9 November 2002

Ullswater: Peter's Father

 I only met Peter's father once or maybe twice during his leaves between ships. He was a WW2 ships captain and most of his time was spent at sea but he did make an impression upon me. I'd never met anyone quite like him before. He was a large bluff man who always spoke in a shout and a roar, he would sing, I think they were sea shanties at the top of his voice and he was completely tuneless. If he did something, he did it now and off he would go in a roar. I think he fascinated me, I'd never seen anyone quite like him.
One day Peter rushed down to our house breathless, "have you heard about my Dad"? Apparently Captain Embley decided to go for a walk up the fell and took Peter, they left about 6.30pm. They went up on to Barton fell and Peter showed him were we played and what we did, they made their way along the bottom of Swarth Fell to Swarth Beck. Peter told him about the old abandoned lead mine shaft part way up Swarth fell on the beck's left-hand side. Captain Embley decided to climb up and have a look, which he did but didn't go inside, the entrance was very low and you had to crawl in, and, it was dirty. It was a good view from up there of the lake and the surrounding farms and Peter said his father decided to climb higher and get a better view of where they lived.

Captain Embley climbed up telling Peter to stay where he was, going up alongside the beck was very, very steep with rocks and tussocks of grass, almost vertical in places, the beck coming down in mini waterfalls. He was halfway up Swarth Fell I suppose and the veiw was terriffic. When he decided to come down, he couldn't, it was too steep. Easy going up but it is always harder coming down. He tried and tried to work his way down, Peter said But he could not make it.
He told Peter to go home, he was going to climb up alongside the beck until he reached the top of Swarth Fell and come back along the top of ajoining Barton Fell and then down to their home at Crook-a-dyke. The time was 8.30pm Peter said and he ran home, told his mother what his father said. they sat up a good part of the night wondering how Captain Embley was getting on with his struggle in the dark. I think they were all relieved when they heard a bang and a crash and a roar as Captain Embley came bellowing through the door.

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