October 20th:

Most people arrived at Clapham at the allotted time of 9.15 after early starts. (Note: there is plenty of roadside parking instead of the pay and display car park). It was raining to start with, indeed the day’s forecast was of heavy showers. However, it cleared sufficiently for the walkers to help carry the cavers gear the long slog up to Gaping Ghyll, arriving about 11 am. The two entrances having been located by the cavers, the walkers left them to it, and began a slow ascent of Ingleborough to the cloud line. John, whose initial intention was to walk as far as the cavers destination because distant Ingleborough somehow resembled a cloud capped Kilimanjaro, was encouraged to continue and indeed he completed the round and put on a brave face though had sore feet. Leader Laura, was trying out her new managerial role and drifted to the back of the party claiming this would encourage members upwards into the mist. Others were uncertain about this new role, but it later turned out obvious why: she did not want to be crushed by the falling bodies of the elderly members. The Hon Treasurer wobbled a few times but peaked when he did a parachute roll the SAS would have been proud off, whilst the Hut Warden’s fall was so dramatic that he ripped his over trousers. The others stayed upright on the slippery, wet limestone pavements, but once again the question arises: Is walking now more dangerous than caving? Perhaps the Hon Treasurer ought to conduct a long term survey to establish if there is any truth in this. We await his future results…

From Ingleborough we took the path below Simons Fell, and arriving out of the cloud, managed to see where we were going. Down to some magnificent limestone pavements, then a sharp right amongst more dramatic scenery to a descent to Clapham, when the heavens opened assuring we were soaking wet on our arrival. Tea and creamed scones followed, courtesy of the Treasurer and Hut Warden, then a mass exodus to the Marton Arms in Thornton in Lonsdale, apart from John and Geoff who elected to wait for the cavers as there was a total of one brother and three sons due (Syd and Ian were ignored). The cavers arrived at 6, chuffed and tired just as the sun was setting, and on arrival at the pub, many of the trip’s stories retold.