Monday, 26 April 2010

Delicious Daundering

Each May, some three hundred souls fling themselves, lemming-like, across Scotland on a barnstorming bimble comprising blisters, bogs, booze and general bonhomie. This is usually achieved at a blistering pace because Scotland is a Big Place and there is only a blink of an eye in which to cross the thing.
Then is not the time to discover that your boots are like blotting paper, your shelter doesn't like showers or your knees are knackered. You need a little walk beforehand as a bit of a shake-down. That way you find out you need to bin the boots, treat the tent and throw away all the heavy stuff from your rucksack.
And so eight of us congregated in Great Langdale on Friday morning. Seven were suffering silently from the effects of the night before in the ODG and the last to arrive always looks wrecked; it's his style. As mentioned in the introduction, the aim of the Daunder is to stretch sinews, make the pulse race just that little bit faster but to avoid breaking into a sweat at all costs. So after a frantic four minutes of daundering, we halted for morning coffee in the ODG hotel. And very comfy it was too.
Gerry (that's the fit looking bloke at the right of the picture, above) was again the timekeeper. This is an important position given the propensity of some of the newer Daunderers to set off at breakneck speeds with the great risk of personal injury. Not for me a posse of lawyers round my neck offering 'no win no fee' courtroom battles for compensation. No Sir! It fell to Gerry to ensure that more time would be spent resting than walking; the prerequisite of any Decent Daunder. His GPS flashed and crackled, fixing on dozens of NASA's finest satellites. He burned through countless batteries in his quest to keep the Daunder pure.

Our stats for the first leg, a hop over Stake Pass, happily kept well within the remit. Less than 1 mph for the day.

IMG_2044Lord Elpus IMG_2045Pieman IMG_2041JJ & HMP3
The pub at Stonethwaite is a little cracker and so after being the last to leave we retired to the campsite for a livener until far too late for our own good.
The next morning, unusually for a Daunder, had a brutal start to it: The pub was shut.
So there was nothing else but to get on with the day, staggering up unfeasibly steep hillsides under our burden of headache and heartburn. Old ladies queued and tutted, behind us as we laboured up the mountain. A coach-load of gurls did likewise. Like true gentlemen, we let them pass. We rested in accordance with Gerry's matrix, ensuring that we should not set off after a rest stop until we had been resting more than we had been walking.
IMG_2049 Eagle Crag
We darted by Dock Tarn, lunched on Lord's How and sidled up Low & High Saddles. Ullscarf was scaled and High Raise risen to. We were Daunderers on fire! The scenery form Sergeant Man was quite gorgeous and so you can see what we saw, below: (That's Stickle Tarn down there.)
We beetled down Blea Rigg and dropped off to pitch our Wendy Houses beneath Belles Knott as some blighters had already bagged Codale Tarn. Gerry assured us that our average speed was now well below the dangerous 1mph limit we had set ourselves. You see, at that speed, the human frame can diffract, with all sorts of unpleasantness. There would be no need for all that expense of the Hadron Collider over in Europe's other mountainous place. Think of it as saving thousands of physicists' jobs. We ate Norwegian stews of Wolfish and Pasta Provence - from either France or Italy. Or perhaps Norway too.
We drank what remained of the flasks and went to bed completely knackered after (for us, mind you) a dodgily delightful BigDay. In the night, the Met Office (bless the little bastards) got it horribly wrong once again and it rained. My beautiful view down to Rydal Water in the morning got about 0.15% of the way to Rydal - more or less to Phil's tent.
We had a pub to catch for lunchtime and so we clambered in reasonable order back up to Blea Rigg and  down and down and down in the clouds to Stickle Tarn. It was as well that the cloud lifted temporarily as otherwise we would have walked straight into it.
Down into misty Great Langdale
The pub was duly caught and they served us beer and food for an early lunch. Gerry very proudly proclaimed that the Daunder's Stats were in good hands and safe from any danger of over-heating.
I am now home, safe and well. Wanda requires a few stitches and the rucksack requires lightening. I shall be going back to my old trusted Scarpa Nepals for the TGO Challenge. These fabric booties don't offer sufficient protection to my delicate tootsies.
Many thanks to this year's intake of Doddery Daunderers. You know who you all are. "You've all done very well!"


  1. Glad the sinews have been suitably stiffened. Good read Alan. On the boot front, it just shows that there isn't one solution for everyone. Shame the Salomon's didn't work out, but better to find out now than 3 days into the Challenge! Me, I love my Fastpackers. Fie to Inov-8's and leather boots alike! Looking forward to the 2011 Challenge (if selected).

  2. Seems accurate and, well, almost poetical - very appropriate for the Lakes. And what a jape....
    I just wish you hadn't mentioned lightening....

    picuesi = Italian toenail engineers

  3. Like you lot went into strict trainining mode on Saturday. Drove south down to Gunnersde, pub lunch at The Kings Head, sauter up some hill called Rogan Josh before return to Kings Head to regain strength.
    Beware " The Black Hole of Beoaraid"!!

  4. Booze and a lazy time. I like the thinking. Thing is the Challenge is not long away. Lighten the pack and get training. That and a easy first three days should see you fine before the big hills on your route.

    No big words from me by the way. I am sure the man with the rather good avatar will be along with such things.

  5. Jolly good show!

    I must go for a lie down, this is all just too frantic for me.

    See you all in May. And Scotland.

    Word: listless. Apt, very apt.


  6. Sounds as if the important bit of your pre-Challenge training is going well. Don't think I could keep up really, but your experience obviously sees you through with ease!

  7. Robin: I have a bit of a 'knee' - caused mainly from the rowing machine - so I shall rest it over the next few days before strapping on the Nepals and taking them for a spin.

    Mike - I could do with a few 'picuesi' to trim my toenails - this belly gets in the way of bending over to trim them myself...

    Jack: The "Black Hole of Beoraid" will be well and truly avoided this year! Thanks. Sounds like your training is going to plan. Well done Sir!

    Martin: "get training". Have just done that - now need to lie down and relax and watch the snooker.

    JJ: Idle git!

    Gibson: It was hell, but someone had to do it!. I shall send my liver off to the next AA meeting...

  8. We did it in style. I particularly liked taking the first stop after 400 yards. Less experienced folk just rush headlong into the hills with a grim determination to meet "objectives". We met those types as we descended if you recall.

    Not one of 'em looked particularly cheerful.

    A beautifully planned and executed daunder mon capitain.

  9. The Daunderers Male Snoring Choir was in particularly fine form. Or so I understand.

  10. Alan I am envious of your participation in the TGO, it seems that any training (or none) is good training as after all it is not a race but a tour. Fitness comes as you complete the trip.

    So how many nights has wanda done now? I guess its quite a few and it is not surprising that she needs a nip and a tuck here and there.

  11. HMP3: Interestingly I didn't hear any snorers on the second night: (Hammered...) and none on the third night either (knackered!).
    The first night on the other hand....

    Nielson: That got me thinking... and adding up. Wanda has only done eighty three nights so I reckon there is a bit of life in the old girl yet! I managed about 120 nights in my old Akto before she was put to to grass in my kitbbox.

  12. 120 nights with a sturdy Swedish girl is pretty good form!

  13. Des: You're joshing of course! I would far prefer to spend 120 nights with a willowy Swedish lass in good form....
    Maud Blomkvist stitched Alicia Akto for me. It says so on the little label at the doorway... Maud did a fine job.


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