Edale from Hollins Cross.
There is a secret green dale in the heart of the Pennines, nestled between the Kinder Plateau and Hope Valley. It is called Edale. Around three hundred people live there. In medieval times it was a royal cattle ranch where cows grew fat on its rich pastures. Nowadays it is popular with walkers, day trippers and mountain bikers.
There is a hostel in Edale called Champion House. I first went there twenty years ago with a school party. I returned on Wednesday with thirty six fourteen year olds and spent another three days indulging in "outdoor education".
Last night I was dog tired when I went to my little room at half past one in the morning, leaving the four other teachers to continue rabbiting whilst quaffing Sauvignon Blanc. I was the leader of the expedition so I was a bit peeved to discover that at three in the morning these selfsame "colleagues" had taken it into their heads to prowl round the perimeter of the hostel with a sweeping brush, giggling while they scraped it against the dorm windows and made ghostly noises in order to spook our young charges.
How embarraassing when Adrian - who is the local vicar and warden of Champion House told me that his sleep in the neighbouring vicarage had been disturbed by late night shenanigans. I couldn't bring myself to tell him that it wasn't the kids - it was the bloody staff! One of these late night rural revellers added to the original stupidity by putting frozen sausages in some of the kids' bags. When the "joke" was discovered, a gang of the fourteen year old victims grabbed their tormentor and covered his hair with shampoo. This chap is our wonderful and innovative new Head of Humanities - after a mere three years of teaching! Sorry to say it but he proved to me that he is little more than a kid himself. I am no sergeant major or killjoy. I wanted our urban youngsters to have a lovely time at the end of a long school year but disturbing them in the middle of the night and playing stupid practical jokes on them whilst inebriated was never meant to be part of it all.
I walked along with this young guy on Thursday asking numerous questions about his university days in Durham and his travelling experiences. In return, I got not one single question - even though my educational achievements happen to have been far greater than his and my travelling experiences have been far more numerous and more widespread than his. He just didn't want to know. I have met lots of people like that where I do all the running and the giving and they give nothing back. It'slike a game of table tennis in which the ball only bounces on one side of the net.
Most of the kids we took to Edale were really nice. They got on well together and showed some manners to the staff. When cleaning up the hostel ready for departure, they all muscled in. I had lots of laughs and it was great to be away from my workplace - the Monty Python Academy for young ladies and gentlemen where we are currently "decanting" ready to move into the new school. In other words, filling boxes and chucking out stuff we don't need. Pure chaos.
Entrance to Peak Cavern (The Devil's Arse), Castleton.