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Saturday, 19 April 2014

TGO Challenge 2014: PreWalkDaunder: Days 2 and 3

DAY TWO:

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

CROYDON & ANDY: A PERFECT MATCH

And here are the Daunderers, looking surprisingly chipper after a rough night:

DAY TWO DAUNDERERS

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

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

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.

DEAD CRAGS

DEAD CRAGS

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

POST- PUB DAUNDERERS, CONCERNED FOR PHIL: CLICK TO ENLARGE

The next three pictures were on the rest of the afternoon’s uneventful stroll:

ORTHWAITE HALL

ORTHWAITE HALL

 

LOCAL SPORT

LOCAL SPORT: CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

A SIGN! WE'RE NOT LOST!

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

CROYDON, DAVID & PHIL - LONGLANDS FELL – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

TRINNIE TRAILSTAR & HELGA HEXPEAK

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.

TRINNIE IN THE SETTING SUNTRINNIE IN THE SETTING SUN – CLICK TO ENLARGE 

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

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.

 

DAY THREE:

CAMP 2: BINDER MISSED THE CHAMPAGNE

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

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

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

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!

13 comments:

  1. Do you know I had forgotten most of that.
    Must get on with my fictitious version.
    And why is my nose so red in that pub photo.

    Lovely stuff sir.
    I will steal a load more photos shortly.
    19 days and counting.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your nose was red because of the relentless sunshine we laboured beneath, Good Sir!
      It can't have been the booze, as I seem to recall you were on cups of tea at the time. We won't mention the evenings' entertainment, shall we?
      19 days, eh? What's that then?
      :-)

      Delete
  2. alan a very good read as always i,m now going to see if that nice mr walker has written something along the same lines or as is the norm with him it,ll be a very very different account .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't trust that man's account at all, Chris!
      Good Lord! He's left half his body behind in his quest for fitness!
      What sort of man does that???

      Delete
  3. Stirring stuff. I can't wait to get off at the end of next week, although my trip will not be so much in the wilderness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Conrad.
      Of course, I wasn't there. It's all a fantastic figment of my red wine fuelled imagination.
      I have slept very well over the last few nights though.
      Good luck with your trip, Sir.
      :-)

      Delete
  4. Well Alan, after that Scottish jaunt and now this your all primed, tweaked and ready for the Challenge. Andy is fit as. So load extra supplies of single malt into his pack and enjoy yourself. Have a cracking trip Alan, and do pass on my regards to the team. I will be following the Tweets, and posts with keen eyes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind wishes, Martin. We're probably as best prepared as we've ever been:
      Lord Elpus is quite a few ounces lighter these days, with the judicious use of organ removal, Andy's held together inside by Kevlar but has a few extra wobbly ounces on his knee, and I'm a few ounces heavier, courtesy of my brother.
      But apart from that, we all seemed to have come through the little tests we set ourselves alright.
      I'll be at Waitrose tomorrow to choose my additional Challenge tipple, to supplement the remaining Jura. Andy's mugging his mother for Sloe Gin and Lord Elpus will be raiding Lord Elpus Hall's extensive whisky cellar.
      It should be a good Challenge, Sir!
      :-)

      Delete
  5. I would be interested to hear just what Croydon was attempting in the photo of the Daunderers after leaving the pub.
    Why are his trousers around his knees?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't recall any of this. The failing memory of old age can be very comforting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's as well, Phil.
      Every now and then I get these dreadful flashbacks, usually involving confined inner tents, hallucinogenic substances and Jane Russel'ls busty substances, Dud.
      Her nipples follow you around the tent, you know.

      Delete
  7. Camp craft. Have you ever heard of camp craft? I don't think that I have ever seen such a sloping pitch grace a blog before. Did you have to velcro yourselves into your tents?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't look good from here, does it?
      :-)
      I can't think which idiot chose such a terrible spot...
      But, Akshirley, we mostly slept along little shelves of flat ground that ran across the slope, so it wasn't too bad at all.
      And most importantly we sheltered, from what the Pieman would call, a nithering wind that was actually very strong.

      Delete

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