Society Of Lancaster University Graduate Speleologists

21st – 22nd October

Wye Valley, and Hugh’s 60th Birthday Celebrations

Blimey! Two Sluggy get-togethers in the same weekend! And with a bit of determination a couple of people managed to get to both. Report by John Boardman, poem by Jes

Hugh’s 60th Birthday, 21st October

In sharp contrast to Hugh's previous big Birthdays, his 60th was quite low key. Trying to squeeze it into the same weekend as the pre existing Wye Valley Slugs weekend was going to reduce attendance, but this subtle timing did not deter a sterling effort from some more hardened Slugs. Moreover, some lesser seen Slugs were encouraged to show up at well timed moments to help Hugh enjoy his weekend of steam, beer and good food, courtesy largely of the Worth Valley Railway Steam and Beer Music festival.

On Friday night, Hugh and Lisa were staying in a small holiday cottage in Oxenhope. Kevin and John turned up for a surprise visit to wish Hugh a happy birthday with far too much beer and a curry.

Saturday morning welcomed more surprise visitors, with Jes and his very nice friend Jan arriving just in time for brunch on the platform before grabbing beers and hopping on the steam train special down to Keighley for another beer. There were two special engines on for the weekend running a regular service, so we were soon heading back to Oxenhope clutching another beer and enjoying the smell of steam and smoke in the nostalgic old carriages. The beer buffet carriage was rather full, but we did not care, as you could rent a glass and take it on the train full. In fact you could take it anywhere full or empty; this was a weekend designed and organised by the revellers. The band was in full swing by the time we got back to Oxenhope, and it had started to rain. Everybody wanted to be in the ticket office where there was no beer and no music, but there was a roaring fire. Hey ho, let’s catch a steamer back down to Ingrow for a beer and a different band. It was pouring down by this time and we got soaked just walking down the platform, but it was well worth it because here there was a beer tent and a band tent and the inhouse rail museum. What a great way to have a few beers on your birthday with your mates. Great food at the railway cafe, super photo opportunities of big chuffing locos, a line of at least 50 beer handles to look down, and non-stop bands playing in the engine shed. (Engine shed music is like garage music but much bigger)
It was packed, not just because of Hugh's birthday mind, but this Steam Beer and Music weekend has a large annual following, and it is a rather magical way to just drink beer, chat with your mates and enjoy a different party on every platform. Nice one Hugh.

Wye Valley weekend, 21st – 22nd October

John thought he was being a bit cute escaping after a final pie and peas to join the other Slugs weekend in the Wye Valley. Unbeknown to him, Jes stayed to the very end with Hugh, and hey ho, popped up at the Bracelands Camp site the following morning, just in time to join in a hike in the gorgeous woodland. For those who do not know what the Wye Valley is all about, John has included some photos of the valley taken from the air. You will see what we mean and why we go there.

Attendance prize goes to Jes for attending two Slugs weekends in one weekend and writing a poem before anybody else had gone home. Whew



Waters of the Wye flow west, against the wind to Monmouth
Sue asked George to plot the foot course on the GPS
Pointing from vantage to a crow where the kestrels used to fly
George held Gloucester firmly in his palm
Meg plotted the boundary of Wales to Wye
The hearts for England safe
Elaine danced as a wild pixie under the beech
Wave handing into other peoples photos
The team caught out by the fallen tree growing coins
Surrounded in all sides, Pete made tea in the Meany 3 (his new green tent)
While Meg E-minded us of child psychology
John gave away the mouldy rolls to the swans by the cable punt crossing
Waiting 9 and a half minutes for the showers to arrive
Jes turned up out of the blue and spoke a little to Sue
So the strange circle by the pink then blue route was complete

Jes Peterson

Copyright: Slugs Inc

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