We’ve just returned from our annual ex-student walking weekend, this time in Kettlewell in North Yorkshire. I’ll admit it, I just socialised!
I did get out to Hawes for the day with a friend who ‘sacrificed’ going for a walk herself to come with me. (No sacrifice really, I think she’ll admit – but thank you, ‘I don’t do hills’ Julia!)
The only fresh air I experienced on the weekend was being wheeled from one cafe to another and from the hostel to the pub, which suited me just fine! Especially when I saw how cold and windswept everyone looked as they gradually returned from various walks that seemed to have involved being clamped under low cloud for much of the afternoon.
We did experience our own wild weather in Hawes when we ventured out of our first cafe after a couple of hours’ catch-up on news. It coincided with the heavens opening and us getting very wet in the space of a couple of hundred yards. After taking emergency shelter in a shop we decided it was lunchtime and we really ought to find another cafe … and that was how our day passed really – in a most acceptable fashion!
The journey to and from Hawes took us past gently sloping fields, fast-flowing streams, and trees only just beginning to turn, and there were still several yellow bikes hanging from trees and pubs to remind us of the fantastic summer weekend of Le Tour. We even stopped to watch as bursts of water were blown up a waterfall by the strength of the wind.
We were staying in the YHA hostel in Kettlewell, the venue for several of our reunions. However, it’s likely to be our last one there as the hostel is up for sale – such a shame. I remember once, a few years ago, arriving back from a walk to be greeted by a pungent smell of pumpkins, and a roomful of happy children with one very happy dad, all making splendid Hallowe’en lanterns which became our table decorations for the evening.
There’s been a slightly different feel to this year’s gathering – caused by a lack of youngsters. After years of babies, who grew into toddlers, then primary age children and, most recently, tall teenagers, suddenly they’ve almost all disappeared – they are either (officially, at least!) adults now or are busy doing their own thing at weekends. It was almost like old times (but with more creaking limbs and less energy!). Although it felt quite strange at first, by the end of the weekend I was managing to cope quite well with the lack of responsibility!