Friday 6th dawned dreich and miserable with a threat of heavier rain before the day was much older. In fact, the weather was not in a very pleasant mood at all. But we were. It's become traditional for us to begin each birthday with a celebratory run, or even race if there happens to be one on the day, so hell or high water wasn't going to stop us on the occasion of my wonderful partner's 70th.
|A hug for my wonderful birthday girl (Click to enlarge pictures)|
With 153 accumulated years between us, we set off at a rather sedate pace round a 4½ circuit we'd sussed out 5 days earlier - on a sunny day when the temperature was around 70ºF (See my previous blog entry). Shame it wasn't the same for her birthday.
|Enjoying a 70th birthday run.......|
After parking the car at Skirethorns we climbed steeply for 600ft around the lip of Threshfield quarry onto a hilltop overlooking Malham Moor. Not that we could see much of the moor through thickening clag and increasingly heavy rain.
|On the stony track round the quarry|
Over wet grass and rocks we descended carefully down to join the track that links Mastiles Lane with Malham Moor Lane where we turned left at the latter. Sheep grazed with their backs to the wind. Beef cattle, seemingly replete, sheltered under the wall or blocked our gateway until we shoo-ed them away.
|.......and skipping down from the high point to Malham Moor|
From thereon it was a pleasant 1½ miles back to the car, mainly downhill through autumn leaves and russet bracken that lifted our spirits again after the eerie emptyness of the open moor.
|Downhill in the rain - back to the car after 4½ miles|
In the afternoon, before our evening celebrations began, we were joined by an old mountaineering and Munro bagging friend, Dr Stuart Scott who, with his wife Maria, had driven from Crapstone in glorious Devon to join in the fun.
|Dr Stuart Scott - on Angel's Peak, above the Lairig Ghru, during a 38 mile Munro-bagging run in the Cairngorms. We were fit in those dim distant days....|
I hadn't seen Stuart for many years so it was good to chat and reminisce about long days in the hills together - prior to his marriage to Maria in 2002. Sadly, there have been no such days since!
|Yours truly on a run over Ben Hope - looking across to Ben Loyal (Picture courtesy Stuart Scott)|
Stuart is a wonderful photographer whose pictures have graced front covers of climbing magazines, illustrated climbing articles and even placed one of yours truly soloing Tower Gap on Ben Nevis in Ken Wilson's iconic book 'Classic Rock'.
|Winter mountaineering - on a climb over Ben More Assynt and Conival (Picture courtesy Stuart Scott)|
He handed me a bundle of photographs (three of them featured here) he'd taken of me over the years, all taken in Scotland, in all seasons of the year, running the Munros, winter mountaineering in Knoydart and some serious climbing in the Cuillins of Skye.
|On Blaven, Isle of Skye "Just climb down to that chockstone, should make a good shot" he said. (Picture courtesy Stuart Scott)|
Come evening, thirty friends and neighbours gathered with us in Hebden's Old School Tearoom for a convivial get together that went on well into the night. Our thanks to Martyn, Margaret and Ann who served up such a delicious treat, never let our glasses run dry and made it an occasion to remember.
|Quite a few members of the over 70's club at the birthday celebrations|
Most appropriate was a birthday cake shaped like a snowy mountain that had a wee tent with a climber peeping out, and a lady running round the perimeter. Well done to whoever thought of that.
|Some close friends. Lt to Rt - Maralyn, Barbara, Sue, Helen (seated) talking to Margaret|
All in all, it had been a wonderful day and rather different, I'd imagine, to the average person's 70th birthday celebrations.
Roll on her 80th!
STOP PRESS. Four days after her birthday my wonderful partner flew to Australia visiting relatives. An email, four days after her arrival, said she'd just run a Parkrun in Brisbane and set a new LV70 course record. Yay, she's an International star!