After a brief visit on Friday, I returned to Stanhope saturday afternoon – a bit late due to a sofa/shed/van mismatch incident (the van failed to turn up to shift these things) – and put up one of the Millets’s tents.
I had a look around the bikes and the tents and the various displays and manfully restrained myself from buying anything. I met Weird Darren (Whitespider) Christie in the tea shop and had little chats with some of the authors signing their books in there.
And so, it came to AGM time, which was held in the Town Hall in Stanhope. There was scoff, and a small and rebellious stampede was started by somebody or other (koff) when the chips arrived but the Committee were still deliberating whatever it was the Committee had to deliver. The Town Hall bar was not functioning, so raids were made on the Bonny Moor Hen and the Co-op booze shelves, which started to look a bit bare by about seven o’clock.
Later, John Manning gave a talk about Trail Angels and Trail magic happening during his PCT walk, and Danny Bent entertained with a talk about his cycle ride to India (described in his book “You’ve Gone Too Far This Time, Sir.” All good stuff.
A bit more later, refreshments were taken in the Grey Bull and even laterer, successful but fairly tentative crossings of the River Wear were made using the stepping stones by the ford.
It rained all night. The tent rejected all of the moisture, which was lucky.
In the morning, I met Doug Moffat and David Butler by the fossil tree and ten walkers, including Cameron and Gina McNeish followed me around the now over-familiar walk up through Stanhope Dene and back through (no giggling) Shittlehope Dene. It were right windy, but the Parkhead Station cafe sold us teas and coffees and bacon and mushroom butties, so it was OK.
After, there was a short period of celebration in the Bonny Moor Hen. Again.
So it was all quite jolly.
The Outdoor Weekend seemed to go well, apart from the overnight rain. Attendance seemed quite brisk and there was a fair bunch of backpackers at the camp and at the AGM.
Stanhope seems quite a good place for this kind of thing – the Showfield is massive, and the town centre shops and pubs are fairly handy. The people are friendly and the countryside is Pennine (which is what I quite like, really…)