Creativity & Crampons
Flagcrackers annual outing, to Kettlewell
this year, proved yet again the inventiveness, stamina and skilfulness of
Friday, upon arrival, finding the house
actually existed, a leisurely tour of the village yielded the presence of
one small general store shop and THREE pubs - one of which was closed
during the afternoons!! This called for a much closer examination of the
other two and the Racehorses proved the more magnetic - so much so that
the next arrivals found the house locked and the mobile numbers not
working (no signal) but somehow found us in the nearest pub.
Choices of rooms were sorted then the first culinary journey started.
After a range of really excellent food, the
evening progressed, rude word scrabble revealed some very unusual
spellings, the appearance of 6 blanks in one word was inventive.
This was followed by giant Jenga until the
early hours during which a sort of plan evolved for the next day.
Saturday morning, after breakfasts & clearing all the empties, we all set
off on the low valley route to Starbottom. We managed to keep mainly to
the path to destination to find a surprisingly rule-full pub, no dogs, no
boots (in the dales!!), no chips without a meal etc etc - one to avoid
except there isn't another near. Return on the high road over stile after
stile...., missing the dead rabbits.
After such thirsty activity, a quick trip
to the Racehorses was needed. Food again achieved universal acclaim
followed by all demonstrating yet another aptitude by reproducing grand
masters using finger paints.
Annie was awarded first prize but all
(except the squire whose was awful!) showed such skill & ability, some
hidden talents were discovered. Jenga appeared again and a sort of plan
evolved for the next day.
Sunday morning, we were greeted by little
red hearts down the stairs and in the dining room, individualised
heart-shaped shortbread biscuits - how romantic and really nice to come
down to. We think Linda had been up all night.
After breakfasts & clearing all the
the plan evolved to walk South on the Dales
way, cross the river & return on the other side which we duly did. Only a
few were brave enough to cross the stepping stones.
Laurie stayed with those who wouldn't
cross, he kept shouting things from the other side of the river as we
walked back but we just waved, he later told us he was lost. Rob was
lagging behind, we found him trying to sneak up on a poor unsuspecting
sheep. Daisy wanted to take a sheep home.
India and the boys stopped to cut up a tree
with James's impressive Swiss army saw.
Later, Brenda lit us a lovely fire, but alas the smoke did not want to go
up the chimney but filled the living room instead. The alarms went off,
but thankfully no sprinklers. George appeared so that he could defend
himself - No - it wasn't his e-cigarette on the blink (and it's not real
smoke - honest)
Anna and Kevin would not budge from their rugby game on the telly so
continued to sit amongst the smoke. We shut them in to keep in the smell -
and the smoke. After much flapping about how to turn the alarm off, James
read the instructions on the wall and peace was restored. After such
thirsty activity, a quick trip to the Racehorses was needed. The last of
the communal meals again was superb, followed by Jenga
then some music practice which
inadvertently continued far past any reasonable hour to after 1am!! A sort
of plan evolved for the next day.
Monday morning, the early leavers crept carefully & quietly out, not
disturbing a single soul and India left a lovely note. Those remaining,
after breakfasts & clearing all the empties,
the weather being less good, all went their
own ways, some north to Hawes, some south to Grassington, some to Leeds.
We all returned mid/late afternoon and after such thirsty activity, a
quick trip to the Racehorses was needed. After dinner, a civilised game of
Scrabble ensued followed by an uncivilised game of Jenga
. A sort of plan evolved for the next day.
Tuesday morning, after breakfasts & clearing all the empties,
the plan was a steep walk or a slightly
less steep walk. Chris led the former whilst Alan promised us a gentle
walk somewhere but there were no details.
After his GPS informed him he was
heading off in exactly the wrong direction, Alan turned around and saw two
paths, one of which was vertical with snow at the top. He assured us that
we were going up the vertical path, so we assumed he was joking - as
usual. As we approached the craggy rocks it became clear this was no joke.
