PHIL & ANDY ON LAST YEAR’S CHALLENGE - CLICK TO ENLARGE
The Lord alone knows why Andy is wearing his shreddies on his head in this picture…
In the past few days we have had some excellent news. Phil Lambert has managed to scramble aboard the Challenge from the Standby List. Quite wonderfully, he won his place from Hanwag, one of the event sponsors, who ran a competition in TGO for Challenge places and pairs of their walking boots. So now he will be joining Andy & me, and sporting a new pair of booties, to boot.
We had a lovely chap vetting our route this year: Colin Crawford. I first met Colin back in 1997 at Culra bothy on the way to a nightmare drinking session in the trucker’s stop at Dalwhinnie with Terry Leyland. I woke with a terrible headache.
Colin’s comments start well:
“I see that on this occasion you’re planning quite an athletic little jaunt. Mr Sloman, I can recall an occasion in the Ben Alder Café, back in 1997, when Terry Leyland had to twist your arm fairly severely in order to persuade you over a Munro next morning. And here you are proposing to tackle nine of the things plus three Corbetts. I’m suitably impressed.”
I have to say that I was also suitably impressed that I managed to clamber over A Bhuidenach Beag and then search high and low for a bottle of whisky that Terry had dropped in the Cama’Choire the year before. It was all very knackering.
Colin continues to impart cheery news
”If you haven’t previously gone up the Carnoch, be warned that the path is a horrid thing after wet conditions, a linear quagmire. Last year, an Irish gentleman enjoyed a full immersion baptism whilst crossing the river in search of better going. We met him at the Great Glen hostel and marvelled as he emptied almost the entire contents of his pack into the tumble drier.”
and then goes on to disappoint further!
”Your hopeful comment regarding the good ladies of Fort Augustus reminds me of a story I once heard about Aleister Crowley, a notorious Edwardian occultist and shit-stirrer, who lived for a while near Foyers on Loch Ness. He wrote to a Christian group in Edinburgh, complaining that prostitution was most unpleasantly conspicuous in the area. When a subsequent investigation revealed zero impropriety and he was challenged, he responded that it was conspicuous by its absence.”
But being a Responsible Vetter, he continued on to give some sound advice on a couple of river crossings that I subsequently incorporated into our final route. The vetting process is massively important to the Challenge; Even experienced Challengers can make simple slips with their routes that, if not caught at the vetting stage, can result in nightmarish days.
So, Cheers, Colin! Top Vetting Sir!
Here’s our route sheet in full – you can click on each page to make them bigly huge!