I hate you Dad, you’re a loner and you don’t have any friends.
Thanks mate! Just what I want to hear standing on the wrong side of a bloody great hill on a Sunday morning – with a hangover to boot – thanks very much.
Tom was annoyed, angry and upset because he’d had to walk down the other side of Roseberry Topping before we could set off on the reasonably easy slog to the monument. He’d said he wanted to walk to Captain Cook’s Monument the last time we’d climbed the hill and he’d seen it in the distance. I’d agreed to take him the very next weekend I was off. So there we were the next available Sunday. Me suffering from the night before and Tom tired from being kept awake until midnight. In hindsight it was a recipe for disaster.
From the top we looked out and could see the monument in the distance. Not far off, Google told me it was 2.4 miles so I’m expecting a 6ish mile round trip. Doable both with a hangover and a grumpy nine year old. We set off down the hill and that’s where it all started to go wrong. Tom started shouting, then crying, and protesting at the descent. “Wait for me” he shouted, “I might slip! I might die! I might get lost!” I tried to impress upon him that he:
- wouldn’t slip
- wouldn’t die
- wouldn’t get lost
It was one path and it was one direction; down or the other direction; up. I waited, I stalled, I walked on, each time met with protests from the boy. By the time we got to the bottom, and after he’d thrown a bottle of juice at me – twice, he got told to behave himself or start walking back to the car. “I hate you Dad, you’re a loner and you don’t have any friends.”
For the briefest of moments I wanted to just walk away and leave him there. You know what I mean? I don’t see an awful lot of him due to work and when I am off I try to do good things with him. I try to give him experiences, and “I hate you Dad, you’re a loner and you don’t have any friends.” is my payment. I gave him the option. We either go back to the car and he goes back to his Mam right now, or we forge onwards and complete what we set out to do.
He opted for the latter and we continued the walk around to Captain Cook’s. It was easy going and our companion went on ahead leaving Tom and I to walk together. He insisted on holding my hand. And we talked. About school, about home, about friends and family. About birthday plans (he’s on holiday for his, I’m in Berlin for mine) and about ‘are we nearly there yet’ a hundred times.
We were nearly there and before long we reached the monument. A 51 foot high monolith celebrating the life of Captain James Cook. It’s inscribed:
In memory of the celebrated circumnavigator Capt James Cook F.R.S a man in nautical knowledge inferior to none, in zeal, prudence and energy superior to most. Regardless of danger he opened an intercourse with the Friendly Isles and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere.He was born at Marton Oct 27 1728 and massacred at Owyhee Feb 14th 1779 to the inexpressible grief of his countrymen. While the art of navigation shall be cultivated among men, while the spirit of enterprise, commerce and philanthropy shall animate the sons be Britain, while it shall be deemed the honour of a Christian nation to spread civilization and the blessings of the Christian faith among pagan and savage tribes, so long will the name of Capt Cook stand out among the most celebrated and most admired benefactors of the human race.
After a brief rest it was time to turn and take the long walk back to Roseberry Topping, avoiding the summit, and back to the car. My legs ached for days…
Photos of the trip are posted on my Flickr: Roseberry Topping Captain Cook. February 2017.