OMG, IMHO, FFS, HSBC, RSPCA. What can you do when your friend turns out to be an alcoholic? Well join him I suppose. Tonight was supposed to be a recovery night ready for the conquering of two of the three peaks tomorrow (1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon - easy!). However Mike (aka Fatman, yes him again) had other ideas.
I finished the walk at 5:30 in Stainforth, where I was staying the night at the Craven Heifer. When I came down from having a shower the landlord said that "an elderly gentleman called in and invited you to his house for a cup of tea." This was Fatman (aka Mike)'s dad, who lives in the village with his wife and at 85 is in much better shape than either of us. Last weekend he went on a 20 mile bike ride for goodness sake!
I arrived at their house just as they were setting off for the pub, so we went straight down. I had a delicious chili con carne before his mum and dad went home and a few of the locals arrived. Things then degenerated as rounds of bitter became rounds of sherry, then port. Oh dear.
When I was at primary school we used to think it was hysterically funny that sausages looked like poo. The reality is that from a distance of less than 20 metres they look nothing at all like poo. So it was with some concern that I looked down at my breakfast this morning. It didn't have a smooth skin, it was very dark, it had bits in it, it was tapered for goodness sake! It didn't taste like a sausage either, it tasted of basil. What on earth has happened to the pork sausage these days? When I get home I will write to someone important with my sausage related concerns.
Today started with a delightful walk from Malham, following the beck round to a shady waterfall called Janet's Foss (from the Scandanavian for 'force'). 10 minutes later I was in the dramatic Gordale Scar, staring at the dribble of a waterfall blocking my path. It's quite a clamber to the top of the fall, and I had to take care as I was carrying a pack not to topple over. It was hard work and as I approached the top I was looking forward to a bit of breeze.
Entrance to Gordale Scar.
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No breeze whatsoever. It was going to be a hot day. Actually I'm quite happy to walk in 'hot'. Crete, Elba and the Picos de Europa spring to mind as particularly hot walks I've done in the past.
I strolled the mile or so to Malham Tarn and seemed to have the whole of the limestone plateau to myself. I sat for a while by the water before heading back to Malham Cove and on into Dry Valley, which was reputed to be not just dry, but really dry. I therefore decided to carry out a really stupid science / psychology test by depriving myself of water for an hour before getting there in order to heighten the effect (a la Clint Eastwood in 'the good, the bad and the ugly'). By the time I reached the valley's end I was completely parched, feeling a bit queasy and had a headache. Success!
I stopped for lunch beneath Attermire Scar, an eventful spell which will feature in a separate 'Lunchtime Bovine Photo Special'! Straight after lunch I saw the first fellow hiker I had seen on the trip so far. He was carrying an extremely large pack and looked quite distressed. As I approached he sat on a rock. He wanted to chat. We had a fairly long walking discussion but it didn't start well:
Me: (Concerned) How are you?
Him: Absolutely f***ing suicidal.
It transpired that he was struggling with the heat, his pack was too heavy and he didn't like cows. I decided not to mention the cow related adventures he was about to have (see Lunchtime Bovine Photo Special). At the point when he waved his sticks around and said, "I'm really stressed", I said goodbye and moved on.
It was indeed hot. It didn't seem to me much different to the day before, but it was. I always carry my watch, which records temperature, attached to the pack (so it doesn't just record my wrist temperature). Yesterday the maximum had been 27.5, today it was 36.8 with an average of 28 over the 7 hours.
After leaving my stressed friend behind I took a detour to the route in order to visit the Victoria and Jubilee caves. There have been some amazing finds in the former (try googling Victoria Cave Settle), but it was empty today. From the latter I got my first view of all Three Peaks together, two to climb tomorrow and the other the day after.
I dropped down into Ribblesdale and followed the lovely riverside path to Stainforth. At the final bridge I went for a refreshing paddle while a group of lads threw themselves over the edge of a waterfall. I then wandered up to the Craven Heifer with the intention of having a relaxing meal and a good rest ready for tomorrow. But as I said earlier, someone had other ideas.
-- Posted from Kev's iPhone