Again, it seems no time at all since the last Ramsoc weekend, on which I reported here. This is the fourth of these events recorded on these pages (Sue and I missed 2008) – for reminiscences click here.
The new epoch of Sue W’s organisational talents (it was our reluctant MC’s 11th year in the job - “come back Mark and Janet” she was heard to mutter) yielded a significant change. No rain! This really is momentous news, as it Always Rains on Sue W’s weekends.
Anyway there was plenty of room in the Youth Hostel for our group of around 40, with numerous people in very relaxed moods due to short journeys. The Peak District really is a good venue for this ‘meet’, albeit well within day walking range for many of those attending.
18 of us set off on a 14 mile circuit from the Youth Hostel.
The following tale/list may offend. Persons with a gentle disposition may prefer to go straight to the slideshow, click here.
Our leader shall remain nameless…. No, let’s call him ‘Worzel’.
There were many complaints:
- the starting time was 9.15. Hanging around for ages after that was simply not acceptable to those who had complied with the request
- latecomers complained bitterly when the group set off before they had time to put their boots on
You may already be able to see where this was leading; poor old Worzel had no chance, really.
Here’s the route we took – 22 km, 670 metres ascent, taking a leisurely, albeit a bit brisk for Worzel, who finished an hour later than the main bunch, taking most of us 7.4 hours.
The children in this group are growing up. Just a few years ago they were in push chairs (some still are), but today three of them, James, Josh and Beth, joined the big people for our walk in the sunshine.
We strolled through Eyam, famous for the way its residents handled the bubonic plague in 1665, then through Stoney Middleton and Wardlow to Cressbrook Dale.
There was a small hill on our route from Cressbrook Dale, a veritable pimple, but only one person managed to find a way through its defensive ramparts to the summit.
Later, dire warnings indicated that this huge beast was likely to gore every member of the party.
Beth got tired soon after the bull, and refused to venture down Silly Lane on account of its name. She was ushered back to Eyam by a couple who selflessly sacrificed the rest of Worzel’s thrilling adventure.
Unfortunately, a little further on, Worsel, by now becoming weary of the constant barrage of complaints, not to mention his inability to keep up with the cracking pace, also became separated, along with two henchmen, from the rest of his disparate group, whom he abandoned, seemingly without any care or compassion.
You could say he ‘Barreled In’.
Meanwhile, the remaining dozen enjoyed a lovely afternoon wandering in various directions, depending on whose Satmap they believed in, around Bretton Clough then up a long ascent to the summit of Sir William Hill, where some are pictured, Tom is in a state of some surprise after having been told that he had won the sweepstake.
As mentioned, there were complaints today:
- too many hills
- slippery paths
- no toilets
- stiles too narrow
- flowers not in flower
- leader unable to control his group
- grumpy landlord
- too many pubs
- grumpy bull
- not enough pubs
- unacceptable splinter groups
- one boy had very rustly trousers
- cool wind
- blinding sunshine
- pace too fast
- too many rest stops
- too many competing Satmap GPS devices
- unnecessary gaiters
- pace too slow
- failure of leader to organise zipwire descents
- low branches (or was the ground too high?) caused head damage
- silly place names
- a disturbing encounter with a desiccated cat
- the failure of Sir William Hill to provide a café
- not enough rest stops
- leader unable to keep up
That’s just the top 25 complaints. I’ll leave you to imagine the rest of them.
We were back at Eyam in time to enjoy Sue W’s cakes and adjourn for a snooze before dinner. It had been a lovely day, despite the whinging.
Unbelievably, Sue W’s grip on the weather continued, and whilst a few people sidled off, exhausted after yesterday’s exertions, some 26 victims assembled under her stern eye in the car park at Chatsworth House. She would surely be more effective than Worzel, who was seen hastening through Chatsworth Park to a life of obscurity along with Rob’em and Tom. They were later found rummaging amongst some old stones in Andrew Montgomerie’s ‘garden’ in Baslow. “Just looking for geocaches” they murmured, scurrying away before said vicar could apprehend them. [Note there is slight conjecture on the author’s part as to what actually took place, as he wasn’t there and is relying purely on ‘form’ and reputation in arriving at this probable scenario.]
Here’s the day’s route – 13km, 300 metres ascent, 4.5 hours. Led entirely from the front by the inimitable Mrs W.
We didn’t have time to explore Queen Mary’s Bower, instead heading for a quaint bridge over the River Derwent, where we spent a while watching leaves and mallards in the dark water.
“We can’t stay here all day!” asserted our leader.
So we moved on (literally) to a tree. Many of the group enjoyed climbing this for a while.
“Help!” “I’m stuck” “Please rescue me” “I want my mum” whimpered one poor darling.
So she managed to escape the clutches of the tree, thankfully without resort to any greater emergency service than Phil’s Phluster, and she departed in favour of some retail therapy with mumsy.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I only had 24 brownies, and those two would surely have demanded second helpings. Anyway, suitably re-fuelled and after several “we can’t stay here all day!” broadcasts from our leader wherever we paused, we found our way eventually to Calton Lees, where we frightened a jittery politician into thinking he was about to be trampled again. “Let your dog off its lead” some wit muttered in response.
Anyway, we soon arrived in Beeley, where the family that was too lazy to make any butties went to a luxurious café whilst the rest of us squashed stale butties down our necks under a drippy tree, watched attentively by ‘The Hound of Beeley’.
Others found better things to do than sit on damp grass. This is Garden Cache - SK 26597 67671 – a geocache. My second geocache but Horatio Puddleduck’s 65th find.
Then, after being rejoined by the various splinter groups and blasted by another “we can’t stay here all day!” call to arms, we set off through a field of tired cows to gain the heights above Chatsworth House.
The Boss had great trouble keeping the 24 strong group together, as they were prone to charging off looking for more geocaches, their enthusiasm whetted by the easy find in that garden in Beeley.
Eventually, a library was found. Yes, a proper library. In a tree. Apart from the library, the cache had a Travel Bug, Guernsey Ormer, which Tom (aka Horatio P) undertook to place in another cache on the Ormer’s journey around the world.
We continued through ghostly trees on a not quite knife edge ridge, eventually reaching a waterfall, above which the braver members of the party would have enjoyed a perimeter stroll. If their mums hadn’t been there.
By now the ‘I don’t do outdoor weewees’ contingent was beginning to nag, so without further ado, there was a “we can’t stay here all day!” chorus, and we ran down to the comfort of Chatsworth House’s convenient ‘publics’.
Then we all went home, momentarily puzzled by someone coming on the radio: “This morning Alec Ferguson’s wife woke him from a deep sleep… ‘It’s six’ she informed him. ‘I know’ he cried, from the middle of his nightmare”.
[You’ll notice an absence of complaints today. That’s not because there weren’t any. I’m just scared of the repercussions.]
And here’s the slideshow – quite a few images in total.