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Sunday, 22 April 2012

PreWalkDaunder 2012: Day 1

As I slipped off to sleep utterly knackered last night, it crossed my mind that perhaps I’m not quite ready for the Challenge. My thighs were on fire and I was completely, not to put too fine a point on it, fucked.

How on earth had I let myself get into this state? I blame Phil. And Andy. And WeeWillyWilky.

I had just returned from the annual PreWalkDaunder which is the brief leg stretch in the Lake District used as a shake-down for gear and to gauge general levels of hill-fitness prior to setting off to walk across Scotland on the TGO Challenge. The three of them had shot off up Stakes Pass like the Spring lambs, while I brought up the rear like a knackered old tup after a day serving his flock. It was an incredible struggle.

This is not a good thing. Not a good thing at all, in fact. Something needs to be done in the next two weeks to stop my heart bursting out of my chest and my legs turning to jelly.

But back to the Daunder: Mostly in pictures: (All the pictures will get bigger if you click on them)

Great Langdale PWD 2012

FIRST NIGHT, GREAT LANGDALE

I wonder if the night spent in the Old Dungeon Ghyll bar wasn’t quite the best preparation to launching ourselves at the tops? Still, a jolly fine night was spent therein, talking the usual complete bollocks and sampling the Black Sheep Ale, Black Sheep Bitter and Black Cat. All quite delicious. There may have been food as well.

Andy, Phil & Wilky: PWD 2012

WE ALL LOOK IN GOOD SHAPE IN THIS PICTURE (WE HADN’T CLIMBED ANYTHING YET…)

PHIL COOKING LUNCH ON MARTCRAG MOOR

PHIL PREPARING LUNCH ON MARTCRAG MOOR

GREAT GABLE

Every now and then the weather threatened, but it was just toying with us. Amazingly we stayed mostly dry. The forecast had been for heavy showers developing into persistent rain.

SKIDDAW

ANDY, MARTCRAG MOOR & LANGSTRATH

VERY BOGGY MARTCRAG MOOR

VIEW FROM PIKE OF STICKLE

VIEW FROM PIKE OF STICKLE

PHIL ON PIKE OF STICKLE

For a chap with a rotten head for heights, I just thought I would let you know that it was a Very Brave Thing, “wot I did” to clamber up on top of Pike of Stickle to take these pictures. I hope you appreciate them. It’s not the going up bit that’s tricky; it’s the going down. The next picture is looking back at it from the safety of Harrison Combe.

STICKLE PIKE

Then, a gentle climb up Thunacar Knott and around to Sergeant Man.

THUNACAR KNOTT

VIEW FROM SERGEANT MAN

It was perishingly cold on top of Sergeant Man, so we decided to have a second lunch. Phil used the rare chance of mobile reception to ring Miss Whiplash, who was at home, suffering from a bad back, brought about, I am sure, by some debauched torture routine, that should probably best stay unreported. Live and let live…

Rather than follow some horridly eroded footpath, we picked a jolly fine route off-piste down to our overnight spot at Codale Tarn. The fell side was doing it’s best to simulate true Highland landforms and gave us a nice craggy descent with running bog on 45 degree slopes. Andy & Wilky did their best to win points for the longest skid and forward roll. Neither got many points for their landings, which were usually upon their very bruised bottoms.

Up above us we saw a lone camper up high on a ledge sporting the latest in shelters: an MLD Trailstar. He had picked a glorious spot but he lost marks for the colour choice of his shelter: a drab grey. Andy’s Trailstar, on the other hand, was a luminous gold that certainly was very popular with the flies,

I spotted a rather nice tree on the way down to the tarn beautifully lit by the afternoon sunlight:

CODALE TARN TREE

CODALE TARN CAMP

Dave was suffering from very cold tootsies and so spent some time in his sleeping bag warming them up, while Phil made him a nice cup of hot chocolate. Phil also did a reasonable impression of Gunga Din, fetching gallons of water for everyone. He’s a top bloke.

The flasks were passed around but by 8:30 we were all tucked up in bed, with Wilky snoring for Britain. The thighs were still okay at this point. It must have been the recuperative power of whisky, sloe gin and ginger wine.

45 comments:

  1. I think letting that "Black Cat" cross your path was the big mistake, you need to take this hill training rather more seriously. Looks like you had a great time, them Scottish hills are gona be a bit of a shock. They make our Lake's hills look like mere pimples! That should cheer you up!