We continued up over the mountain, with a
running report of how many thousand feet we had climbed. George who
claimed to only we running on 3 cylinders, had very little trouble scaling
the cliff face and the snowy hills but continued to protest at being
At the other side of the hill was a similar
craggy rock face (no, that was one of our party) and a very steep,
slippery descent. Woefully perched on a wall we found beautifully intact
sheep's skull. Annie decided it had been caught in the barbed wire fence,
I think it is more likely it had been on one of Alan's walks. Daisy said
it was her friend and that it could sit on her knee. So I checked it to
make sure there were no remains of the poor sheep's flesh and brain and
Annie kindly carried it all the way down the hill to the pub.
After enjoying a pint or two in the Falcon, (Alan will tell you all about
the woman in the kitchen and her peas) it dawned on us that there were no
buses and it was a six mile walk home, complete with snow showers. As we
left the pub the landlord mumbled something from behind the bar about a
van. We thought perhaps they had "come to take us away" but in fact there
was a delivery driver ready to set off towards Kettlewell. James somehow
persuaded him to give one of us a lift so we could bring back a comfy car
- but which one of us? Everyone suggested that it should be me [Lucy] I
did a quick risk assessment and as people know I have no reservations
getting in vans with strange men, but I had drunk some cider and I would
have to drive James' brand new car back in the snow so it was decided that
James should go. Alan got the thankless job of carrying Daisy in the
rucksack, she proceeded to tell him all about the black toy ghost that
goes na na na na na... After what seemed like nothing like an eternity,
James arrived. There was no room for Alan and Kevin, apart from the boot,
so they had to walk back in the snow.
Chris' walk using paper maps, proceeded uneventfully and were able to
follow the progress of the others across the valley.
We all returned mid afternoon, and after such thirsty activity, a quick
trip to the Racehorses was needed.
Those leaving the next day went to the King's Head pub for their evening
meal (taking instruments) & the rest followed later with theirs where a
session followed the meal. Later, a sort of plan evolved for the next day
Wednesday morning, after breakfasts & clearing all the empties, the plan
clarified to walk to Hag Dyke. Those with other demands on their time left
mid morning and the remainder set off in brightness. As we ascended, the
cloud & mist followed us so at the house, visibility was very poor
although the snow was good underfoot. The direct return proved slippery as
Barbara found out but the track was good. This proved again an enjoyable
outing although we were all glad of our outdoor clothing. We all returned
early/mid afternoon, and after such thirsty activity, a quick trip to the
Racehorses was needed. Chris was mortified to find she had personally
drunk the pub dry of brandy so had to settle for an excellent Almanac.
Some just have to suffer for their art. Whilst most eat in, Val & TV did
excellent work in assessing the King's Head for food. During the
after-dinner chat, the squire was singled out for abuse for languishing in
retirement without completing domestic repairs. He did, however, provide a
range of quite plausible reasons for taking over 3 years without replacing
the bath side and avoiding re-decorating the lounge for 14 years. Although
these excuses were accepted, these tasks could become a focus of some
future interest. A sort of plan evolved for the next day.
Thursday morning, after breakfasts & clearing all the empties, the plan
clarified, one high walk to Starbottom for Barbara to find her tree and a
low walk alongside the river to avoid the stiles. After Starbottom,
continue along the Dales Way to Buckden, have lunch at the Buck pub &
catch the bus back (profusion of bus passes appeared immediately!!). All
went well, we just arrived at the Buck when snow showers started again.
Val & Barbara were not enamoured with their bill!!!! We all returned mid
afternoon, and after such thirsty activity, a quick trip to the Racehorse
was needed. (Brandy supplies had now been replenished). After a bit of
tidying round, we all went to the pub for evening meal. All a bit sad
about having to go home.
Friday morning, after breakfasts & clearing all the empties, we went home.
5 good walks, warm bright gaps in the weather (never really rained on),
fun & good food, an occasional drink (I always think of a bottle of wine
as 1 unit anyway), excellent company, what more can one ask for?
Saturday post, the cheque arrived for return of deposit for no breakages.