Pages

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

TGO Challenge 2013: PreWalkDaunder: Part II

I found myself at the back of a long line of Daunderers flogging my way up the slopes of Whitfell (572m)  I am pointing out this spot-height purely for journalistic integrity.

Phil (61) also seemed to be struggling. We put this down to lack of match fitness, the impossible burdens strapped to our backs and too many years of generally having too good a time.

Earlier this morning, we had eventually caught sight of Croydon (60), JJ (58) and our senior boy, Morpeth (72) a good distance ahead of us on the opposite side of Dunnerdale, seemingly going depressingly well. The main party was now made up of Phil, (you know his age; I won’t repeat myself) Gerry (68) Denis (68) Andy (59 but he tells the girls he’s 49) and me. (57) They were halfway up a very steep section of minor road that needed block & tackle to get the rest of the party to the same point.

Quite near the top of a particular nasty section (graded by all as “Severe”) Denis’s dodgy back called everyone to a halt. There seemed to be no way he could continue this pointless struggle uphill and carry on through the inevitable bogs of doom. Four eighths of the team had a conflab and selected a route for the suffering Weegie that would cut out all the day’s hills, and most of the bogs, and still enable the team to reform complete at the end of the day. Denis was seen whispering a few “Hail Mary’s” as we abandoned him at the roadside to continue our mission to re-unite the remainder of the fragmented team.

Eventually the inhospitable three were caught, as they lay about sunning themselves on the slopes of Whitfell. We were now back to seven Daunderers.

SIX DAUNDERERS ON WHITFELL

[PICTURES CAN BE CLICKED TO MAKE THEM BIGLY HUGE)

The reason they all look quite chirpy is that they have just been fed. Never snap a hungry Daunderer. It’s not pretty. The slopes of Whitfell are made up of that unusual combination of ankle deep bog at 30 degrees to the horizontal. Sapping stuff. Whoever told you that water ran downhill, eh?

Gerry, as is his wont, decided on bagging Whitfell and gambolled off to do just that as the rest of the party very sensibly sauntered off in a northerly direction to poke about Fox Crags and Stainton Pike (498m)

PHIL, SCAFELL IN THE DISTANCE

At last the weather was behaving itself and so we delighted in trundling over the various rocky outcrops, occasionally taking time out to sit and natter. This is what makes a Daunder.

GERRY, CROYDON & MORPETH

However, I can’t do sitting about for too long as I get very cold and so before becoming hypothermic I slid off to get ahead, and positively zipped up Yoadcastle. (494m) If you have been reading your Eric Robson’s lately, you’ll know that this little rocky pimple is one of his favourite vantage points. And I have to say I agree with the beardy old boy. The next two pictures are taken from the top:

FOUR DAUNDERERS DOWN BELOW

GT GABLE, SCAFELL, BOWFELL ETC ETC.

This little range of hills has top-drawer views.

PHIL, HESK FELL & CAW

Then we bowled downhill to Devoke Water, drinking the streams dry on the way. It’s thirsty work, this walking lark.

VIEW FROM BIRKER FELL

At Birkerthwaite we caught up with Denis who had been chatting to the farmer and his wife. They very kindly pointed out that we could camp more or less anywhere above their farm – an idyllic spot. We very sensibly chose the first dry bit of land in a sea of bog alongside Smallstone Beck. It was chosen as I decided I couldn’t be arsed going any further, as I was knackered.

HAPPY CAMPERS

If you were to turn through 180 degrees at this point, there was a commanding view of Birkerthwaite and Sellafield. Many of the Daunderers took arty photos of orange orb sunsets through the towers of nuclear fusion. I was tucked up inside Wanda tucking into a cheese & mushroom pasta dish at the time, keeping my own boilers fuelled up.

Gerry then produced a fine blue cheese, a flagon of red and a barrel of crackers. The rest of us produced flasks of various combinations of sloe gin, Rusty Nails, half a dozen whiskies and a splendid time was had by all watching the sun set, the Isle of Man disappear into a haze as vision and speech slowly blurred with the passing of time. We would all sleep well.

20 comments:

  1. Excellent.
    You need to push the next installment out tomorrow 'cos I've got a birthday day cake and flapjack to bake before I go for an overnight camp Thursday to christen the Laser Comp, there's a love :-*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh. No pressure then.

      I'll have to start cropping pictures and tweaking text.
      It can't be done. Beer needs to be bought to enliven the synapses. That means a trip to Tesco.

      Delete
  2. Hi Alan,

    Good to see you all are getting around. I just wonder though, did somebody forgot to tell Lord Elphus this year's color is blue?

    Rolf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rolf

      Persuading Lord Elpus to conform to anything would be like trying to smash a square peg into a round hole. You would need an almighty big mallet, but the peg would be ruined beyond recognition. He is a "one-off."

      Delete
  3. I went away for a quiet few days and these people kept following me.
    Who are you all?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet they've stolen your underpants, too.

      If you will go about wearing them on your head like Ena Sharples, what can you expect?

      Delete
  4. Pleased that you got some decent weather. The views across to the IOM can be spectacular from there, especially at sunset with the open west aspect. Well it would be west wouldn’t it.
    It’s a very nice round of lumps and an ideal daunder imo.
    I hope somebody wandered east for a photo of Harter, as the sun sank or had JJ’s sloe gin cut in by then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course, this is your stamping ground, isn't it, Alan. Thanks for the tip about Hoses, by the way. The farmer is a thoroughly nice man.

      Delete
    2. There are some lovely people in that area. Do anything to help. Different from other areas of Lakeland where they just want to relieve you of your cash.

      Delete
  5. Talk of underpants needs to be stopped based on your team issues last year with them. Get on with the next part. This is getting good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, a sore subject! - I may have time to rattle off the final chapter this evening - a lot on at the moment.
      :-)

      Delete
  6. What fun! Sounds like a most entertaining little trip. I shall have to get JJ to report in person. ['Timperley Crunch Bars', JJ - they are going fast!]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could you squeeze a few of those crunch bars down the telephone line? JJ won't need his - he has enough padding already!
      :-)

      Delete
  7. Great stuff Alan, really enjoyed this. Also great to hear that so much Scotch was produced... What a discerning bunch you are. My hill wanderings are largely solitary affairs and I can generally only manage one malt in the pack (or pannier, for that matter). Perhaps this group hillwaking business has some advantages after all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Matt

      Daunderers are an interesting crew. They need not be the most able-bodied, but they are the most generous of spirit - of mind and liquid refreshments. For instance, I've been walking with Croydon & Morpeth on the TGO Challenge for 18 years now. We see each other every year and each time we pick up where we left off like it was yesterday.

      Delete
  8. Very enjoyable these 'Tales from the Daunder' - are there more to come?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've always been a poppet, Miss.

      There will be one more instalment: The final day of the PWD. I just need to sort the pictures out...

      Delete
  9. I hope that you'll have the next installment posted by the time I get back in this evening after archery. I'm really looking forward to it and would like to read it before I go away tomorrow. Pretty please with a cherry on the top :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So will you be bringing implements of toxophily on the Challenge Louise?
      Saves carrying food if you hunt your own.

      Delete
  10. Something Áedán (eldest son) would love to do when he joins me on a Challenge in a couple of years. Me, I'm just doing the devoted parent taxi thing, you know the one.

    ReplyDelete

Hi.
Because of spammers, I moderate all comments, so don't worry if your comment seems to have disappeared; It has been sent to me for approval. As soon as I see it, I'll deal with it straight away.
Thank you!