(Main photo by Phil Ryder – Adele on Moorend track with Kettlewell and the glaciated valley of Upper Wharfedale).
For four years in my teens I played the position of Hooker for my school Rugby Union team, and have suffered from problems with my knees ever since. Although I’m sure 48 years of caving might also have had something to do with it?
A few months back I had another operation on a cartilage on my left knee, which sorted that out but disturbed the osteoarthritis in both my knees, something you suffer from at 66. Despite the efforts of a NHS physio in an hospital gym, I struggled big time to get out to any of our digs. My once rock hard thighs and calves were withering away.
Bless her, Adele offered to drag me out kicking and screaming once a week to try and restore me to my former glory. Adele is a trained nurse so can make sure I am fine and hopefully solve any problems that occur.
So on Thursday 14th November we gathered at the Kettlewell car park. It is bitterly cold and windy. Usually the car park is full but today we are the only cars there. We are joined by Steve Warren, who at 83, still skips round the fells like somebody half his age.
My personal ‘Everest’ today is Moorend, an area of lead mines and shakeholes up a bloody great hill. After a gruelling start I get a spurt on near the destination. We have tea and a pork pie each in a barn, sheltering from the icy blast.
Next off to find Strawberry Pot, an old White Rose dig from 1997. Whilst searching for the hole on the moor tops, the wind is so strong it is threatening to blow me over, even with the stabilisation of two walking poles. Me and Adele start making our way back.
Steve found the large shakehole of course, as shown in the photo and his GPS printout.
It was a bit of a struggle for me to get downhill but I had two friends to help. Once back at the car park I was beaming from ear to ear at having achieved something.
So this pensioner once more gets to see the wonders of Upper Wharfedale, in the company of a beautiful nurse and my best friend Steve. Thank you both of you!!