue to hold onto his full time employment role. Unbelievable! Members appeared to enjoy the offerings at the bar with bitters including: A Bit Er Ruff, W’Ruff Night, Isle of Doks, Collie Wobbles, Windermere Blonde, Loweswater Gold, Dog’ Th Vader and Shihtzu Faced. Ciders of Stowford Press and Old Rosie were also on offer. Julie extended her apologies for her early departure shortly after arriving at the bar and from the remainder of the day’s activities, as she had to rendezvous with her husband for a pre-arranged camping break in the area.
Upon leaving the Watermill, we continued the walk towards Staveley through Hugill Hall, Hugill Fell, Browfoot Lane and Scroggs Bridge. Shortly after our arrival at Barley Bridge, we proceeded towards the Old Mill Yard in Staveley village to visit the Hawkshead Brewery Tap. An extended range of bitters were welcomed by the weary walkers: Lakeland Gold, Hawkshead Red, Brodie’s Prime, Windermere Pale, Hawkshead Bitter, New Zealand P.A.*, IPA, White IPA, Hop Black, Crooked Staves Key Lime and Great White. (*Apparently news was received on good authority that Alan, the walk organiser, had suffered the ignominy of a fall somewhere in the bar area. It remains somewhat unclear as to the cause of his humiliation. The more churlish amongst us may have attributed it to the specific gravity level of the N.Z. P.A. whilst others of a more charitable disposition may have put it down simply to physical exhaustion from the walk.)
Our final destination, after leaving the Brewery Tap, was the Eagle and Child. Upon our arrival, we caught sight of the two Roberts enjoying the pub fayre together with Colin and Sylvia sat together on a table positioned adjacent to the front facing windows. They had clearly enjoyed their cuisine observing the sated looks upon their faces. The low lighting levels immediately caught our attention as we entered the pub’s lounge. The level of lumens was so low that there was scarcely sufficient light to rearrange the gloom. On reflection, we must have located the bar using some form of primeval innate radar. However, once visible, the range of beers did not disappoint with an eclectic variety sourced from the Barngate Brewery. Whilst enjoying our drinks, a coterie of some of the far right conservative element of the membership voiced its displeasure at the lamentable lack of adherence to the formal dress code. For those dissentients amongst us - who are deemed culpable - they may wish to tilt their heads towards the oncoming headwinds that are beginning to blow to sense that they may be heralding an imminent crackdown on dress standards.
Some disappointing news was received from the contingent that caught the 20:03 return train service. Owing to an earlier than anticipated arrival at the station, it elected to opt for the train to Windermere and then a return journey to Oxenholme. However at Oxenholme, the Virgin** service was fifteen minutes late. The devastating consequential effect of that was that the Preston service connection was missed and the next service being at 21:59. A fateful decision was then taken to remain on the service to Wigan North Western with a view to catching a 21:28 service at Wigan Wallgate. However, despite a valiant, coronary thrombosis inducing sprint to the Wallgate station, the connection was missed. Unfortunately, that now meant that the 21:53 slow service was the service to Manchester Victoria. Its eventual arrival at 22:40 resulted in a band of exhausted codgers having to make alternative travel arrangements. One word would probably eloquently encapsulate this sorry state of affairs: “shafted”!
**(Another depressingly familiar instance of the Virgin group demonstrating its near infallible positioning in its ability to wrest control of the national lottery from Camelot at the next opportunity and operate it itself, as surely evidenced by the way it performs on its rail responsibilities: a lottery using the term in its purest sense.)
Once again, everybody extended his/her gratitude to Alan for another splendid walk.
Annual General Meeting
Secretary Larsen wishes to give forward notice of the annual general meeting which is scheduled for 18th December at The Queens Arms Country Inn located at 1 Shepley Street, Old Glossop (http://www.queens-arms-hotel-old-glossop.co.uk/). Following ruthless negotiating tactics with the proprietor, a deal has been thrashed out for an admirable £15. Colin successfully managed to wring a £2 discount from an opening bid of £17. The intention is for us to assemble in the privately reserved first floor dining area at 18:30. Colin proposes to begin collecting contributions for December’s soirée at this coming Friday’s 13th November visit to Otley Would members please therefore furnish themselves with the necessary liquidity to assist Colin in defraying the overall cost.