Friday, 10 August 2012
Rites of Passage on Penyghent
There will now be another one of those brief gaps in blogposts during which me and Dawn will have a bit of a wander around the edges of Shropshire and Radnorshire (aka Powys). I'm all packed, I have a new pocket db radio thingy, some train tickets and 75cl of cheap scotch – all of which means I’m ready.
In the meantime, instead of the usual music video, hear this tale of another Knipe passing his rite of passage on that fine but small Yorkshire mountain, Penyghent.
Some time back in the mid 1950’s my Uncle Eric who was a postman in Earby, took my brother to Penyghent and didn’t take me. I was miffed two knickers about this at the time and my own first ascent didn’t take place till Easter 1964 as part of an Ermysted’s Grammar School (for Boys) Easter holiday at Helwith Bridge. This was a right poor do, as my rucksack somehow rolled down the hill, spilling out all the contents and making me late for the “lunch” we had on the summit. My only surviving meal was a dented tin of spaghetti in tomato sauce and, beiung unable to cook it on the scrappy remains of a pal’s last bit of gutterring hexamine, I chucked the whole lot over the wall and decorated a sheep. I got into trouble for this.
So, it’s maybe a surprise, that I invented this rite of passage for all Knipe children at around the age of six or seven. The rite involves an ascent of Penyghent from Dale Head (the shortest way up), the scoffing of unsuitable and unhealthy food, dangerous scrambling on rough and gritty boulders and more scoff in the Penyghent Cafe afterwards.
I have three grandchildren staying at knipetowers this week. One went to Hadrian’s Wall where ancient drains were investigated and sword fights were had. Another went to the University Hospital of North Durham for a consultation and procedure under general anaesthetic to repair the result of a collision with a knipetowers radiator, and a third, the eldest, know as “Ben” was armed with a rucksack (Aunty Becky’s), some orange juice, a warm jumper and some unsuitable food including crisps and chocolate.
The rite was carried out successfully. It was a nice day. Rocks were scrambled. We ate most of our lunch by the stile at the bottom after marching all of three –quarters of a mile. Advice was given on the crags that were too steep. Rocks were collected and discarded for being much too big. We had a good time. The dawg came too. He likes to make sure that no food litter is left in the grass. He’s very tidy like that. One down, two to go.
I should add that all of my own three children have climbed Penyghent like this. Some have been up more than once. Its likely that a further development in the future might well involve Striding Edge.
Anyway, I’m off to Wales.
Try to amuse yourselves somehow. Quietly. And no nipping each other. I SAID QUIETLY! You do like peas, you’ve eaten peas before…. Now who needs the toilet? No, the cat doesn’t like being stroked like that, that’s why he’s scratched you….. Where’s Tommy?
Sorry…. I’m in the zone….