There and Back

After concluding what has been the busiest and most intense week of my life in at least a couple of years I can relax, put my feet up and contemplate looming unemployment.

From Sunday of last week till Thursday we were filming, not that I was involved too heavily on the technical aspects of the shoot since there were still phone calls to be made, extras to be found, weather forecasts to be blamed for and genios to be … er … genio’d (!) … (sorry! still none the wiser about what one of those is)

It was a great shoot – not that there weren’t any problems – but it’s all ‘in the can’ as the say and apart from some admin details ‘my job there is done’.

So, I packed my rucksack, put on my weather-proofs, donned my hiking boots and headed up to the Yorkshire Dales with a couple of old college friends. We made base camp at a site near the village of Malham just a few hundred metres away from Gordale Scar and had a barbecue to help us recover from the exertion of putting up the tents.

The next day, we woke up to the bleating of sheep, the quacking of ducks, the lowing of cows and assorted pandamonium that scared the bejesus out of me. Well, you don’t expect that kind of thing first thing in the morning when you’ve lived most of your life in inner city Brum. Maybe the odd police siren wailing, cars smacking into lamposts or guns going off but not living things munching grass and pooing and doing weird natural stuff like that. In order to recover from the trauma of this rude awakening we had to have a breakfast befitting men who are about to embark upon a rollocking great adventure.

Anyway, by the time we finished our toast, tea, egg and veggie sausage breakfast it was time for lunch – it’s strange isn’t it how eating outdoors gives you a bigger appetite than usual. So after we had finished lunch, (consisting of Lamb Biriyani and Sheesh Keebabs with mint yoghurt dressing), we did a recce of our intended hike. We walked up to Gordale Scar, nearly 300 metres away, had a look and then came back to camp. We were now prepared for the assualt of the precarious left hand route of the 200 metre scramble – we decided to do it the very next day since it was nearly time for dinner – well, we still had some of the biriyani left and it would have been a shame to waste any food.

The next morning we awoke, resolved to tackle the scar and then to go beyond that to the dizzying heights of Malham Cove but first we had some breakfast. Actually, we’d woken up a bit late so Breakfast turned into Lunch which was just as well since we needed all that energy that afternoon as we strode manfully to Gordale Scar and practically bounded up it’s steep rocky slopes. Okay, perhaps I overstate things when I say bound … perhaps it was more like a terrified scramble holding onto the rocks with a grip that would put a limpet to shame. Nevertheless, I did it and the others only had to wait half an hour as I whimpered up towards them.

The rest as they say was plain sailing. In fact, I was so relaxed as we hiked across Malhamdale that I put my MiniDisc player on and listened to a bit of Nithin Sawhney as I wandered through the desolate beauty. Though looking over the edge of Malham Cove while the singer was urging me to “just let go” was a bit discomforting.

So, nearly an entire three hours after we had embarked upon our epic journey we wandered back towards base camp and a well deserved dinner. After expending so much energy we had to replenish our bodies with Lamb chops marinated in fresh lemon and salt and a few dozen pieces of Chicken marinated in a blend of exotic herbs and spices. We had finished the Biriyani by now so had to settle for eating the Lamb and Chicken with naan bread instead.

We broke camp this morning but not before finishing off the last dozen pieces of the Chicken and a Lamb Gosht Karahi cooked with peppers eaten with naan.

You know what I love most about these hiking breaks? It’s such a great way of keeping fit.

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