Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Friday, 26 October 2007

Saturday 20 October 2007 - Hawes and Great Shunner Fell

The annual get together of Sue’s old university contemporaries took us to the Youth Hostel at Hawes. We had taken over the place for the weekend, much to the chagrin of a chap I met coming in the other direction near Hardraw Force. Strange, I thought, that he was armed only with a cup of tea.
Sue and I left the rest of our group and paid £2 each for the privilege of going up to the falls. At 20 pence we had never complained in the past, but the grumpy landlady of the Green Dragon pub, the gateway to these impressive falls, now seems to be profiteering, so we do now complain. But never mind, it was a worthwhile diversion, from which we caught up with the rest of our group some way up Great Shunner Fell on this lovely calm cloudless autumn day. And soon we caught up with cup of tea man, who turned out to be an Andy, doing the Pennine Way in sections with two Sheilas and a Graham. It’s a small world. Sue and I knew one of the Sheilas and we were subjected to more (jovial?...not sure!) abuse for our group having taken over the Youth Hostel, where Sue and I have a nice en-suite twin room with towels and tea making facilities, whereas Sheila’s group is slumming it in the less pristine Green Dragon with its grumpy landlady…

The fell summit was busy, with lots of walkers and a shooting party all enjoying their lunches and the fine panoramic views. The shooting party were preparing themselves for a busy afternoon, with quite a bit of wine, or was it Famous Grouse Whisky? Alys was recovering from a sore and now pointy head after Colin’s rather crude attempt to break up a chocolate bar. 12 of us set off exactly down the line that the shooting party was aiming to take, towards Butter Tubs Pass.
Once out of the line of fire, we lazed in the sun for some time by these impressive sink holes before most of us headed on up to Lovely Seat. This hill lives up to its name, and we found Chris and Alys ensconced on the summit throne in the shelter of the light but cool breeze. After a pause for breath we set off on a southerly bearing on a 3 km bog trot that sorted the men from the boys. Colin’s training at underwater dive sites, and Julie’s enforced detention at Northern Pebble’s head office had not prepared them for this, so frequent breaks were required for them to catch up. Chris romped ahead with deceptive ease and made light of crossing the wide patches of green slime that had others sinking and cursing.
But eventually we reached the track that took us easily back down to Hawes in blinding late afternoon sunshine, in time to visit a cheese shop before reaching the haven of the hostel and Sue W’s selection of cakes. We had expected a cacophony of children, but it seemed they had followed us up Great Shunner Fell and had not come back. So, tea and cakes in peace, and children nearly all late for their 5.30 meal! Tut-tut!
The ‘grown ups’ ate early at 7, so that most of them could endure watching a game of rugby at a local hostelry, comforted only by the local Black Sheep ale. Some of us just stayed put. Haven’t times changed – this Youth Hostel even has a licensed bar, with beer and wine at reasonable prices.

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