Saturday, July 5, 1980

Friday July 4th

I didn’t take my rucksack as planned – I left it at home and decided to come home at 1.30 to collect it. The first lesson was a deadly boring talk about some new courses at Farnshaw College on Law or Accounting. We had to listen to one bloke rabbiting on for an hour about the two above and I imagine everyone was as fed up as I was.

I then had to wait till 1125 while Group A had their UI talk. At the appointed time Group B trooped down to the F. E. Lounge where Miss Cunningham gave us the most informative talk yet. She was supposed to speak about Personnel problems etc., generally – this she didn’t do, speaking only about her own particular firm, “Thompson Packaging” where she is the Personnel Manager. Although what she said was not in our booklets, she spoke to us in a more down-to-earth manner. Perhaps it was because she was comparatively young – she realised better how to communicate with us.

I had a dinner (unusually for me) and then, at about one, I went home for my rucksack. I got back at about a quarter-to-two and sat in the Common Room feeling anxious. I really regretted my decision.

At two-thirty, Wendy Truswell, Robin Quinn and I went down to the minibus (it was parked adjacent to the corridor to the Maths block). Susan Mathers and Mr. Armitage were already there and we helped load up the ‘bus, listening to the tennis on Mathers’s trannie.

Adrian Westcott arrived shortly after. He had forgotten about the trip and had had to go home after the lecture to pack his gear. We sent off about three and went to Egley Middle School to pick up somebody (or ask somebody something – I can’t remember which) and then on to Meakin Court, where a ‘girl’ called Helen (- I think she’s 21 but she seems like a 15-16 year old), was waiting to be picked up.

I felt really homesick. It sounds really corny and insipid I know, but I did. I felt like an outsider among the other six; shy in my conversations with the girls and unable to crack jokes etc. .

After picking Helen up we blasted cross-country (over Green Howe) to Nidderdale. We eventually found a campsite adjacent to How Stean Gorge (“The Little Switzerland of England”!), near Middlesmoor and Lofthouse.

I shared a tent with R. Q. I was glad because I wouldn’t have been able to erect a tent on my own but regretful because it would be hard to fill this diary in. I didn’t want to do it in front of him.

We unpacked all the food. We had brought tons of it (we called round to Wendy Truswell’s grandma’s to take on extra supplies) and soon tea was ready. It was cooked on a little Calor Gas stove by a tumbled down brick-wall near Quinn’s and my tent. It was Spaghetti bolognaise – or spag bol as it was referred to. I found it revolting; the spaghetti was tasteless (and cold) and the bolognaise too spicy and oniony.

I can’t remember exactly what we did to be honest but I do remember that RQ and I went to the Gorge (we climbed over a wall without paying) where we looked for caves mentioned in the “Northern Caves” book. We found How Stean Tunnel and crawled part the way in until the crawl ended in a 5-10 foot drop into a stream.

We went back and told the others and we all trekked off to explore the Gorge.

Unfortunately we got caught by the ticket man as we walked past his house. He was a whining sort of bloke and he half-seriously threatened us with the dogs if we tried to get in illegally. We ended up going round the Gorge – a dark, gloomy green place – and through Tom Taylor’s Cave where Robin and I had gone earlier. After this we went down to the stream/river where Westcott, Quinn and Armitage went climbing around. I wasn’t too sure on my feet although eventually I followed them when they went upstream. I am really pathetic at things like that and I was terrified of falling on slippery rocks – I must’ve looked a real nancy.

We went back to the ‘bus and then later on Armitage, Mathers and Truswell played guitars and sang until we all turned in at approximately midnight.

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