October - November 2008

Nov 25, 08:02 am

It was a Sunday evening and Ruth and Peter Annison were driving back to their Nottingham home after spending another delightful weekend in their favourite Yorkshire Dales.

“We so loved this part of the world,” Ruth explains. “And on that journey we began asking ourselves why we were leaving it. Why not move there permanently?”
It proved to be a road to Damascus moment for these two college lecturers, who decided there and then to sell up in Nottingham, and become residents.

But in so doing, two problems immediately presented themselves. Firstly they would need to find a suitable residence, and secondly, how would they earn a living?
It was while Ruth was looking around Hawes that the answer to that important second question was answered. “I was watching Tom Outhwaite the local ropemaker twisting rope in his small workshop, and he told me he was hoping to retire soon. With no obvious successor it seemed that the ropemaking tradition in Hawes, as in so many other places, was doomed. I made a quick telephone call to Peter and we began to explore the possibility of taking over Tom Outhwaites’s business. We were not alone. The news had got out, and Tom suddenly received 300 letters from people wanting to buy W.R. Outhwaite & Son which had been established in Hawes since 1905.

By Saturday morning Andrew was almost at the end of his tether. “I was now convinced that I would be found dead on the cliff.”

With his strength ebbing away, he decided on one last throw of the dice. Ignoring the pain and stiffness that was ravaging his body, he somehow managed to climb on to the rock that had given him some shelter. Stretching out his phone above his head he suddenly realised he had got reception. He frantically keyed in a text message and pressed the ‘send’ button.

“It took an age, and I shook with relief as I finally read the response – ‘message sent’. I tried immediately to make a

13strides

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