Restrictions are easing a bit here in England so sometime last week my husband Nathan made a plan for us to meet up with our friend Bob from The Haunted Generation. I wasn’t involved with the making of said plan, it was simply one of those ‘this is happening, are you up for it’ things. A walk up on the North York Moors? Well my default answer to that is always going to be a yes, but there was a potential problem.
Last weekend I had done a five mile walk on the flat and come back in a bad way. Existing issues on top of a year of not moving around very much at all, just about finished me off! I couldn’t move when we got home and two days later I could still only manage a short walk with a stick. I didn’t fancy my chances hiking up hill and down dale so I made the decision not to go. I really couldn’t face the thought of holding everyone else back or ruining the trip in some way. And then I changed my mind. Several times over the course of the week in fact. At the eleventh hour I made the decision to go and frantically threw some supplies into a backpack.
Dosed up on painkillers, I laced up my boots, grabbed my walking stick and we headed for the hills, my mentioning of the yellow snow warning seemingly falling on deaf ears.
On the drive over I could see that the tops of the hills had a covering of snow and briefly thought of that yellow warning. Oh well, I thought, can’t cancel now, I’m in too deep and besides the sun was actually shining and this trip was important. The first flakes started to fall as we parked up.
Bob, Nathan, myself and Megan the Border Collie set off, our destination clearly visible high up on the moor. We had begun our sacred pilgrimage to worship the god of all pre-digital broadcasting in the North East, the Bilsdale Transmitter.
Our outbound walk went okay considering I almost gave up on the ascent. The mast seemed further away every time I looked at it but at least the weather was now behaving itself. I looked at 14 year old Megan, an old lady by comparison and I thought, if she can do it then I can, ignoring the fact that four legs and a daily walk probably puts her at an advantage over me. We picked up pace a bit once we were up on the top and it was soon time for the flasks and sausage rolls to come out which meant I was suddenly Megan’s best friend!
We hung about by the mast for a bit and talked about ’70s dinner sets and ’70s sitcoms while I admired Bob’s unmistakably ’70s Thermos flask.
To give you an idea of scale, those are buildings you can see at the base of the mast where we sat for our picnic. It’s so tall, it has become an iconic landmark, it’s red beacon light hovering eerily above the dark hills at night.
The walk back was when things started to go less smoothly. It began with me leaving my stick where we’d stopped and Nathan went back for it while Bob and I stood waiting on the track. In hindsight, I should have gone back for it myself and kept my circulation going because a few hundred yards on, I got a Raynaud’s attack in both hands. It was about the same time we realised there was some serious weather heading straight for us so it was no bad thing that my solution to the circulation problem was to move faster! My hands came back to life and we made good progress, arriving at the top of the route down just as the snow started falling.
As we made our way down, the flakes seemed to get bigger and bigger until they were settling on everything, including us. By the time we got back to the cars it was a white out, the Bilsdale Transmitter lost in another world.