For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!


Friday, 23 January 2015

Where are you from?

Another Thursday-Pete-walk.

In the late Fifties and early Sixties a loose gang of us assembled at weekends in Langdale and later at Keswick to climb and carouse. At other times  Bradford based members frequented pubs and clubs where live jazz reigned - Elvis and the Beetles were rubbish. Pete was a notable member, and in 1960 he and I had a holiday in the Jotunheim in Norway wandering over glaciers and making a good ascent of Galdhopiggen by a non-tourist route.

As to be expected we all eventually went our different ways. Forty years later I had moved to Arnside (2000)  after losing my wife to Motor Neuron Disease. I joined the gym at the very upmarket Holgates static caravan leisure park at Silverdale. I was supposedly training for my forthcoming GR10 walk (the Pyrenees from Atlantic to Mediterranean).

Working on a rowing machine I started talking to a little guy on the next machine:

"Do you do some running?"

"No, but I've done a lot of climbing and walking"

"Where do you come from?'

"West Yorkshire"

"Were you in the Yorkshire Mountaineering Club?"

"Yes, What's your name?"

"Conrad. Conrad Robinson"

"Bloody hell, stop rowing! Put your hand there mate. It's Pete. Pete Mansbridge!"

And so, not recognising each other we had re-met - the conversation was heard by other gym members creating a major talking point for ages afterwards.

Pete and his wife Liz had a static holiday caravan on the site, but shortly after they bought a house in Arnside and Pete and I have climbed twenty eight Munros together, walked the Lancaster canal and had our Thursday walks now running into hundreds I reckon. I also learned from Pete that another member of the original gang was living in Arnside, Pete Hindle and his wife Linda, and Pete H. joins us from time to time on our walks as he did yesterday on a pleasant road walk starting at Docker with snow covered Lakeland, Shap and Howgill fells in the various backgrounds as our route circled.


The two Petes and Docker viaduct - not far from the Grayrigg derailment disaster in 2007

Distant Whinfell Beacon

Zoom to the Howgills. A bright start had turned into a dull day

Me and Pete somewhere in Wales circa 1960. Pete was renowned for his beret, his long super quality Norwegian stockings and immaculately maintained Italian boots, all contrasting with my generally sloppy appearance.


The Crow said...

The viaduct - is it from the Roman occupation? Is it still used for water transport or has it been put to other work?

To be able to put your hand on something as old as that, to connect by that touch to all those workers some many hundreds, thousands I guess, years ago. Wow, that's pretty cool.

Sir Hugh said...

The Crow - Hi Martha. The aqueduct carries the Peak Forest Canal across the River Goyt at a height of 90 ft. It was constructed between 1795 and 1799, which was the period of canal development in Britain. They were used for transporting goods until railways took over from the 1840s. Commercial use eventually died out in the early 1960s and since then the old "narrow boats" continue to be converted and built for leisure cruising. There is a huge network throughout the UK.

The viaduct in the background carries the railway still in use and was built between 1882 and 1883.

You are quite right - canals were excavated and built by huge numbers of labourers with little else than spades, picks and shovels - they were mainly Irish and were referred to as navvies stemming from the word navigator.

Roderick Robinson said...

On the left side of the home page we have that old New England misanthrope talking about unwanted company (and you presumably agreeing with him) and on the right side accounts of walks with others that have led to sharing and dialogue. Yes, I'm well aware that the GRs and the Munros were serious, perhaps even deadly serious, and extra weight wouldn't have been welcome. But isn't the essence of walking a form of discovery (and re-discovery), something more than repeated physical exertion, and mightn't some of those grim solo passages have benefited from a kindred spirit? You've always concerned yourself with avoiding unnecessary lumber but are you entirely satisfied that your intellectual baggage was sufficient to get the best out of experiences that you hoped - I suppose - might occasionally touch on the sublime.

Here's an analogy. Most fiction writers take the easier option and resort to more than one character. Dialogue is a sprightlier way of getting across events, ideas, characterisation and emotions. There are attractions in writing about singletons but it's a tougher discipline and harder to animate. And this isn't entirely surprising since most fiction reflects aspects of real life. The question arises: which is the more normal state, solitude or in company? To opt for either at the exclusion of the other is to discard a significant part of what it is to be a human being.

No need to re-comment. I'm merely scattering rose-buds and Tone Deaf, on the whole, eschews horticulture.

Gayle said...

I do love the story of how you and Pete re-met each other. I reckon that the vast majority of gym users would have sat on that rowing machine and not said a word to the person next to them - and thus could (to their very great detriment) be missing out on hugely coincidental meetings.

Sir Hugh said...

Gayle - Here is an extract from a recent email I sent to my brother RR:

"...meeting and encouraging conversation with folks met along the way (however unlikely their initial appearance may seem); it is almost a separate hobby for me to unearth interesting discoveries from such encounters."