I woke to a scene of devastation: Empty fag packets, cigar stubs, half-drunk bottles of wine, beer tins dancing in the porch’s wind-eddies. Stale cheese encrusted plates all over the shop, a cracked Lexan wine glass. The grass littered with spilled peanuts and half eaten sausages on sticks. A pair of boots, attached to an unfortunate’s legs were being dragged back to a tent for half an hour’s desperately needed sleep.
The Scotch Eggs looked okay and tasted fine, washed down with a tumbler of Jura. I was now ready to face the new day.
The others’ shelters were bobbing and dancing in a stiffening breeze, while Trinnie behaved impeccably. Today’s forecast was breezier than even yesterday, and so after a brief conflab, a foul weather route was chosen as we really didn’t fancy being blown to death on the higher tops. We decided, this time, to skip the Victorian Gentlemen’s Club in Keswick for a leisurely stroll over to the Sun Inn at Bassenthwaite. Lynsey’s painstaking research had shown it had a “dedicated drinking area” and, as she was a dedicated drinker, she thought this sounded a perfect fit.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself again. We actually set off on time, for the second time in a row. Andy’s transformation from lardy, tardy bastard to lean, keen racing machine is quite something to behold! He has lost over a backpack of flab in weight and is now never, ever late! Next year he’s going to fix Broken Britain.
And here is the gentleman himself, beautifully colour co-ordinated with Croydon. Is there no end to this man’s talents?
CROYDON & ANDY: A PERFECT MATCH
And here are the Daunderers, looking surprisingly chipper after a rough night:
DAY TWO DAUNDERERS – CLICK TO ENLARGE
You can see that it’s a nippy old morning as everyone is wearing their titfers & mittens.
It was easy walking, albeit with some jolly unpleasant up-hill stuff, on a Landrover track all the way to the minor roads that would carry us gently to the warming embrace of the pub. But, there was still the rather unpleasant matter of lugging rucksacks and bodies all the way by one’s own leg power. That’s the drawback with this backpacking lark; It does take considerable effort, mostly when all you really want to do is have a nice lie-down on the settee under a blanket in front of the fire and have a restorative snooze.
Just occasionally though, it is worth the effort. The view back to Skiddaw House was gorgeous:
SKIDDAW HOUSE – CLICK TO ENLARGE
We passed Whitewater Dash, a fine waterfall. Phil reminisced about the time he came here as a small boy with his father, who had dangled him upside down above the falls, until he had agreed to be sent away to school. Sadly, they don’t do parenting like that, these days.
PHIL'S PICTURE OF HIS REICHENBACH FALLS
It was then but an amble along the track, mercifully downhill all the way, passing beneath Dead Crags and Cockup.
We had an early lunch, sheltering unsuccessfully behind a wall, in the cold. I continued to munch my way through my second hundredweight of cheese and tomato sandwiches. You can’t beat a good strong cheddar, some sweet tomatoes and lashings of fine-ground black pepper and salt, all stuck between stiff wholemeal slathered in waves of salted butter. Admit it; You’re drooling as you read this.
After Croydon had been persuaded to settle with the dog’s owner, we left the pub, three pints of Cumberland and a Grouse to the better with life. In the intervening period, the sun had made a welcome appearance. Hats and gloves were duly removed and it was an altogether jollier band of Daunderers that set off back uphill, on our way to our overnight camp. Perhaps it was a jovial shove from a fellow Daunderer, or perhaps he had just lost his footing, but he went down onto the gritty road surface like a sack of spuds. We all helped Phil up; he was shaken but not stirred. Phil offered to take the next shot, as he thought Miss Whiplash would not be too impressed to see her husband with a nasty head wound. Lynsey patched up the old lag – he’s not too steady on his pins these days – and used a whole tin of concealer to good effect. The blusher and eye-shadow were not strictly necessary.
POST- PUB DAUNDERERS, CONCERNED FOR PHIL: CLICK TO ENLARGE
The next three pictures were on the rest of the afternoon’s uneventful stroll:
LOCAL SPORT: CLICK TO ENLARGE
A SIGN! WE'RE NOT LOST!
As it was still quite windy we decided to tuck our shelters in the lee of Longlands Fell rather than on the saddle, where we might have found ourselves blown to Caldbeck half a day early. With a bit of cunning, we managed to get all six up in reasonable order:
CROYDON, DAVID & PHIL - LONGLANDS FELL – CLICK TO ENLARGE
TRINNIE TRAILSTAR & HELGA HEXPEAK – CLICK TO ENLARGE
The sun was just dipping over the horizon when I took these pictures, which might explain the purple colour-cast. Andy’s Helga and Croydon’s Competition are actually green.
After dinner, we did our very best to finish off the remnants of our whisky. But, Lordy, Lordy, Lynsey came up trumps again, replenishing the stocks by producing a fine flask of Arran. She and her husband, Alastair, are single-handedly fortifying our parties!
LYNSEY & PHIL
The eagle eyed Trailstar Spotters amongst the congregation will notice that Trinnie’s centre pole is set at 120cm, which of course,means she is at 115cm, as 5 cm - the pole tip – is buried in the ground.
CAMP 2: BINDER MISSED THE CHAMPAGNE AGAIN– CLICK TO ENLARGE
That’s Croydon & David in the picture. Again, quite remarkably, we were away by the appointed hour; it must be that we are almost ready for the Challenge in a couple of weeks’ time.
We strolled along the Cumbria Way’s foul weather route, which gives splendid elevated views of the numerous radio masts hereabouts. We took breaks regularly on thoughtfully positioned benches and it was a happy, relaxed clutch of Daunderers who ambled their way towards the final destination – the Oddfellows Arms in Caldbeck.
As we had been amongst thousands of lambs throughout the weekend, here is a gratuitous picture of what will soon be gracing your plate on a Sunday lunchtime:
RESTAURANT ORDER 316
Caldbeck is a lovely little village and I’m pleased to pass on that a few years back it had a very lucky escape; David didn’t move in.
Here it is in its British loveliness:
CALDBECK, STILL PROUD TO BE BRITISH – CLICK TO ENLARGE
The last photo is inside the Oddfellows – aptly named for the Daunderers:
DAUNDERERS - GLAD IT'S ALL OVER, FOR ANOTHER YEAR.
Note: The beer’s good in the Oddfellows, but don’t go there for the food. Do the extra mile and go to the Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket, which sadly was not open on Monday lunchtime. On the plus side, they do have a pool table and the staff are very friendly.
Then it was back to Throstle Hall to collect the cars and the TGO2014 PreWalkDaunder was over. Thanks, Phil for doling all the driving.
Now, where did I put the rucksack; it’s almost time to pack for the TGO Challenge!