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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

PreWalkDaunder 2012: Day 2

I’m starting this piece listening to the crashing opening chords of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto on Radio 3. Interesting that, as it’s one of the pieces I listen to in my Skull Cinema when drifting off to sleep. Underneath this crabby exterior I’m an emotional old softie really.

And I was listening to it at Codale Tarn on Friday night with just a gentle breeze fluttering through Wanda’s rear vent, snuggled down in my sleeping bag, thermal buff wrapped around my ears until I dropped off to sleep. I never quite get to the dramatic coda before I am floating away off up into the heavens.

Anyway, that was my state of mind after just one day in the hills. Just think how I’m going to be after two weeks of blissful separation from the real world. When you’re parked up somewhere wonderful, warm and comfy after a lovely day with great company, the real world just buggers off and leaves you in a little pool of paradise.

All that paradise came to a brutal halt at about two in the morning as nature called. Then it was a good half an hour before I could drift off again, serenaded not by Rachmaninov this time, but by Wilkinson’s brutal snoring. Make a mental note for the Challenge: Camp a good half mile away from the bastard!

The morning slid into consciousness at about seven and after my usual hot orange, rolls and coffee I set about familiarizing myself with the old routine, that used to be second nature back on my LEJOG. It’s hard to believe that that was five years ago now. Little routines help you to sort yourself out with the minimum of fuss, leaving you time to spare and marvel at the sense of place, while everybody else is stuffing their belongings into their packs and then re-stuffing them when they realise they had forgotten to pack their shoes…

So then it was just a clamber up the path to the ridge to take a breather. It is quite incredible how unfit I am. I may well be able to bang out fifteen miles or so back home with no trouble, but banging them out loaded with a pack and climbing just seems completely beyond me at the moment. I’ll just have to take it steady for the first few days on the Challenge and get fit that way.

ANDY, DAVE & PHIL ABOVE STICKLE TARN

SLIGHTLY MISTY VIEW DOWN TO THE TARN

The advantage of camping up on the hill is that you get the place all to yourself for the first hour or so. It was just as well, as it was now Saturday and as we crossed the dam at the tarn’s outlet there were literally hundreds of eager walkers scrambling up to join us. It’s not that we’re anti-social but I had picked a route down to the pub where we were unlikely to meet them all. And very pleasant it was too.

COMPANY & PASSING SHOWER

I have mentioned that the ‘going up’ is hard work, but inevitably that is followed by the ‘going down’ bit. And that is hard work too. My thighs started to burn. I really, really have to get this sorted in the next two weeks! I think I shall find myself a block of flats with stairs…

Phil & I were both bringing up the rear at this point and used the Lake’s wonderful charms as reasons to stop to admire the view and take a few snaps.

PHIL, RESTING KNACKERED LEGS!

Once down, it was just an amble to the Old Dungeon Ghyll for a swift couple of pints of muscle relaxant. Both Andy & Phil were having pole troubles; it’s an age thing… Andy said he would be dipping his into a degreaser and Phil looked wistful, trying to recall such pleasures.

REHYDRATION REGIME

Many thanks to Phil for doing the driving. He’s an all round lovely man and we’ll all miss him this year on the Challenge.

Let’s just hope we can all make it on next year for his tenth,

29 comments:

  1. Job done pal. You'll be fine. Keep low first three days and then you'll legs will be finely tuned in for the big hills to come.

    Plus Andy is a fit lad and can carry the booze and cheese for you. Challenge here you come.

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    1. To be more accurate I would say the job is halfway there... Our first three days are actually quite tough, in fact pretty tough... So I'll be climbing steps for the next couple of weeks getting myself in trim.
      It's a great life, if you don't weaken!

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  2. Nicely put Al! We'll plod along, each in our threesomes, and have some great stories to tell each other when we meet along the way or in Montrose!!!

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    1. Plod indeed, David.
      Hang onto those girls coat-tails and have a wonderful walk. If you could have a word with the chap upstairs I would be obliged. Could he manage slightly better weather than last years?
      :-)

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  3. I always enjoy reading your blog. It makes me giggle, nothing more so than, "with just a gentle breeze fluttering through Wanda’s rear vent..."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Wanda and I have no secrets. She's a sturdy colonial: Ample in the beam and tough of sinew.
      She has a variety of vents; As well as one at the rear she has her front bottom vent and her front upper vent. Enough vents to keep a chap happy all night...
      :-)

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  4. I would be a bit worried if Phil needs to check the map from that spot! You can smell the Ale from there. HA.
    I cannot believe how lucky you were with the weather. It was not so good at home here.

