Preamble and Prologue:
Contrary to the popular belief of my friends and cronies, I do not spend all my time vegetating in front of a book somewhere, with a pipe clenched between my teeth drinking too much (though this is a frequent occurrence), or hiding in the cool, darkened precincts of a sacristy, gently handling antique lace and silk (it would be nice if this were more frequent), or indeed staggering about the place in evening dress, wondering where the Drones club is. I do in fact enjoy some forms of gentle exercise. One thing I enjoy very much is long distance walking- I go on a walking pilgrimage, organised by the admirable Dominican Sisters of St. Joseph in the New Forest, to Walsingham every year (not from the New Forest though- usually from Ely).
It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Fr. Paul, the curate, put a note in the parish newsletter (or pewsheet as I insist on calling it, much to my PP’s confusion) saying that he, and one of our parishioners, who had some experience in the field, were organising an attempt on the three peaks to raise money for the parish’s restoration fund. All well and good. A good idea, though I, after all, I enjoy walking, as I mentioned above, and it was in a good cause, and I’d always fancied a stab at the three peaks, as most of my experience of walking had been on the flat, so some hill walking would be a nice change; so I duly signed up, in my blissful ignorance, and went along to the meeting, collected my sponsor form, then collected my sponsors.
Now, people said it was tough, but I thought “Pshah!”, as is my wont; people say that about lots of things, and it’s never that bad. I was entertaining visions of gentle to steep, well laid out paths; a challenge, maybe, but nothing too taxing. Nothing that would leave my legs sore for three days afterwards, surely?
I was Wrong; dear me, was I wrong.
Anyway, let us begin our tale at the beginning...
to be continued