What connects a lace fly, a best beard claim and Buffalo tops? It can only be a conversation during a DPFR Wednesday night Warts' outing. Include also a claim that ladders in trains are for accessing the air shaft escape route in the Cowburn tunnel and the presence of a fully certified train signaller and we have the makings of a classic evening out. The plan was for the Warts to catch the train, which was late, to Chinley from various stations en-route, Sheffield, Dore, Bamford and Edale. Some joined at Sheffield, about ten at Dore. From Bamford station, the Cap'n encouraged us to warm up by running the length of the train. John, Pete and Penny drove to Edale station to have a rescue car there in case things went horribly wrong in our attempt to get back to Edale in time to catch the return train.
On board the train, the conductor was a tad overwhelmed by so many people in strange clothes wearing head torches and going to Chinley (why Chinley?) particularly when Fi's description of what we were planning to do was met with some disbelief. "Oh well," Fi admitted to him, "it is a bit of a niche sport". From the station, Penny took us off at speed through the streets of Chinley (road runners!) to the river. I think we passed the sewage works before going under a very impressive rail viaduct. As in most Warts' outings, two groups emerged as we went through Wash so Rob C took charge of the fast group of about six (?) and Pete G and Bob B guided the more leisurely section. Having got us successfully through the Chinley complex, Penny had by now relinquished her guiding duties. As we headed out to open country via Malcoff, various head torch lights could be seen, the fast lot perhaps or, as it turned out, some cyclists. At this point, we began to worry about Steve M who was supposed to join us at Chinley but hadn't yet been seen. Because time was becoming critical (we might miss a pint in Edale), we pressed on directly towards Chapel Gate, when a lone torch light appeared out of the darkness. Thankfully, it was Steve.
At Chapel Gate, the pattern of splitting into further groups continued with Bob, Clive and Fi legging it down the track and the rest of us trotting to Edale, some via a path and some on more road (!). The faster ones managed to get their pints (the early Wart catches the pint), and a couple of us just made the station in time. All gathered to catch the 9.29 train back and with most Warts thoroughly refreshed, the conversation ranged far and wide. Lace flies trapped in the carriage ceiling lights reminded Clive of a time when he bought some to deal with apple tree pests but they hatched prematurely and filled his bedroom! Tim H suggested that Mick M should enter the best beard in DPFR competition whilst the preponderance of sweaty Buffalo tops (Mark H, Rob, and GB) was thought to cause all the condensation in the train. Noticeably, there was a ladder strapped inside the train. What was it for? The beer fuelled speculation concluded it was for escaping from the Cowburn tunnel. Tom's certified hand signalling skills at halting trains could be useful to set up a trial to test this theory, perhaps. Ah……………..the joy and stimulation of rail travel! There was a late call for more refreshment at The Tap at Sheffield station but I've no idea what further enlightened conversations happened there. So here's to the next train outing……..in the summer?