Seeing your Health Walk No 9 - Stanley (W/E 29 Aug) brought back happy memories to an old Eastmoorian.
It is hard to imagine that at a time when so many youngsters are glued to their mobiles and tablets in the privacy of their bedrooms, that the whole area covered by the map was one giant playground for the youngsters who lived on the estate some 60 years ago.
As young as eleven, and then well into our middle teens we played, unhindered, with not an adult in sight. To us it was one big adventure playing there, with its canal, river, sand quarries, and the surrounds of Park Hill’s Pit, with its railway network that extended from Newlands Pit to the east, to almost the County Hospital to the west.
Even in winter it had its attraction, with the downward slope of Park Lodge Lane covered in snow the best sledging run in the area, equally as good as the Ten Acre Run at Sandal Castle, which we’d also experienced. (Imagine today’s youngsters pulling a sledge from Eastmoor to Sandal).
One could argue that the whole area was unsafe for children to play, and had today’s health and safety experts been around then they’d have had a nightmare. (We played conkers too, and formed huge slides on school playgrounds in winter). But in our eyes it was safe to play there, as indeed it was in our parents’, because they had a good idea where we were and what we were up to.
Had they had the slightest doubt the whole area would have been declared out of bounds to us.
Although I am fully aware how our memories fade with age in all honesty I cannot remember me or my mates sustaining any serious injury, other than a few bruised elbows and knees. Maybe that was an indication that we’d been blessed with a great deal of common sense and a strong instinct of self preservation, even at a relatively young age.
The one risk we did occasionally take was to have a swim in the canal on a hot summer’s day. The risk was not of drowning, but of being poisoned by the heavily polluted water.
The fact that we didn’t pick up some life-threatening disease gave a good indication of how good our immune systems were at that time.
It’s hard to believe that today there is talk of salmon swimming up the River Calder.
David T Craggs