However, The Silent Assassin had bigger things on his mind, running the London Marathon, so was yet again absent. Update on how he got on to follow when we have news from the front.
Norbert Slowgrove was also on a big weekend away, thanks to The Sun newspaper's promotion of a two nights in Caister for a mere £8.50 per night per person per night ( Terms and Conditions apply). Free entertainment in the form of a "Best Elvis Impersonator" thrown in too. Too good to turn down. BARGAIN !
Anyway, luckily the re arranged trip coincided with some beautiful spring weather, with mild temperatures and clear blue skies. We stayed at a pub in Grassington, had a few beers in the evening and were up before 7 in the morning, eager for an early start. Only problem was that breakfast was served between 9 and 10. What ! That's halfway through the morning ! So we left without breakfast. Don't worry, said I, we'll have breakfast at a cafe in Conistone, about three miles into our walk.
After a minor detour round Grassington, due to a bit of, erm, careless map reading, we set off north, with the early morning frost being burnt off by the strengthening sun. I insisted on taking loads of photos, which caused much whining and whinging throughout the day from TMM.
It's strange, no matter how many shots I take, I always end of looking like a skinny, rubber faced, middle aged man, which is obviously not what I really am. The camera never lies ? What a load of bollocks !
After about an hour we arrived in Conistone. We saw some blokes getting ready to go canoeing and asked them where the cafe was. "Kettlewell" came the reply. "About 5 miles away". Great. I was bloody starving, so a near black banana about 3 weeks old had to suffice until we reached Kettlewell.
We started climbing a steep, narrow pass, known as Conistone Dib. TMM spotted a dying rabbit, which was twitching and shaking. A man with two small children, about 5 and 8, were behind us, so TMM stood in front of said rabbit and shuffled about, trying to stop the kids catching site of it. It was like a scene from Monty Python. With the man a few yards away, TMM says, in hushed tones, without moving his lips "Dying rabbit....dying rabbit". "What?" the man says. "Dying rabbit, dying rabbit" says TMM. Man looks at him as if he's a lunatic and walks on. One of the kids looks at the animal and just says "Eerrh, look at that rabbit" and walks off unconcerned. That's what happens when an ignorant townie goes to the country.
We reached the top of the pass and carried on over some beautiful rolling countryside, with me pointing out, in my most pompous and condescending manner (I can't help it, it's part of who I am), various different birds and animals. Though to be fair, I was making half of it up, because TMM didn't have a clue. We did, however, spot a Yorkshire Spider Monkey , see photo below.
Eventually, three and a half hours after leaving Grassington, we walked into Kettlewell and sat outside a cafe, ready to tuck into breakfast. I recognised a bloke sitting near us. "That's Bill Webster" I said (OK, I sometimes watch Corrie. Alright ?). "Who?" says TMM. And him being a northerner too.
A local woman pipes up. "Are you Bill Webster ?". "Yes" says.....well, Bill Webster. For those of you not Corrie watchers, I should point out that Bill Webster is TV Dad of Kevin Webster, who, in real life, is facing sexual assault charges. "What's your Kevin been up to? " says the woman. "I've no idea" says Bill. "Well you bloody well should have! " replies the woman. "I blame the the parents ! " she says, seemingly unaware that Bill is merely his fictional Dad.
After breakfast, we headed up towards Whernside, the highest peak in Yorkshire, standing at 2415 feet (I hope you're taking notes). It didn't look far from the village, but it took a good amount of time and effort to get to the top, where it was considerably windier and colder than in the village. Although it was the third week in April there was still a ridge of snow at the top.
Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tensing celebrate at the top of the Everest
We walked along the top of ridge back in the direction of Grassington, over some very rough, boggy ground where my Gore Tex lined waterproof boots proved not to be. The views, though, were truly fantastic and well worth all the effort to get up there in the first place.
We scrambled down a very steep drop onto a firmer footpath and continued without incident, enjoying the sun and talking guff, until we reached Grassington about 9 hours and 19 miles after we first set out.
A great day.