Some months ago we turned our attention to the modern pig, and I am pleased to post this letter received from Outa_Spaceman in which he recalls his very own modern pig experience:
Many years ago one of my ‘in-between-jobs’ was as a security guard. I had to look after a ‘pig trap’. It looked like a bungalow-sized oil refinery, all red painted pipes, valves and exciting gauges. It was positioned in a small village called Lofthouse at the top of Nidderdale.
The ‘intelligent’ pig (iPig?) had been inserted at Billingham and trundled down the pipeline inspecting and cleaning as it went. Boffins monitored its progress, via in-built T.V. cameras, in a portakabin alongside the pig trap. My job was to make sure no yokels attempted to interfere with the installation, as the pipeline carried a highly explosive pressurised gas (methane I think).
At the end of my night-long vigil I decided to stay and wait for the pig to arrive and watch the trap being ‘blown’. Frantic boffin activity, lots of valve opening and closing, the pig arrived in the trap and the methane burnt off. It created the biggest sheet of flame I’ve ever seen and, even though I was a good way off, singed my eyebrows. After tests and recalibration the pig was reinserted and sent off toward Stanlow.
For me the most amazing fact is that there’s a pipeline that connects one side of the country to the other via the Pennines.
Just a quick couple of notes regarding the village of Lofthouse.
1) It’s the home of one Ms. J. Street-Porter or, as she is known locally, ‘all feet ‘n teeth’.
2) The main tourist attraction is generally held to be the ‘How Stean Gorge’ which is situated close to the village, possibly about 15 minutes walk away. Here the river runs out of the limestone hillside and over time has cut a deep gorge down the valley. This is a very picturesque and beautiful area and is well maintained with guarded paths and bridges. However, it’s not very suitable for anyone with a walking difficulty.
While in the gorge it is possible to enter a cave which has a history of once being the hideout of a notorious highwayman by the name of Tom Taylor. Local legend says that Tom hid in the cave and when he heard searchers approaching would emit the hoot of an owl. Searchers then came to the conclusion that the cave must be empty if an owl was still in it. However, after being in some sort of a fracas he had some front teeth knocked out and the subsequent ‘hoot’ he emitted sounded nothing like an owl. He was discovered and came to a sticky end at the hands of the lynch mob.
You have been warned.
There is also a nice little restaurant nearby. Every December for many years my mum and dad would go for a brisk ramble through the Gorge followed by a slap up pre-Christmas Christmas dinner.
However thats a few years ago now, so before you all turn up there this coming festive season do check that the cafe in question hasn’t fallen into desuetude.