Shortly after we moved to Brambles Farm, I became friends with Brian Gamble from across the road and his friend Wally Granger from around the corner. The Grangers had one of the first TVs in the street. They also had a huge portable magnifying glass on a stand that sat in front to enlarge the image!

Brian, Wally and I went hiking across the Yorkshire moors and around the Lake District. We stayed in youth hostels or camped. We took Uncle Ronnie’s heavy army bell tent but we didn’t carry it.  We sent it by rail to the next village camping spot and picked it up at the station. The tent had a single pole, was reversible (camouflaged and white), and had an igloo type entrance.

The orienteering skills that I learned held me in good stead for when I later joined the Territorial Army.

Hiking – Ray aged 16

One occasion I recall we had crossed Striding Edge1 on Mount Helvellyn and were making our way down the steep slope. We could see a large group of people far below in the valley. Suddenly we heard the baying of dogs and when we looked up the mountain slope a pack of dogs were heading straight for us! It was too late to escape so we crouched behind a huge rock. The hounds leapt over the rock and careered down the slope. When we recovered and made our way down to the field of activity, we discovered that we had inadvertently crossed a scent trail and the field was full of bookmakers and hound enthusiasts. We must have looked a comical sight through their binoculars.

Striding Edge, Mount Helvellyn, The Lake District

Hound trailing is a race between hounds along an artificially laid scent trail. The sport is a combination of dog racing and steeplechasing, with dogs taking the place of horses. The hounds follow an artificial scent trail laid by dragging a piece of fabric, slightly soaked with a combination of aniseed and paraffin oil along the course. Unlike other forms of hunting, humans don’t follow the hounds. Instead the dogs race around the course unassisted and spectators can observe parts of the race from vantage points through binoculars.

Johnny Ray – ‘Just Walking in the Rain’  1957

Just walking in the rain
Thinking how we met
Knowing things have changed
Somehow I can’t forget

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  1. https://www.ukscrambles.com/lake-district-scrambles/striding-edge/