Wednesday, 4 February 2009


Aha, you are thinking - a quick skit on a classic Hitchcock Adventure. Ah! Mr Kaplan!

No - Sorry, to disappoint - It's the direction we shall be heading tomorrow and Friday to join with Derek and Marian and a host of family and well wishers to celebrate Derek's 80th Birthday.

It was Derek that I have to blame for me dragging myself across Scotland over the last fourteen years. I suppose Lynnie, Lord Elpus and Miss Whiplash, FenBoy Coady, Richard White, Bob Butler and my son Oli all have Derek to thank too - as I introduced them to the Challenge.

It was on Derek's mandatory year off (he had completed ten Challenges and so was forced to take a year off) that I met him - he was in a camper-van offering soup to Challengers and he mistakenly took me for one of the same, when in fact I was taking an all together different stroll. I had never even heard of the Challenge but Derek explained it all to me, and the rest is history. He has been an amazing supporter of the event - organizing annual reunions in Newtonmore and even today helping out on the Challenge Message Board.

On My LEJOG, Derek was a fantastic help - organizing accommodation, driving out to meet me in out-of-the-way places with Marian to deliver food parcels, gas canisters, fresh home-cooked bread and general moral support. Above and beyond in every respect.

The man is a gentleman and an inspiration. Happy Birthday Derek - Lynnie and me are thoroughly looking forward to the celebrations.


  1. Alan - pass on my best wishes.....I have never met/heard of this man until your post, but he sounds a fine and true character. If he started you on the TGOC then I have a lot to thank him for as he (indirectly) has given me hours of entertainment reading your Blog.

  2. Hi Robin
    Derek would be tickled pink to hear that! he drops by on the blog from time to time - so I am sure he will pick up your best wishes - but I will pass them on anyway of course!

  3. Derek sounds like a really good friend. Best wishes to him!


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