Wednesday, August 13, 1980

Wednesday August 13th

We set off in the car for Reeth after Dad claimed he had seen a ghost. He got up before any of us, about eight o’clock, and said that just as he was coming out of the kitchen after making some tea he saw a small object walk slowly across the floor and behind the settee. From its manner of walk and size, he reckoned it was a cat, but when he searched the area behind the settee he couldn’t find anything. I investigated myself later and discovered that the wall near where the object vanished was hollow so . . . . . . . . ? This set Mum off and she said that several nights previous she had heard the window frames rattling as if someone was walking across the floor and tappings at the window (moths?). Quite weird!

Anyway, we set off in the car and got to Reeth, where we turned left and up a moorland road to Langthwaite in Arkengarthdale. We parked outside the Methodist Chapel there, donned hiking boots and set off for the 4½ miles up Slei Gill and over the moor.

We walked along a narrow muddy lane before emerging on a wide green track which wound its way up through Slei Gill. Here we paused to have dinner and this finished, continued up the valley. Dad and I lagged behind, looking under stones at various ants’ nests. There seemed to be two varieties, smallish, red coloured ants which lived on the flat, drier areas, and larger, quicker moving black ants which inhabited damp slopes. In both varieties’ nests were many winged males.

On we strode until a fork in the Gill, we followed the middle tributary and then up over the moor, through heather and bracken. We were looking for a tractor track which headed across the moor to Langthwaite, but unfortunately couldn’t. My leg started aching, I was too warm and everyone was irritable. The mist started closing down too, and when we had found the track and had struck across the moor it became quite thick (> 100 yds).

Soon we were lost again – a wall in a gulley we were supposed to follow down the hillside appeared to be non-existent and after blundering around, retracing our steps and generally acting pathetically we found the wall and got down the hillside. Mum nearly cried when we got lost Dad said – she was terrified of becoming lost in the mist and sinking in a marsh. Some women are so irrational they make me sick.

After reaching the right route again we followed the path down through a wood and back into Langthwaite. Total distance – 5 miles.

After we had changed, we set off towards Tan Hill and the Inn, England’s highest pub’ at 1,732 feet above mean sea level. The weather over the top was abysmal; strong winds, rain and thick mist – why any sane person would want to live at Tan Hill I don’t know.

We missed the turning off for Keld and had to drive twenty miles out of our way, through Durham and parts of Cumbria (Kirkby Stephen) and eventually back down to Keld. The weather was crummy – rain etc., all the way back and I felt irritable, annoyed and just generally sickened off. Mum was in a mood and I felt pretty low. A washout day. The only decent thing was Athletic’s result in the Yorkshire Cup, first round, second leg – a 1-1 draw at Easterby, thus ensuring a 2-1 aggregate victory over Purswell.

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