Malhamdale 2007

 (Written on the occasion of our first LALG Walking Holiday).  I did the ‘classic walks’,

my wife the ‘easier walking with sightseeing’. The House (a former Yorkshire merchant prince’s home) was impressive, but no time to explore on arrival.  Just time to freshen up and do a bit of unpacking as afternoon tea was at 4:00.  This was followed by a quick tour of the house facilities, the dining room the lounges, the lunch buffet, the pool, the boot room, drying room etc.  We met the staff and our guides for the week, all attentive and helpful.  However it was the spirit of friendliness and companionship of LALG which hooked me and made the rest of the holiday so memorable.  It was truly a house party.  Dinner was impressive for service, quality and generosity.  After dinner, and over coffee, the guides gave us the latest weather forecast and a detailed description of the walks for the following day.  We then adjourned to pencil in our preferred walk and to order our choice of sandwich lunch.  Then to the bar (I had not thought of LALG as drinkers, but I can now believe stories of HF houses having to send out for more beer and wine when ‘LALG were in’.)  Back to the lounge where our guides were supposed to ‘ice break’ and get us to gel as a group.  Totally unnecessary, we were LALG, no ‘ice’ at all (except in the gin); the party went on ‘till late.  A comfy sleep, and up to an excellent breakfast. Then a short coach ride.  The walking had been carefully planned and was enjoyed by all; our briefing had explained exactly what we should expect.  Needless to say our packed lunch was nearly always too big (it is largely self selection) followed by a slightly shorter walk in the afternoon.  Then back to start a similar evening.  The ‘easier’ group did walk a bit but it was mostly National Trust and ‘shopping’ as far as I could make out.  And so on ‘till Wednesday.  We had a day off walking and a pleasant trip on the famous Settle to Carlisle railway for a few hours shopping and sightseeing in Carlisle (about the rainiest two hours we had on the entire holiday).  Then back to the party!  The week just flew.  I can’t wait for next year!