Crowther Towers is invaded by Dale, Gordon and James, accompanied by the waggy-tailed Reuben. Bacon and egg butties, coffee, tea and chocolate muffins are devoured by all, before the eight of us (including Pebbles, Islay and Reuben) set out, laden with backpacking kit, for the hills.
We're a raggedy looking bunch.
Photo by Dale
Chrissie points out all the places she and I have been "misplaced" over long years.
Photo by Dale
It's overcast, but, by the time we arrive at our chosen, haunted location, the fog is down and it's damp and murky.
Tents are chucked up, willy nilly, 'til they're scattered all about in the mist.
Chrissie goes over our itinerary with the pups, focusing on their role as Primary-Ghoul-Alarms.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," says Pebbles.
Islay, however, is taking this VERY SERIOUSLY.
Night draws in. The wind is howling, and the five human adventurers are forced to resort to Twitter as a means of communication.
As the wind begins to die away the ensuing silence is shattered by the sound of a woman, wailing mournfully (it's not Chrissie). The Primary-Ghoul-Alarms do not stir.
But there are some weird goings-on in Dale's tent.
Photo by Dale
Photo by Dale...I think
The rest of us are much too frightened to go to Dale's aid, for fear of falling into the grips of the horrors in his tiny abode.
"Sod 'im," we cry as one.
I'm far more concerned about the inedible concoction I've brought for my dessert. It is truly foul. I'm not normally a fussy eater, but I can only manage a few spoonfuls before giving in. Yeuk! And yes, Pete, I KNOW it's a breakfast, but most of us eat rice pudding for dessert. The lack of sugar in the recipe makes it taste like coloured gruel!
But, back to the paranormal activity. Throughout the evening there are more sounds; variously of howling dogs, bleating sheep and wailing women. They may, or may not, have something to do with the warped sense of humour which hides in the darkest corners of James' brain (or what passes for a brain). Reassured by the lack of concern by Primary-Ghoul-Alarms, we eventually give in to tiredness...and drift into fitful sleep.
Morning brings brighter weather. The mist has demisted itself...a bit...and there are views.
Breakfast is taken, lazily...
...and the dogs awake, bleary eyed.
We're amazed to see Dale has survived the night. But he appears to have been wandering abroad in the darkness and can find no trace of his tent. James gallantly offers to help him look for it...sadly, to no avail.
Gordon, meanwhile, is gobsmacked at waking to find his new tent is still standing, him being used to flimsy, tarpy things which don't withstand "weather". I point that out that this is normal for a "proper tent".
And soon, we're packed, (except for Dale, who's sobbing, uncontrollably, at the loss of his shelter) and away, down the hill.
All along the way Gordon is waving his arms and shouting prayers of thanks to the Almighty Terra Nova, while Dale puts on a feeble attempt at a "brave face" and James farts, silently...Chrissie, quietly practises her modelling pose.
As the "friends" return, Mother Nature places all manner of obstacles in their way. But being Epic Adventurers they battle, and survive, wild river crossings and treacherous stiles, and Dale (such a hero) still thinks he's fooling us. Bless 'im.
Finally, having conquered Mount Doom and flung the ring into the depths of hell, our heroic band return, weary but happy, to the safety of Crowther Towers, there to consume vast quantities of toast, tea, coffee and lashings of strawberry jam, before finally wending their ways home to their little homes under the hill...
Islay says, "Bollocks!"