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    1. Thank you very much for that sage advice, Al...

      Perhaps my mistake was in not having enough Black Cat - beer is a muscle relaxant, after all.
      :-)

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  2. The first leg stretch of the year always rings alarm bells. I need to get myself in some kind of shape because it's now beyond a joke.

    The weather was indeed good to you. Look forward to seeing the rest of the photographs.

    Davy

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    1. Alarm bells and very loud claxons accompanied by canon fire and chaps on mountain tops waving semaphore flags, more like...

      The weather was smashing! They say the sun shines on the righteous, so there must have been one or tow righteous folk on the same bits of hill as us on Friday.
      :-)

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  3. I have a feeling that the hills were full of ladies swooning that weekend............

    Do ladies still swoon?

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    1. Swooning ladies.
      I am sure there are a few that still swoon. Was it because they clapped eyes on the beautifully colour coordinated shelters, so neatly displayed?
      We had a red, blue green and golden tent fest.

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  4. Keep up the training chaps. I think you'll need to do more than take someone called Walker along to guarantee success.

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    1. Indeed. Young Walker is often seen miles ahead on the hilly bits. Perhaps I shall tie a rope to his waist so he can haul me along?

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    2. Young Walker is of course in reality 2 years older than you :)

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    3. Ah - That's my "official" age.
      :-)

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    4. Obviously your Kidneys are much older :(

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  5. So are your ready as a team for the big adventure coming soon ? So far this tale is good. I await more.

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    1. You can obviously sense that the team is a well oiled machine. Well-oiled after the ODG, at least...

      There will be a Part II when I can get a bit of time to bash it out on the old Remington.
      :-)

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  6. Codale Tarn is a super place to camp. Not sure those beer bellies look ready for the punishing TGOC route you've prepared :) Phil looks the fittest one among you!

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    1. Fortunately I am the chap with the camera and so my own little paunch is not displayed.
      It can, however, be found over on Phil's Blog of the trip. I would point out that it was the gloves in the anorak pockets that make the bulge more pronounced on his cruel, cruel picture.
      You can find Phil's take on it by clicking HERE

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    2. Not sure those beer bellies look ready for the punishing TGOC route you've prepared

      Indeed. That is the worst I have seen it.
      I need to lose about 10Kg to get back to a decent proportion.


      Still, that belly can still run 10 miles and cycle 50, and will have no problems with the route, other than hopefully diminishing as we go across.

      I will set myself a goal of losing it all by mid July.

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    3. ooh, I don't know. I think you're just wonderful the way you are Andrew... All cuddly... More to love... You need some ballast to act as a handicap to slow you down.
      :-)

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    4. I would just point out that Phil's pose is quite clever; lifting his arms to lean on Andy & Wilky stretches the tummy upwards quite nicely.
      It works the same with older ladies too; saggy chests take on a surprisingly pert aspect.
      Just sayin'... (Phil has a few extra years of practice in this posing department... The dark brown top is quite slimming, too)

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    5. Wonderfully large maybe!

      Nope, serious healthy diet, and time in the gym for me.
      That will be for the next 2½ weeks.
      Then the Challenge should trim some off.
      Then back to a proper diet, and none of that extra picking.

      I have seen the photo, even with the unflattering top.
      Did a run yesterday and a bike ride.
      Into the gym (garage) tonight.

      Work to be done, that's for sure.

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    6. Of course you could argue that a small but of extra ballast fir the Challenge means greater natural resources and less food needs to be carried.
      Whereas the skinnies need to carry far more because they have nothing to fall back on.
      I'll let that one run.

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  7. Y' know, it was worth the trip just for the discovery of Black Cat. But chaps, chaps, it's just a couple of weeks left now to hone those bodies to their peak fitness. The clock is running, oh yes.

    :-)

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    1. That Black Cat was rather lovely. Shame it was the last one. We should have started with it. It would make an excellent session beer.
      As for that countdown clock.... 17 days... AAAGH!

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  8. Events certainly creep up on you don't they Alan! There always seems to be plenty of time to knuckle down to a fitness plan, but in my case the plan never quite materialises!

    I find myself relying on taking photos as an excuse to stop and catch my breath!

