Most of the gathering were veterans of the TGO (The Great outdoors Challenge), an annual backpacking walk across Scotland organised by the TGO magazine - I am sure for those not familiar further details are there on the TGO website.
It would be interesting to count the number of TGO challenges totalled by those present - I reckon some have done more than ten? I wouldn't be surprised if Gayle has a spreadsheet that would provide that information and much more.
I was a bit concerned about giving into persuasion to join up for the next challenge, but I managed to resist - my aged frame is rebelling at crawling in and out of a one man tent and carrying anything more than about 8kg.
We assembled late afternoon on Friday and Martin had provided the most excellent fish pie including generous quantities of scallops, and also superb beef and veggie lasagnes, and we all had a merry evening of lively anecdotes and wide ranging conversation.
On Saturday we had a grand walk covering 13.5 miles according to various bits of tech carried by some who have tired of opening a 1:25 maps in a high wind with the prospect of transforming into a kite-surfer.
There were two highlights. At a campsite we tried to sidle past an unfortunate motorhome driver who was stuck in the mud and attempting to extricate with old sheets of plywood and the like under the wheels. He thought it was his lucky day when he saw a dozen or so able bodied macho walkers arriving, and of course we had to stop and help. Despite lots of conflicting advice, incompetent driving and much pushing we were unable to get the beast back onto the track. The site owner told us all the local tractor folk were away at some auction. We had to march on because carrot cake and tea were waiting at Eastfield Lodge and we had a dinner appointment at Thirteen restaurant that evening.
A bit further on we had to cross a stream - Martin lead the way, but crafty Gayle along with me and two others found a bridge a bit higher up, but poor Graham slipped and fell into the stream - well somebody has to do it.
The meal at Thirteen was excellent and acclaimed by all.
On Sunday a reduced party had another nine mile walk getting back to Eastfield Lodge in time to drive home in daylight - it was the weekend for clocks back for BST.
Many many thanks to Martin and Sue for this superb and brilliantly organised weekend.
|Martin studies his tech. As far as I know we were not actually lost at this point|
|Will it go this way...|
|...or this way? Unfortunately, "no". We went on our way|
|The upper falls at Aysgarth|
|Strange things appeared on our way to the lower falls|
|Lower falls at Aysgarth|
|Martin, a true leader demonstrating by example, leading the way to the river crossing. Unfortunately that was no help to Graham|
|On the Middleham gallops on Sunday. Leyburn/Middleham are centres for racehorse training establishments|
|Middleham Castle dating from 1190|