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    1. We did have one or two schadenfreude moments, noticing torrential rain just a few miles over to the east as we were bathed in sunshine.
      :-)

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  5. Hm, I've not been able to do a Pre-Challenge thing this year, so I dare say I'll suffer a bit the first couple of days, but there's not too much upness, really. Plenty of bog though. Maybe I should trot up and down a few stairs too.

    Or not.

    Looks like a grand outing.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. From reading your blog, it seems you're out and about one heck of a lot. Besides, Scotland will be kind to a native. it always seems to be repelling us softy southerners.
      Strathcarron's a great start - you get a lovely gentle walk in the morning with fabulous views back to the Torridon Hills.
      Have a wonderful walk, Miss.

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  6. Starjumps ahoy! Loved this...

    See you on the challenge, Squire. Unless u see me first, that is ;)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Starjumps! I haven;t done one of those for 45 years!
      Yes. Starjumps... I'll think about that over a large whisky.
      Have a wonderful walk David. I hope we bump into each other along the way.

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  7. Next time, post a link to the Rachmaninov will you? - I ended up with a sh*te quality rendition off youtube. Mrs M has played 1 & 3 in her time, but not 2 so I hadn't heard it.

    I have a thing about the ODG - I love the beer, the rough and rugged feel and the cold spot they put the payphone in. Not to mention the complicated door and step arrangement on the way to the loos. After a handful of those ales, it's a wonder I haven't come a cropper. Have you?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. THIS will be available on Radio 3 for a little while. it's the whole programme.
      :-)
      Yes, the little skip across the triangle to the loos is always the measure of how many more pints you could have...

      Many a phone call to made from that pay-phone too! Always freezing after the blast of the fire in the pub.

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    2. Carl: Skip that link! That's yesterdays concert! It's not yet up on the iPlayer... Doh!

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    3. The blast of the fire is usually accompanied by a 'cloudbase' of smoke inside the bar due to lack of 'draw'. Waking to the smell of woodsmoke is actually quite nice. Preferable to not waking at all.

      I'll find a decent link - btw and just to clarify, Mrs M is a flortist, not a pianist. Is anyone else bored yet? Think I will leave it there.

      Delete
  8. Torrential rain in the East of Scotland this evening - no way I'm camping out in THAT for a practice! Never mind - I enjoyed YOUR pre-Challenge Daunder even if I won't get one myself.....
    See you soon (well, probably not till the Park).

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    1. Pretty grim down here today as well, Miss. Nasty drive up the M11 in the spray. I think I would prefer Scottish rain from the warmth of a cottage with a good book.

      Delete
  9. Bah! At the third try.......

    Just which language does that robot speak!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Why they had to change it, I don't know...
      Bah, humbug!

      Delete
  10. Pleased to see that you enjoyed your 'training weekend' Alan, and we hope you enjoy the Challenge.
    S + M

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    1. Look after that S, M: That's a huge walk you've planned. Make sure she gets lots of lovely hotels with comfy mattresses.
      :-)

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  11. Nice post, good luck on the TGO, I might try it myself one year.

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    1. Hi Martin
      Many thanks. First-timers are welcomed on the Challenge with open arms; there's always spaces allocated for about a hundred or so.

      Delete
  12. So, that's what we did :)
    It's always good to know where you have been isn't it.

    I went HERE

    See you in 14 days then sir.

    I will give you a call to work out meeting times and places for the sleeper some time.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oooh: I'll pop over and take a peek!
      Was up your way today seeing that sexy consultant again. Just more of the same and a new list of foods that will surely do me in.
      I'll ignore this one too.
      :-)
      I mean - Marmite! That's just silly!

      Delete
  13. I NEED OUT OF HERE!

    Alan, I cannot tell you how much I'd love my pins to be aching and my lungs burning right now. I just can't get out what with pesky 'friends' arranging things related to their own wants and desires....

    Not to worry, I'll endure these next few weeks with the twerps and then I'm getting out there - rain or shine.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ah - keep your friends close. You'll be surprised later on in life how important they are to you.
      And take them out backpacking... Look what happened to Lord Elpus!

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  14. Some great views. What an amazing story.

    ReplyDelete

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