This little fellow has always been part of life, along with a whole host of interesting characters who may or may not actually exist (do any of us really exist though?). He regularly appeared in and on the back cover of NPC journals and there have been many spottings over the years along the road leading to Greenclose and up on the fells.
It’s very possible that Eski was not in fact searching for the elusive Master Cave, but was in fact hanging out with the Clapham Gobbin. He did always take extra tea and biscuits down the pot ‘just in case’.
This gobbin is not to be confused with the Clapham Boggart who is much more friendly and even has his own story walk.
He could be related to one of the flesh-eating boggarts that also lurk this area in North Yorkshire, but as you can see if you read the poem below (an excellent piece of local history, although not for the easily offended), all gobbins and boggarts remain terrified of the Pennine, so stick with a caver and you’ll always be safe!
By Cyril Crossley
As owls did hoot along the Clapham road,
Staggering beneath a huge and cumbrous load,
A Clapham Gobbin clatters in his clogs,
Herding along a pair of black arsed hogs.
At every pace from each hog there is rung,
A loathsome and gigantic heap of dung,
And this, with hordes of savage, ravenous fleas,
Which buzzed and bit his knackers and his knees,
Did fog his brain and dim his eyes,
Bringing him to where a cottage lies.
And peering like a feeble witted louse,
He spelt the magic letters, Greenclose House.
It was a fairy cottage in a dell,
Without lived pixies, nymphs and gnomes as well,
But yet within this godly paradise,
There dwelt a black and sickly den of vice.
The dung stained swineherd staggered to the lane,
And peering through a cobwebbed windowpane,
Beheld a sight unfit for mortal sight,
Which caused the Gobbin’s balls to shrink in fright,
And panicked by their masters frenzied howls,
The slavering hogs did empty all their bowels.
But let us now with fancy step within,
And hearken to the bloody fucking din.
The Chairman who’s a big and gentle man,
Requests them all to hush please if they can,
And mildly censuring members round the walls,
He accidentally hammers on his balls.
The cottage trembles with his thunderous shouts,
Shut up! You bloody jabbering fucking louts.
Then silence reigns; the Secretary talks,
Of Fountains Fell and digs and timber baulks,
But when at last the Chairman slowly stands,
And calls for a conclusive show of hands,
The motion deals with hags and jades and whores,
And buggering crabs upon Sumatran shores.
The Horwich member sits in slumberous ease,
With pumpkin knackers splayed across his knees,
His questing root suspended o’er his chair,
Crushing gnats and midges in midair.
Meanwhile the Treasurer speaks in solemn pity,
Informing members there’s F.A. in the kitty.
And as a shocked silence stills the midnight air,
The Chorley member shags the wicker chair.
The Rescue Warden leaps upon his feet,
Protesting loud and long that all’s not reet,
And as he speaks, more violent the abuse,
The tandem is subject to gross abuse.
The Gardener in the shadows slyly grubs,
Stealing Pennine shite to feed his shrubs,
And yet they do not match in length or height,
The depths below of laminated shite.
The Chairman asks what shall the members do,
And if in fact this ghastly charge is true,
What proof is there that in the long-drawn night,
Our humble home is not engulfed in shite!
At this appalling thought all stare aghast,
Accusing eyes are at the Gardener cast,
But he, undaunted, speaks in terms aloof,
Now all is well; bar holes in’t fucking roof.
Outside the Gobbin crouched, transfixed in fear,
Yet petrified of moving lest they hear,
And as he turned, his foreskin twitched in fright,
The grunting hogs were shagging in the night.
His skinny frame is seized by callous hands,
The burly ogre in the moonlight stands.
The abject bundles punched along the floor,
The hinges groan upon the tandem door,
A heavy shovel falls with sickening clubs;
Silence! Then two Christ Almighty thuds.
A screech of terror rends the moonlit night,
Then all is silence beneath the waves of shite.