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    1. Hi Paul.
      They certainly do! My legs have only now stopped nagging. I need to get out there and do some more hill-work. Tricky, in the Thames Valley.
      I suppose by the end of the first week of the Challenge we will either be hill-fit or will have dropped dead...
      :-)

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  9. You certainly did well with the weather so far...
    Some very nice pics too. Stake Pass always seems hard when your fully loaded, especially the first half.

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    1. Hi Al,
      I have only just recovered. And have started to dump things from my rucksack...
      Loved your straws idea - save me 85 grams - that's 85grams of extra whisky that can be carried.
      :-)

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    2. I'm not sure that's the way it's supposed to work Alan....now if it was extra chocolate or extra Kendal mintcake that would be different!

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    3. Dark Chocolate & Lagavulin. Oh yesssss....
      :-)
      Recovered from the privations of the Cross, yet?
      :-)

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  10. Was wondering how the daunder was to go, and now I know. It's all just puff and nonsense Alan, after two days on the Challenge you'll have slotted back in no trouble. Like the pictures, whose is the Warmlite, is it yours or Andrew's? Can't remember which of you was going for the Trailstar.

    Not long now..... 17+ days for goodness sake - getting proper excited at the though of losing my 'Chally' cherry. Hope it doesn't hurt too much.

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    1. Hi Carl
      (Bit of info for the congregation: Carl is about to set off on his first Challenge!)
      The Blue Warmlite (Wanda) is mine. The Golden Trailstar (Treeza) is young Mr Walker's new hussy!
      :-)

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  11. I'm another Black cat fan. :)
    Nice post, love that little walk.

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    1. Ta, Justin. It is a little honey! Steep clambers and wonderful views, watching little storms all around us but not overhead! Altogether, quite perfick!

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  12. Sounds like you had a good weekend. Codale tarn is a gem of a spot to camp. The old is a grand pub particularly when it's not to busy

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    1. Hello "Anonymous"!
      (You can always leave you name at the end of your comment. We're nice to each other here - mainly!)
      Indeed - and the ODG was wonderfully quiet and we did hog the fire a bit. :-)
      Had to be done!

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  13. You have a knack of making me smile! Looking forward to vicarious TGOCing with you! :)

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    1. You've a splendid way with the words yourself, Miss!
      I shan't be blogging on the hoof this year as I think the route will be quite tough enough in itself but I shall be taking a little Moleskin notebook for jottings and of course, the point & shoot camera so I can cobble together a write-up afterwards.

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  14. Aerodynamicists once held the view that according to their calculations the bumble bees bulky body and spindly appendages should prevent them from becoming airborne. Somehow, despite all appearances, you still manage to make it across Scotland each year.

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    1. Ah, but the bumble bee is suffering from a dramatic decline in numbers. Some say it is down to a poor diet (pesticides can't be very good for the gut, it has to be said) but I think it's down to clambering up too many hills in the rain.

      As Mr Walker said further up the thread, the excess baggage might help in reducing the food stocks carried in the rucksack.

      However, having looked again at the picture of Dave & Andy, it would appear that they might be able to make it all the way across carrying no food at all...

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    2. You're a cheeky bastard Sloman!
      I'll leave it that.

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    3. You *could* use the extra room in your pack for "supplies"...
      :-)

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    4. I have seen those pictures and I am now just taking water and Ryvita.
      Bulky but light.
      In fact the water is on route so just Ryvita then. :)

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  15. Alan, I am sure it was the Black sheep that was your downfall. Think positive, you are fit, energetic and you have down this trip loads of times!!

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    1. Hi Mark
      I only need to step out of the train at my start point (Morar for us this year) and everything looks wonderful, even if it's tipping down with rain and sleet and blowing a gale.
      It's a fantastic country. Magnificent scenery, wonderful hills and friendly locals.
      It's all life-affirming stuff.
      :-)

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  16. Excellent work Mr Sloman and I'm afraid I have to concur Carl, but with sickly optimism, that it will all right on the night as it were!

    As for paunches, I think of those as temporary storage pouches or reserves for things like the Challenge - at the end of it all you'll need to put some work in to replenish - win win!

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    1. Funny that: It usually does go alright; it's the nerves thing after a leg bursting time in the Lakes I'm now up and down flights of stairs at every opportunity.
      Lifts? They're for wimps!
      :-)
      Cheers Marcus!

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