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The Undergrounders

By Rich Long

Well, here we go again on another trip to wonderful Yorkshire - and not learning from previous experience I took Zot again!  No, honestly, only joking!

The last time we went it was only Zot, my chum Tommy and myself on the trip and everything was planned to split second military timing.  Unfortunately, when we got to Zot's house, only five minutes after speaking to him on the phone and telling him we were coming, we were greeted by the distinguished Mrs. Harvey who said "Sorry, Chris has just gone to Camerton to water his tomatoes"!

Well, who can argue with that?  It was a great trip though, with the help of the solid and imperturbable Mr.Wilson - who, with whatever Fate throws at him, conquers all (even me and Zotty descending on him asking for a trip).

So this time I used a cunning ploy.  Instead of going on Friday evening we went early on Saturday morning and this time I was late - Zot actually phoned me and wanted to know where I was!

Well: Zot snuggled down in the back of the van and slept like a baby (you know, breaking wind and dribbling) until we almost got to Settle where we stopped for the traditional Lottery ticket purchase, breakfast and a leisurely visit to Alum Pot - then all of the pubs that we could think of in the area.

We had been advised to go to the Gamecock in Austwick by Big Roy - which we duly did.  However, the landlord's manner was very similar to that of Basil Fawlty.  When asked by a chap along the bar from us "Could I order a meal?" he looked up, glanced around the totally empty restaurant and said, "If you haven't reserved I will see if we have a table".

I looked at Zot, then at the tables with serviettes and several sorts of cutlery and said, "I don't think so Chris".  He heartily agreed and we left Basil to his one customer and empty restaurant.

However, it didn't take Chris long to upset a poor little waitress in the Golden Lion who had unfortunately brought him the wrong end of a chicken for his tea.  "I specifically asked for a wing, not a leg. Kindly take it back!"  She did and I am sure that I could hear her sobbing in the back room for hours.  When our food came we quickly checked it for spit and broken glass but none was found and it was excellent.  Next day my party set off for Gaping Gill for a nice trip on the Craven winch meet and Chris jacked up a trip to Swinsto, taking Toby and Guy with him, and I believe a great time was had by all.  I am not saying that they had difficulty gaining access to Swinsto again (perhaps you read the previous article on our Swinsto trip) but I think it was beneficial for all concerned that Mr.Wilson just happened to be passing on his way to the Three Men of Gragareth.  Mr. Harvey, however, vociferously denied being lost, and I believe him - (tee heel).

So, in the evening it was the landlady of the Crown whose turn it was but she won the contest with Zot hands down.  I believe that she has had her sense of humour surgically removed.

In the pub tales were filtering back of the Craven members' outrageous behaviour towards the Ingleborough slug population.  Last year they were competing in the amount of slugs that could be balanced on their heads - I believe that 27 was the winner - and at least the poor little chaps could slither away to enjoy whatever slugs get up to.  This year the Craven had begun to devour the cuddly little creatures between hunks of bread!  Apparently several have been reported seeking asylum in Kosovo. Wow - what seven or eight days on the fell does to people!

So, once again the trip was a great success and we all lived to tell various versions of the same tale - and that is a success in my book.

P.S. Thanks to Estelle for her excellent BB’s (ooh, er) and her editorship of the Belfry Bulletin (!)

A Bounced Czech! Tomas Svoboda e-mailed to say that he is home in the Czech Republic due to a sprained ankle received after jumping down the first waterfall in Claonaite, Sutherland.  He is hoping to arrange a two-week trip back to Mendip, S.Wales and Yorkshire next year along with his fellow club members. He sends his regards to all, especially Roger Haskett, J.Rat, Mike Wilson, Jim Smart, Keith Savory Gary Cullen, Joel Corrigan and little John (who he?).  His Internet address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rich Long and Zot's adventures continue next issue -Ed