The Unsuccessful Walk or The Successful Recce…

Saturday was glorious, and that’s glorious by any country’s standards, not just us Brits. This, of course, meant I had a complete fashion meltdown. What on earth was I going to wear in 20+C heat?

I went through a number of outfits getting hotter and sweatier with each one. There was the FCUK striped dress, which I first teamed with leggings, then discarded them and went for a very K-Mid skin-coloured tight look… Abandoning that look sharpish I moved on to a denim shirt dress and realised I’d lost one of the vital buttons so it was a little, shall we say, revealing. Another denim number was veto-ed for being too heavy. I’d made the rookie error of both shaving and moisturising my legs that morning which made skinny jeans IMPOSSIBLE (am I right, ladies?!). Ugh.

The real problem lay with Mr T. You see, not only was he useless at critiquing my fashion choices (every outfit was met with a nod), he’d also failed to decide on what we were actually doing that day (I refuse to accept any responsibility in the making of this decision as I was already flustered). We’d slept in late so it was already 11am, Momma P (hi, Mummy!) had already rung to say the roads were really busy so I was all for throwing in the towel and collapsing, defeated, in the shade somewhere, while simultaneously contemplating emotional sartorial tears and an emigration to permanently cooler climes.

Mr T had other ideas, we – he said – were going to drive out to Osmotherley. Osmotherley? I queried. He’d mentioned this in the past. He said it was a town near Northallerton, and we’d just have a potter around. There was a beck and a reservoir and so on.

Fine, I thought. At least we’ve made a decision, and Google Maps reliably informed me it was only 45 minutes away.

Off we went with a pathetic picnic of sorts – 2 Babybells and 4 satsumas – and I bet you’re all gagging to know what my chosen outfit was: skinny jeans (I was eventually able to hoist them above my moisturised calves. Winning), with a baggy stripey top, and rounded off with gold ballet pumps. Not my best effort, but hey ho.

We drove to Osmotherley, which turned out to be a very small village – incredibly picturesque and boasting not one, not two, but three pubs, but no shops to speak of (which, by the way, I am fine with except I thought that’s what we were going to do – wander around a pretty town and its shops for a day. Not so.). After the obligatory toilet stop, we headed out of the village to Cod Beck Reservoir passing streams of other people with the same idea.

Only a few minutes’ drive, and there we were, and it was lovely – really truly lovely. There was an ice cream van in the small car park (huzzah!) and we walked down to the beck that feeds the reservoir. If the coast is just too far away, this is a very close second. There were families ensconced in tents with picnic rugs laid out, others had their BBQs going, while the kids splashed in the clear beck, built (and destroyed) dams, tried to catch the minnows and generally had the best time.

I was already beginning to regret my outfit choice and told Mr T in no uncertain terms that it was his fault for failing to correct specify the nature of our jaunt. He (wisely) ignored my chagrin and said we’d hop over the beck, and walk around the other side to then climb up a hill to see over the moors. Excellent plan, excepting, the aforementioned ballet pumps which had no sole to speak of, and therefore less grip, the skinny jeans which were so tight that people could see my breakfast, and the slightly soggy ground underfoot.

The first puddle I fell into Mr T tried (and failed) to control his amusement. Right shoe covered in thick black mud, I rinsed it in the beck and put the dripping shoe back on, and then Mr T (a bridge engineer, I hasten to add!) spotted the footbridge that would have saved us all this hassle. Idiot. He placated me with a Babybel. Clever man.

After we’d sat in the sun for a while and let my shoe dry out, we headed up the hill, and guess what? He was right – it was a great view, and well worth the climb (although it would have been substantially easier in trainers. Just saying). Then we headed back across the top (I fell into another puddle and got my other shoe muddy), and ended up at the reservoir itself. Once I’d got out of my minor strop over soggy feet, it was idyllic (Mr T also helped this by buying me an ice cream).

As we sauntered around the edge, Mr T told me a story that a village had been flooded to make way for this dam, and when the water levels are particularly low, the top of a church spire can be seen. Turns out he wasn’t altogether correct about this, but it made for a nice tale.

On our way home, we detoured to Mr T’s childhood home in Northallerton. Momma T fed us, while one of Mr T’s older brother (let’s call him Mr T2), told me an excellent story that in the moors above Osmotherley, on either side, are two great boulders, and legend tells that they were the graves of two giants – Oz and his mother – which became named ‘Oz By his Mother Lies’ – Osmotherley. I’ve got a lot of time for anecdotes like that. A lot of time. Thanks Mr T2.

Mr T and I have decided to come back in a few weeks appropriately attired and actually do the walk we came to do on Saturday. So a successful recce after all, I think we can all agree.


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