The Prescotian Webzine

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As part of the 'A' level Geography syllabus, the Lower Sixth of 1969 of the Boys School set off by train to Scarborough from Lime Street Station. Ahead of them lay five full days of geographical enlightenment supplied by Messrs. Swain and Mountford.
We arrived that Saturday in early April to be billeted at the Green Gables Family Hotel, quite a way out of the town. After our evening meal and first debriefing, many of the lads set off for the beach area to test out the local brews. My group consisting of note worthies such as Colin Crabb and Andy Barton finished up in a prom side pub called the Golden Ball. Too many of us obviously had too much for the Masters’ liking, because the following evening we were all grounded.  
  So, on the Sunday, we set out for the Forge Valley around the hamlet of Hackness. Dougie and Monty prattled on about glacial erosion and melt water and glacial lakes while we looked longingly at the Hackness Hotel in the near distance. We were like lads on heat, not for females but alcohol!

Back in the hotel, dinner and debriefing and then grounded in the hotel, reading, writing up diaries, table tennis and cards [the game of the day being the romantically named 'Scab’, better known as Hearts on computer].

However, one tall, handsome, blond hero sneaked out the games room window and brought back alcohol from the nearest alehouse. Now, this bit hurts. In the morning, I was rumbled! Doug and Monty demanded to see me, saying that a lad with my description had been abusive and offensive while ordering drink from the Off-Licence door. I was in big trouble. I professed my guilt at being the sloper-out but to this day I maintain that I was not abusive and offensive. I still suspect that someone ratted on me but for what reason.

Monday was a tense day for me especially. I felt really angry that the two masters would believe that I had been so offensive. There I was, under-age, trying to purchase a huge amount of drink, surely such behaviour would have merited failure! I remember visiting a quarry somewhere and getting dirty looks from Doug and Monty. That evening, I decided to go and apologise for breaking the curfew but still maintained my innocence of offensive behaviour. Doug and Monty accepted my apology and suddenly the air cleared between us all.

Tuesday, was spent walking all over the Wolds and finally by coach to Flamborough Head. We saw the stunning cliff line, talked about coastal erosion and the like. Meanwhile, back at the Green Gables one of the waitresses, blond and good looking was causing the sap to rise amongst the lads. In the end, she settled for Tony Stein, which was not a bad choice for her but an excellent one for the lads. You see, Tony had a girlfriend at home to whom, he readily told everyone, he was devoted. This was a red rag to a bull. The poor waitress had to run the gauntlet of caustic remarks as she served up the soup and stuff.  

Wednesday was the special group research day. In groups of three, we were dropped off by coach at various villages and hamlets along the southern side of the Vale of Pickering. Our mission was to traverse the Vale to be picked up late afternoon on the northern side. Oh and we had to carry out a land use transect as we walked across.

  Colin, Andy and I were dropped off at West Heslerton Church aiming for Snainton to the north. Well, we traversed the Vale in minimal time and at one o’clock, we were happily ensconced in the peacock at Snainton, some three hours early. The long and short of it was that two local farmers asked us what we were doing… and they gave us more than we would ever need to know about drainage, soils, land use and more, which we eagerly recorded between mouthfuls of the local brew. When the coach picked us up, we had definitely peaked for the day.

That evening, dinner came and went, the waitress by now steeled to the barbs of jealous and lustful seventeen year olds. Debriefing time and each group gave its fifteen-minute account. The star groups were good as usual, the lesser groups were lesser as usual and the Crabb, Barton, Powell group was far from dire as usual! We wowed Dougie and Monty. They were gob smacked at the depth of our research, knowledge and understanding. However, in time-honoured convention, we did not reveal our sources.

Thursday, and our last day was spent walking the old Scarborough to Whitby railway bed, affording us stunning views of sandstone cliffs and the like!

The evening was all ours after a very short debriefing. Most of us decamped to the Commercial Inn down the road, We watched as Rodney Canning drank himself under the table on ‘cider-and-bitter, as we seemed to constantly have ‘I Heard it through the Grapevine’ blasting out on the jukebox. Meanwhile, Tony was on a date with the waitress. I wish I could remember her name!

Next day, packed and off back to Lime Street and the moment of truth looming for poor Tony Stein. We could not contain ourselves. Tony remained cool and defiant, as he knew his girlfriend would understand but the mask began to slip as we approached Huyton and then Edge Hill. As we entered the tunnels, he was visibly concerned until Pete Snowden summed up the holiday romance as being of no consequence to him by the poetic ‘I don’t care anyway, it just proves they both had s**t in their eyes’. After that there was nothing more to be said!

Footnotes: The Golden Ball and the Green Gables Hotel still exist today. The Golden Ball is the start of the Scarborough Ghost Walk.


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