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Ancient Feet: 64 - Great Fryup Dale

Alan Nolan, continuing his laugh-out-loud account of a long, long walk with his mates, brings a new account of the naming of geographic names.

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Monday morning broke and, although Don was still very shaken, at least he knew that he had not been in danger after all. It was hard for the rest of us not to laugh, but we knew how badly he had been affected and how embarrassment would now be increasing his discomfort. With only two days and twenty-nine miles to journeys end, all five of us set off on the walk to Grosmont. This was an easy walk of twelve and a half miles heading north for about a mile along the road before crossing the moors.

The next couple of hours provided wonderful walking along the high moors with a view of the peak of Roseberry Topping, ten miles to the north west, and with magnificent views into Great Fryup Dale (yes really) down to our left.

Our old friends, Arnold and Ernie, must have had a period of secondment at the local Highways Department.

'What have they got for us today, Ernie?'

'T'Ordnance Survey want some names to put on t'ordnance survey maps. Some of th'ills and dales on th'old maps don't have names on 'em.'

'Let's have a look.'

'There's this dale 'ere,' Ernie said, pointing at the map.

'Well, does it 'ave a name?' asked Arnold.

'I don't know, but we can make one up. No-one will know any better.'

'Aye, except folk what live there, but they'll never find out 'cos they don't need to look at t'map. In't that where we went camping that time and it poured down all neet and all our gear got drenched?'

'That's reet. An' t'farmers wife made us breakfast. It were a great fryup. There was bacon, egg, beans and potatoes.'

'That's it.That's what we'll call it.'

'Don't be daft. No one will believe it's called Bacon, Egg, Beans and Potato Dale.'

'No, stupid. We'll call it Great Fryup Dale.'

'Good idea. What's next then?'

'There's this 'ill up 'ere, you know the one what's a funny shape.'

'You mean the one what looks like those cakes in Mrs Sidebottom's cake shop? You know, she calls them Strawberry Toppings. That's a thought we could call it Strawberry Topping.'

'That doesn't sound reet. You can't have a 'ill named after a cake.'

'Why not, if you're naming a dale after a breakfast?'

'I know. Why don't we name it after Rose Berry, you've always fancied her? If we name it Roseberry Topping, it'll put her name on t'map forever and you might stand a chance.'

'Sounds good to me.'

We had left the Lion at half past eight, which meant Paul had not been able to make his important phone call before we set off. He had decided to leave the call until ten, hoping that the results would be available and that he would be able to speak to the Consultant. Once again, we had established a lead on the others and I gave him some space when he made the call, standing perhaps fifty yards away. The call seemed to take an age and, as he had his back to me, I had no indication of how he was taking the news. Eventually, I saw him fold his phone away and he turned slowly towards me. His face gave nothing away and I feared the worst as he meandered in my direction.

As he approached, I detected tears in his eyes; were they tears of devastation or of relief? Could they be tears of frustration, if the results were still unavailable? At last, a broad grin spread across his face the lump was benign. Thank God. "We hugged each other, but only for a moment, as befits grown men. A great surge of relief passed through me, and it wasn't me who had the lump! We walked on with a spring in our steps.


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