Once upon a time not too long ago, a young family moved to a wonderful place called Blackley. And, in Blackley was an even more wonderful place, called Boggart Hole Clough.
One day, Wyn and Avé decided to take their little dog, Ruff, for a walk in the Clough.
“Dad,” said Wyn. "Is it alright if we take Ruff for a walk in the Clough?”
'Course it is!” said Dad. “Which way are you going?”
“We’re going down the 99 steps, and up to the boating lake,” said Avé.
“Good choice,” said Dad. “And don't forget to count the steps on the way back up!”
“Why’s that, Dad?” said Wyn.
“Cos' there’s 99 steps on the way down... but only 98 on the way back up!!” said dad.
“What??” said Wyn and Avé, at the same time.
“Just you count them, and you’ll see what I mean,” said Dad.
“Dad, you always tell such fibs!” said Avé.
“Do I?” said Dad. "Just you wait and see.”
So, off Avé and Wyn went to take Ruff for a walk. Once they got to the top of the 99 steps, Avé reminded Wyn that they needed to count the steps.
“You don't believe Dad, do you?” said Wyn. “You know he always tells us fibs!”
“Well, you need to count them, 'cos I can't count that high,” said Avé.
"Alright!" said Wyn with a sigh, and off they went, down the 99 steps.
“One, two, three, four, five…” said Wyn, as they made their way down. “96, 97, 98, 99!” he said once they reached the bottom. “I told you Dad was kidding!” said Wyn, and off they ran to the boating lake with little Ruff.
After they went round the boating lake, they decided to go back the long way, across the Top Fields, down Angel's Hill, past the Hen House, and up to the Giant's Tooth.
Once past the Giants Tooth, they arrived back at the 99 steps, and Avé said, "Don't forget to count the steps on the way back up!”
“Really!” said Wyn.
“Yes, Dad said there was only 98 on the way up!” said Avé with a frown.
“OK!” Wyn said, laughing, “I’ll count. One, two, three, four, five...” And, when he got to the top, “95, 96, 97…98! I don’t believe it!!” said Wyn.
“Was Dad right?” said Avé.
“That can’t be right!” said Wyn. “I'm going down to count again!!”
So, off he ran down to the bottom, and started to count again. Only, this time, he took it slow and concentrated very hard on his counting.
“One, two, three, four, five...” And when he got to the top, “95, 96, 97...98!!”
“That’s crazy!” he said. “It cannot be right!!” And off he ran down again, to double-check.
“94, 95, 96, 97...98.”
“Dad was right!” said Avé, cheering.
“Ruff, ruff!” said Ruff.
“Lets go and tell Dad!” said Wyn, and off they all ran, as fast as they could, to tell their dad what had happened.
“Dad, dad!” they yelled as soon as they went through the door.
“What’s up?” said Dad.
“You were right! I thought you were telling us fibs again, but there were 99 steps on the way down, and only 98 on the way up! I counted twice!” said Wyn.
"Three times!" Avé corrected him.
“Told you!” said Dad.
“But, how?” said Wyn.
“No one knows!” said Dad. "But that's the Clough for you! I haven't told you half of it yet!!”
“What else is there?” asked Avé.
“Well...there’s Angel's Hill, the White Lady, The Old Man’s Hut... you’ve got it all to learn!! Hehe!!”
“Can you tell us now, Dad?” said Wyn.
“No, son. You and Avé will learn for yourselves, soon enough!” He said. “…and you’re going to love it!”