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13th May 2016
Present: Syd Bennett, Robert Brown, Dave Burrows, Steve Carey, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, Graham Fildes, Andrew Goff, Steve Goff, John Guest, Adi Hammond, Robert Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, Sue Largee, Alan Larsen, Colin Larsen, Kevin McDonough, Paul Morrell, Dave Nichols, Noel O’Toole, Julie Sprigg, Tony Statham, Dave Whittle, Mike Worthington
Alarm bells were beginning to tinkle and members began to get twitchy as they assembled at Chorlton Street, enjoying the warm sunshine yet becoming increasingly aware of the absence of the coach hired by Goff and Son Limited, in association with O.C.O.T., as the time passed 09:30.
It turned out that any fears were unfounded as the coach duly arrived a little later together with father and son on board. Boarding commenced almost immediately. Today’s payload consisted of 22 members. At around 09:40, following some momentary hesitation by Andy, our driver for the day, as to his optimum exit strategy from Manchester city centre, he duly elected to head towards Portland Street by hanging a right off Chorlton Street followed by another sharp right and heading eastwards up Portland Street making a beeline for Lever Street which would in turn take us towards Oldham Road towards the M60 and M62 motorways.
It was a largely uneventful journey that took us into Ilkley town centre. That said, there were one or two mildly harrowing moments as we narrowly avoided bridges with low load limits. Andy duly engaged his mental agility by performing some quick arithmetic around load calculations, whilst simultaneously navigating his way along narrow lanes taking care not to inadvertently crush any badly parked cars. With around ten tons of unladen coach weight inflated by a conservative estimate of an additional two tons of payload, he probably erred on the side of caution therefore to avoid a particular bridge displaying an eight tons maximum weight limit. It proved to be just one of the many advantages of being driven by a transport professional of several years standing (no offence to Chris intended).
It could have been considered by some as an unfortunate coincidence that we selected a coach parking space immediately adjacent to a school sports playing field that was hosting a rounders match consisting of teams of young adolescent girls. Matters weren’t helped when everybody stood by the side of the coach after disembarking, looking intently over at the playing field (Julie and Sue excepted). A casual observer could have been forgiven for arriving at an inappropriate conclusion when looking at the gathering of assembled silver foxes. John Guest and Dave Burrows joined us at the parking spot, having made their own respective ways to Ilkley. Dave had decided once again to bring along his executive ‘man bag’. Presumably, not yet wanting to fully relax his grip on the reins of his erstwhile role with H.M. Inspector of Taxes, his bag likely as not, contained the case notes pertaining to David Cameron’s ongoing recent tax avoidance peccadillo in connection with Blairmore Holdings. In Dave’s opinion, perhaps Mr Cameron does have a case to answer.
We duly set off on the circular trek, the weather now having turned to overcast skies and a nagging northerly wind. Barely ten minutes had elapsed before fractures began to appear in the group. Bizarrely, Tony headed into a local butcher’s shop. But for what your correspondent asked him self? Perhaps a ‘T’ Bone steak? A tasty piece of rump steak? Or a Barnsley chop for his evening meal later that day? Yet others disappeared into a local sandwich shop presumably having neglected their forward planning regarding the making of their own sandwiches. Several minutes later, we were reunified and continued a gradual ascent along Old Keighley Road towards Ilkley Moor.
We journey on towards Cowper’s Cross, Whetstone Gate and up to the Trig Point. A short break ensued before we resumed in the direction of the Twelve Apostles Stone Circle. After visiting the Lower Lantham Dam, we headed towards the Cow and Calf public house. There we enjoyed a selection of bitters and ciders.
After emerging sometime later, we continued towards Darwin’s View and from where we made our way to Ilkley town centre. Our opening port of call was the Crescent Hotel. Members enjoyed Copper Dragon, Citra and Voodoo Mild from the Great Heck Brewery. Aspall’s cider was also on offer.
The Daleside Hotel was the next port of call. Featured bitters here included: Dragon Slayer (Wharfe Bank Brewery), Timothy Taylor Landlord, Saltaire Blonde and Ilkley Dale (both from the Ilkley Brewery). Symond’s cider was also on offer.
Our final port of call was the Flying Duck. We enjoyed a wide selection of bitters from the Wharfedale Brewery.
The group thanked Alan for another superb north Yorkshire trek.