Written by: Eammon Andrews and Michael Knights
Eammon Andrews wrote “I was just about to go through my bag of Europatrol stuff and found an old diary of mine from 1975 which includes our Aysgarth expedition”.
Michael Knights contacted Kevin Knights and Stewart Cousins and put together some additional memories in red.
We hired a 14 seat Austin J2 minibus (flat out 50mph on the level, a bit more downhill and, after a gear change or two, a lot less uphill!) from Eye Service Station who were supporters of Scouting.
A minimum age of twelve and a half applied for the expedition (Scout age was then ten and a half to sixteen).
There were 14 of us.
Stewart Cousins (Skip) and his sister Alison
Michael Knights (20), Kevin Knights (18), Eammon Andrews (16) and Richard Frost (16) formed a “senior Patrol” and travelled up there (and back) in Michael’s mini.
Stewart and Alison and 8 Scouts in two Patrols with the kit in the minibus. On the way up the Mini left first with an arrangement to meet in a particular carpark at Peterborough, after a long wait, and an enquiry from a patrolling Policeman as to what 4 lads were doing hanging about in a carpark at well past midnight on a Monday, easily resolved as we were in uniform, we continued on our way joining the A1 there.
The accommodation was the former school in Aysgarth, at the time being used by Scouts, it has been a house for many years now. Stewart and Alison had side rooms, the three Patrols all slept in the main hall.
We bought milk from a nearby dairy farm every day.
Each Patrol took it in turns to do the shopping and cooking.
The diary reads like this:
Monday 11th August
Went to work, begun harvest. Got things ready for scout summer camp in Yorkshire. Left Fress. in Mike Knights's mini and most people went by minibus. Left at 10.30 pm.
Tuesday 12th August
Travelled through night up A1 The A1 was very different then, dual carriageway but with roundabouts every few miles and lots of town and village bypasses, we stopped once, maybe twice, at a transport café and got to Aysgarth Scout Hall before 6 am. We had a wander round the village before many people were around and waited well over an hour for the minibus and breakfast, had a sleep on the concrete path! Went to River Ure nearby and swam near waterfalls. Aysgarth is in York Dales (Wensleydale).
Wednesday 13th August
Went to Alum Pot and Ingleborough caves, and Malham Cove. When we got back we were peeling potatoes when the Scout Hall got struck by lightning. The electricity went out. Richard, Mike and Kevin got a shock from the draining board.
Thursday 14th August
Went to Whernside and climbed to a pile of stones on top of one of the hills. We tied a dead sheep's head to the van roof rack. Well, more a skull than a head. Kevin named it Yorick and it stayed tied to the minibus for the rest of the camp.
Friday 15th August
Went to Harrogate and had dinner. Went to Knaresborough and Brimham Rocks. At night Skip sent us on a loony walk in the rain so we got soaked. Had a shoe fight in bed.
Saturday 16th August
Played cricket outside the hall in morning. Went to Northallerton after dinner and bought a yellow cagoule in the Army and Navy Stores. Played cricket on car park in N York Moors near Rievaulx Abbey. This may have been the trip out where, on the way out, we saw some Scouts setting up camp in a field so decided to call in on the way back in the hope of getting a cup of tea. When we stopped on the way back the Scouts talked together and the leaders had a chat. There was a bit of a panic when it turned out that the contents of the catering tin that they were about to cook for dinner and that they thought contained minced meat actually contained mincemeat! We didn’t get any refreshments.
Sunday 17th August
Played cricket in hall yard in morning. Maybe this was the cricket session where Richard hit a ball through the Hall window, Skip took a “you broke and you are old enough to sort it so you can mend it attitude” and left him to buy a pane of glass and tub of putty in Leyburn and Michael helped him fit it. Went to Hardraw falls after dinner. Kevin Knights and me had a pancake race around the hall. Pancakes were often on the menu.
Monday 18th August
Went in minibus to York. Went up tower, under the Minster and walked round the city wall. Went in Castle Museum. No idea what the other Patrols did. We went round York in groups, 2 groups of Scouts, our senior Patrol and Stewart and Alison. Amazingly everyone was back at the minibus on time. At night we walked to Aysgarth Lower Force
Tuesday 19th August
It was raining. We went to Scarborough and it was raining hard there. We went to Pickering steam trains but saw none. This would have been in the very early days of the North York Moors Railway. Shoe fight at night.
Wednesday 20th August
Played cricket outside all morning. Went walking across the Dale to Bolton Castle 4 miles away. At night we had a plimsoll fight. Maybe it was plimsolls as the shoe fights had got dangerous?
Thursday 21st August
Got up early and packed to come home. We arrived home at 7.15 pm. Got my O Level results We travelled together, this time coming down the A1 to Huntingdon and on the new A14 round Cambridge, Newmarket and Bury.
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