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!