Thursday, 25 April 2013

TGO Challenge 2013: PreWalkDaunder: Part III

It had been just a few days in the hills but already time was becoming something governed by the sun, and the weather just the stuff that determined the clothes that you wore. After a while outdoors, watches and weather forecasts become irrelevancies; you take what comes and adapt where necessary. You’ll always get there eventually; there’s no point rushing around to a schedule.

Saturday morning was gorgeous. The larks were going at it full throttle and the shelters’ icy sheens had melted away to leave crispy dry flysheets. It was a leisurely start, rehydrating with hot orange, hot chocolate and coffee with the last of the cheese, bacon and tomato rolls I had lugged around the circuit.

Today we had all managed to pack up at about the same time, but Denis was still struggling with his back, which is a bit worrying as it put him out of the Challenge a couple of years ago.

We set off and called a halt almost straight away for the final 2013 PreWalkDaunder  team photo:



We had next to clamber over the ridge you see behind us, and surprisingly, I didn’t feel too bad, which must mean the EPO and intravenous iron must be kicking in at last to boost the blood count. I just felt “normally” knackered, as I’m from the flatlands and not used to struggling up boggy hills. I recalled, somewhat grimly, the previous year’s Daunder, when I realised that something was definitely wrong with the engine. It had transpired that my blood count at the time was about half what it should have been for a chap of my age.

I can see why Lance Armstrong likes EPO.

The route this morning was simply to hop over the ridge by Green Crag and slide down the other side to Grassguards and then to the stepping stones over the River Duddon. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.



Gerry, of course, clambered over the top of Green Crag. You just can’t curb some people’s enthusiasm.


Have you ever seen such a huge rucksack? When I sold it to the lad it was just 46 litres. I think he’s been feeding it steroids. We should demand a drug test.

Throughout the walk, we had all firmly stuffed our Ordnance Survey maps in our pockets. This was because Phil had let it slip that he was carrying a Harvey’s 1:25k map of the area. What a wonderful thing it was too. So Phil was elected map reader by default ~ everyone else having taken two steps backwards. Harveys are miles ahead in the mapping game compared to the O.S. Their maps are packed with really useful detail. And so it was that Phil was once again at the head of our procession heading down to Grassguards.


The walk down to the River Duddon is quite gloopy and so our shoes were all plastered in the stuff. The stepping stones through the splash were quite useful for washing them clean.


And so it was a relaxed crew that had lunch in the Newfield Inn. We had come through with just a couple of casualties; Wanda’s rear pole having sheared and Denis’s back having given him quite a bit of trouble. Hopefully there’s time for Denis to sort out his back and I have decided to take Wanda along on the Challenge in two weeks time with the pole spliced using a Hilleberg pole sleeve. I would still prefer to take an injured Wanda than risk it with a new tent. It will probably be the old girl’s last Challenge as there are other signs of terminal wear & tear as well. We’ll get through this Challenge together. I owe her that.


  1. Hurrah! Just managed to squeeze that out in time for me to read it as we wait for our lift. Our Pre-Challenge Thingy is not going to be as adventurous as yours and hopefully we won't have the weather either. I dare say there might be a couple of reports for you to read at the weekend, but they won't be as interesting. Hopefully there won't be any leaking or wind issues to report...

    Ls Belles xx

    1. Good luck with your shake-down, you two! It's beautiful weather down here. If you could melt all that horrid snow and dry out all the gloopy bog it would be appreciated.

      Tight laces!

  2. Another great post. You all look jolly fit, which may just go to show that the camera can indeed lie.

    Andy's pack looks large? You should see mine. The bl**dy folding canoe will not fit in neatly, and I am having to carry the supply of cleft sticks which my bearers will use to take messages of my progress to Challenge Control.

    I too like the Harvey's 1:25k maps of the Lakes. They are waterproof, far lighter than the OS waterproof versions and they seem to have more sensible boundaries so you can get away with just one map more often than with the OS sheets.

    1. Appearances are deceptive. We had a combined age of five hundred and six with eighty four completed Challenges between us. By rights we should all look haggard and on our knees.

      I like the sound of your canoe - perhaps your bearers could carry it with an odd Challenger taking a rest inside? Is there anything in the rules about sedan chairs?

      The canoe will also be handy if the weather is anything like last year's...

