My view is he was trying to walk to Bleaklow
With his boat on his back.
For all anyone knows
It might not have been like that
But like this: He was sailing on Torside in the last
Of the breeze before the sun dropped,
When stillness set in. He stopped,
Needed to put his boat on the roof-rack.
With no-one round to help—after a cigarette—
He came up with this idea—his best bet—
Of going underneath with a jack,
Lifting his boat onto his back.
He could go neither up nor down,
But out onto the Tintwistle road
With his boat on his back like a cross,
A ghostly shape to the driver who stopped.
But I say he was Glossop’s answer to Noah—
Making for Bleaklow
To set his boat
On the kissing stones.
He wanted to save the ‘poor beasts’.
He’d walked five miles at least
With a spark of an idea that couldn’t fail—
And everyone knows he’d just learned to sail.
First published The North 18, 1996