A Grand-tour of Wensleydale by Steve Woods

Parked up and eager to help push the B-Team’s latest master-dig it started to rain. A couple of tourists suddenly appeared climbing into the mini parked next to us to recomencing their picnic. Having not moved from the back of the car and now eating a pork pie I listened intently as up front Richard and Phil debated what to do as the rain cleared and the sun came out again. With Hucky elsewhere and safely out of earshot, Phil announced that we were off for a drive north. Thoughts of endless buckets dissolved into the promise of tea shops and endless jam and scones. Next stop Hawes.

Greeted by glorious sunshine, hordes of fellow tourists and safely parked after a frantic search for a space, I spotted a second hand bookshop and was soon looking for books to compliment my new lifestyle as armchair caver. Just as I spotted a pantone of binding that would nicely compliment a pair of slippers seen in nextdoor’s window, Richard reappeared announcing Phil was bored and had gone to get the car.

Reinstalled in the back again dreams of my new library were soon forgotten as I listened to Phil and Richard play ping pong with a whole lexicon of unfamiliar but exciting sounding possible next options for our all-weather tourer. Richard, satisfied at having assuaged Phil’s fears of carting our heavy caving baggage over a treacherous alpine pass with the promise of a hidden mystical mountain teahaus, proceeded on to entertain us with tales of extraordinary feats of cave rescue in the stunning landscape that unfolded as we continued on our adventure.

Drifting out of hazzy recollections of endless lines of baggage weilding sherpas and warrior monks passing along a mythical long distance trail winding past Richard’s hidden mountain chalou with us sat snugly inside watching through tiny windows sipping tea with coffee and walnut cake, I found myself back in the car looking out on to endless but familiar moorland. Ingleborough appeared out of the mist. In the front Richard pointed out digging conquests as Phil pronounced it to be the most boring landscape he had ever witnessed.

Moorland soon gave way to the gentle rolling hills surrounding the safety of Skipton and before I knew it I was deposited outside my house complete with my pristine digging gear and a few alpine varieties of potted plants that seemed to have mysteriously made their way into the back of Phil’s car near Langcliffe. As they drove off I reflected with fondness the endless supply of rocks thrown at me the last time I spent the day with the B-Team, Hucky reassuringly back in charge mercilessly and repeatedly shouting with glee in the background “bucket!”

Phil in the B-Team Dig, scene of much rock throwing

Ryder, P. (2017), Driving in northern parts: An illustrated instructional guide, Online: Accessed 19 Aug 2017