      So then: New house and a new Challenger. It doesn't get better than that - Good luck David! See you in Braemar!

    2. Thanks, Alan. Actually you may see me somewhat earlier than Braemar - at Glasgow Queen Street, in fact.

  3. That Andy has lost too much weight.
    That 46L pack makes him look anorexic.

    He looks like he could do with some steroids.
    Or, could he be disqualified for using banned substances?

    1. I was thinking that too, Dear Thing!

      He just needs to bulk up with a few beers at the Bree Louise, on the Sleeper, at Queen Street, the train to Oban and the party in Oban on Thursday night. That should sort him out and slow him down a bit too - he's far too nippy at the moment.

  4. Excellent report - the route looked just right for a group of such experienced athletes! You were not tempted by the slopes of Harter Fell coming off Green Crag then?
    I agree that Andy is looking far too fit! At least you have him for over 24 hrs before you start the walk (nobbling opportunity).
    Having read this it was suggested I should go find our tent - which is now up in the garden testing for leaks. I may even have to take it for a walk next week.

    1. Phil's a wily old bird. I can see an accidental injury happening to Andy in Sainsbury's in Glasgow in the search for carry-outs - a huge pile of tins avalanching... it has been known...

      Sorry about the tent thing. You really shouldn't let Norma read these blogs. It only gives the ladies ideas...

  5. If thats an Exos 46 then i’m glad i never bought one. It was a close call. It looks huge that sack, something you normally watch sherpa’s lift while you stand back in amazement. If that was packed for the chally then a rethink is needed.

    At least it is only a short hop from Green crag to the Newfield. Hope you didn’t wake those dogs up at Grassguards. Tear you apart they will. A very enjoyable daunder that.

    1. To be fair, it looks a lot bigger than it actually is. It's a tall narrow pack, whereas the Talon 44 is a wider squatter affair, that I find easier to pack.

      So Andy's pack, from the side, does look huge, especially as it's covered in that huge blue dustbin liner.

    2. I think the rucksack cover is actually his tent!

    3. It certainly looks big enough, Al!

  6. I'm assuming that you organised this outing Alan. Did you arrange for the corporate uniform of blue anoraks? How did you punish the rogue who insisted on breaking ranks and wearing black?
    Quite amused by the fact that the party ended up split around the waiting for pub opening and looking for the perfect pitch issue - this is what happens when you walk in groups if the blighters have opinions of their own.
    Good luck with the Challenge. I shall be thinking of you all enjoying yourselves as I slave away at the chalk-face.

  7. Blighters and Bounders, Sir!
    Leaving a perfectly good pub on the flimsiest of excuses. A treasonable offense...
    I shall be going through the list with a thick red pen when selecting next year's Daunderers...

    Oh Yes!
    At least the rogue in black stayed steadfast in the face of revolt. The thin blue line held firm.

    1. Gerry and I did the hill, came back down, put a tent up, and still got back to the pub for soup and beer. Then went and got our tents, took them down, walked to Hoses, and put them up again.
      And... I managed a cheese and wine party with Dennis, while some total lightweights stayed in their tents. Anti social £uckers. Just sayin........

    2. It's too late now to try to change history, young man! History is written by the victorious... The losers are just a footnote, lost in the miasma of time.

  8. It's the extra groundsheet and the crocs in the front bit, and they are size 11 crocs. Huge. Neither are going on the Challenge. Also, the rucksack cover is a 70L cover. I am taking the Pod one on the Challenge. And the smaller sleep mat. So it will be smaller. Oh, and I had a bottle of wine.
    Anyway, it wasn't that heavy if you are we 'ard.

    1. You can tell our Andy is Ard. He rolled his sleeves up in the perishing wind.
      Sleep mats? Pah! He scoffs at sleep mats. He lies down on the cold hard rocks of eternal bitterness and sleeps the sleep of the WellArd.

    2. Don't talk to me about rocks of eternal bitterness.
      I $hit on them as I do the Never Ending Rivers of Misery and Resentment.
      I didn't get where I am in the world by not walking into the ubiquitous howling winds of life long despair and desperation.

      Come to think of it, where the £uck am I?

    3. That's why we go to Scotland - to find ourselves. And if Phil finds you "finding yourself" in your tent again, there'll be trouble...


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