Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A Prize Pair

Despite his dapper appearance and ways, Lord Elpus is, in fact, a very modern man. Not for him the quill pen, the hammered velum and antiqued octopus dyes.

No. He is a man of the moment; an early adopter. A bit of a geek? No - Surely not! He is a learned gentleman and can quote large tracts of the Good Book, especially so when lubricated with an afternoon sherry. Homer, Rabelais and Proust are his constant companions - but don't let him quote Rabelais when you have family around.

With such a learned companion on my journeys across Scotland, it falls naturally to allow him command and control of our sojourn. Spreadsheets are created, costings calculated, and accommodation accounted for. Travel arrangements and timings are tuned to their finest pitch. The man is a Manager of Considerable Merit.

Sometimes, I am permitted to suggest a suitable destination for lunchtime refreshment, but the frame, muscularity and the finished bronzed torso of our stravaig is entirely of his fevered imaginations.

At the final celebratory dinner at Montrose this year, during the toasts to the successful Challengers, the Master of Ceremonies, an equally dapper Mr Smith, surprised the assembled congregation with a new prize - for "Route of the Year."

There were not too many surprised by the outright winner - a certain Blogger of Note who clambers up very tall hills all over the World, dragging his poor wife in his wake. Such were her agonies at this appalling treatment, that this year she declined to accompany the rogue. This granted him full leave of his senses and an audacious route covering hundreds of miles and thousands and thousand and thousands of metres of ascent was planned. His route was one of sheer terror and countless brown squiggly contour counting that must have employed all his fingers and toes and all those of his friends and relations as well.

But what was a surprise, and bearing in mind this award was announced quite some way through the evening's drinking proceedings, were the certificates for the runners up for this prestigious award. Each vetter put forward his or her own "route of the year". Young Bert, from Holland, whose command of English I can only assume to be at the most basic level, delivered his choice.

Good God! We were called to receive a Runners Up Prize!

So: Well done Phil! We can't possibly be considered for this award again as it will ruin our Challenge Credibility for ever. I shall have to nobble the bastard!



  1. Congratulations again to you both!!!

    Worthy recepients I am sure ...

    What was that about Phil & The Good Book?


    word: peryloys

  2. Nice one! Well done! Now you’ve been appropriately certified.

    Incidentally, is there anything significant about the red arrow of the western hill pointing in the wrong direction?

  3. HHTIID: I think he was reading from "The Ascent of Rum Doodle" - a good book? ;-)

    Des: Just take a look at the write-up of our second day for the reason for that...

  4. Congrat's, Fantastic Route Planners!


    And incorporating Cheese & Wines too! (Or Wheese & Whines, perhaps, in the case of the second, almost unobtainable, location :)

    Word = gallilly. Something to do with teh cat?

  5. Blimey, I've done exactly the same thing and it frightened the hell out of me. Coming off Carrauntoohil in the Kerry Reeks in thick fog and high wind. I was also glad to get down at the end of that day.

    Now you have a certificate with the little graphic reminder to prove you survived! And.. the 'shortlisted' bit is in small font which you can Photoshop out so that your friends will think you won. No, you wouldn't do that...

  6. Congratulations! Who'd 've thought that an excuse to socialise in wild places could be so rewarding.

    (Had to think of something to say because I liked the word: brambons)

  7. Hilarious account which has cheered up my morning! And congratulations on the award too.

  8. Drunks usually do twice the mileage as when sober. Was it planned over a pint or two!

    Only joking of course. Great post and congratulations.
    Can you go one better next year?

    Alan, if you don't mind me asking, what camping is there in Glen Doll?

  9. Piglet: I don't believe I have ever seen a Border terrier genuflect! I shall ask your mistress to show you how. It might involve whipped cream and hundreds and thousands. Or was that something to do with Jelly?

    Des: It's the experience that counts. We get away with it exhausted yet still able to tell the tale. Sloe Gin helps with the re-telling. Shame on you, though, for those dastardly thoughts. I am sure Phil will not have thought of that...

    Louise: "brambons" a sweet tasting thorned berry suitable for fastening to the walking shoes for extra grip.

    Gibson: It was nothing! (Phil did it all...)

    Alan: I usually find the time taken to walk back from the Axe & Compass takes one and a half times as long as the journey to the pub. Camping in Glen Doll is tricky - there are one or two woodlands you can get a sneaky pitch in just past the Clove Hotel.

  10. Sir, you are so generous!

    'Rum Doodle' enjoyed my first Challenge. It was an inspiration. It inspired this year's route. The same could happen to you!

    Meanwhile 'poor wife' has recovered sufficiently from last year's painful TGOC episode (it was her route, not mine) to do her first few hours work for many months tomorrow.

    BTW - I thought your route was very good actually. (Shame you copped out of Creag Meagaidh though.) I can't deny that it had a slight edge over mine on the marks for 'socialising potential'.

    But we weren't trying for an award, either to win or be commended, were we. There wasn't one. Then it just happened. I suspect nobody was more surprised than the recipients.

  11. Word = "bileboom"

    It doesn't get better than that . . .

  12. Congratulations on your worthy award, though I must admit when I saw the title 'A Prize Pair' something totally different came to mind!
    Regardless of the quality of your routes, you always describe them beautifully and make them SOUND good. You have a wonderful way with words!
    Well done.

  13. Hump3. You are wonderful, but I worry over our mental health at times... Bilebloom. Yes? Or No? / We may never know. I like the "bloom" bit.

    Martin: "plan"... That would be good. I must try harder next year.

    ORG: You have always been kind. I remember your entry int he Kearvaig bothy book.


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