Pages

Saturday, 3 January 2015

TGO Challenge 2015: We have company

It will not have passed the brighter members of the congregation’s notice that Phil & I will not have the pleasure of Mr Walker’s excellent company on the TGO Challenge this year. In the past few years the blighter has lost eight stone in weight. For our American cousins, a stone is a quaint English measurement, comprising fourteen English pounds. (And that’s lbs, not £s.) Andy achieved the astonishing transformation from lard-arse to racing snake by consuming just twenty grains of rice & a small portion of lettuce, with prunes for pudding every day for three years.

To cut a long story short, the bounder now bounds up mountains, leaving Lord Elpus and I, who have perfectly honed southern-softy, couch potato physiques, floundering in his wake. Now he will be free to float along the terrifyingly vertiginous peaks whilst Phil and I will be plodding and ploughing our furrows through the gloopiest of Highland bogs known to man.

But this abandonment left our intrepid team with a problem; Neither Phil nor I are the sharpest navigators on the planet, so how were we to find our way across Scotland? Mr Walker tried to help by flogging Phil his satellite navigation device loaded with Her Majesty’s mapping. Well, it was a good idea, but as you will have gathered from Phil’s recent trip to the Pyrenees, it all came to naught. Fortunately Phil’s errant route-finding was corrected by his Brother-in-law, David, who steered our lost soul back onto the correct track.

It was all looking desperate for our duo, when all of a sudden, in one bound we were free!

Dave, Heptonstall Moor, Pennine Way Richard White, Foinaven & Loch Dionard
PHIL GOC2005 0052aA

CLICK TO ENLARGE EACH PIC [TOP LEFT - BROTHER DAVE, TOP RIGHT - RICHARD WHITE, BOTTOM LEFT – PHIL, THEN ME]

We are now to be joined for our first four days by Dr White of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Richard is a chap who knows his way around the world. Indeed, he has already successfully steered me across Scotland in 1996 and 1998 and helped out heavily for a couple of stints on my LEJOG in 2007.

We are then to be left dangerously alone to find our way across the Monadh Liath and thence to the Cheese & Wine Party, which begs the question - Will we ever make it to our own party?

Fortunately my Brother Dave then collects us at Ballater to escort us over Mount Keen to Tarfside. For the last God-knows-how-many-years Dave has lived in Yorkshire and has successfully negotiated his way over Ilkley Moor without a whippet. This is the chap who gave me one of his kidneys, and so I am sure he is only coming along to ensure that I won’t die a horrible premature death alone on some terrible Scottish Mountain, after having gone to all the bother of saving my miserable skin once already.

So there we have it. We will not be alone. Two wonderful chaps will be guiding and nudging us to our destination. If you bump into this incredible pair this year, please buy them a pint. They’ll deserve it.

20 comments:

  1. I will try this again since Chrome as per ****ING normal lost the last one.

    Although I will of course miss you (not the waiting;-) )
    I will of course be at the same start, and the C& W and Finish.

    Mad 'n Bad will be stalking you.

    By the way.
    Bloody excellent that Dave will make it up for part of this.

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good to know, Sir.
      I expect you'll be bounding along the northern Affric skyline as Phil, Rich and I will be clambering southwards towards the Hill of the Sassenach to plant our Union flag on the summit...
      :-)

      Delete
    2. Union flag? Many Scots aren't too keen on the Union, and we should take care not to offend our hosts. Best stick with the good old Cross of St George - it is the Hill of the Sassenach after all. ;-)

      Delete
    3. We could, of course, take our own flag and declare independence as we plant it! I can't see the scented Nicola Sturgeon clambering her way to the top to remove it...
      :-)

      Delete
  2. I am glad then I was witness to the last of the three musketeers across Scotland in 2014. However something tells me that the three amigos will cross paths several times across the highlands on the way to the sea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no escaping us Craig.
      We need to keep a close eye on our colonial cousins. They do terrible things to tea.
      :-)

      Delete
    2. I fear we will be alone on the North Coast causing all kinds of havoc this year- and can't wait... LOL

      Delete
  3. Navigation issues eh? What you needed was a pair of Blondes, navigation honed on Dartmoor's dark and misty tors.

    We promise we will make the TGO challenge one day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A pair of Blondes, eh?
      We won't tell Miss Whiplash, then.
      You could try a little stravaig in May, perhaps? We need guidance across the Monadh Liath...
      It will be our naughty little secret.

      Delete
  4. Les Trois Amigos are only apart for a brief moment.
    Like the Musketeers we shall return
    All for One and One for All!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. There's the PreWalkDaunder in April to reunite a whole host of miscreants! Which reminds me - I need to finish off organising that ASAP!

      Delete
  5. Yes you do.
    I have other April Trips to plan.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What the devil! Last I read I could be sure you had sworn off these walks across my fine country. Now I hear you are right into it. Did I hallucinate the former, or is the latter a resuscitated plan?

    My confidence in my cognitive abilities has already taken a hammering in recent times, I would hate to think I imagined something here also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Adam
      :-)
      Well! Drat your buttons, Sir!
      I have said for quite a while now (about a year or so?) that 2015 will be my last Challenge as after May this year there will be too many built wind farms to make a crossing of Scotland an enjoyable experience. As it is we will be passing beneath the Dunmaglass wind farm which will be in the process of erecting the last of its turbines.
      I shall return, but not to cross Scotland, but to walk in areas in the west where it is turbine free.
      I would take more whisky with that water, Sir!

      Delete
    2. Hunh. My sloppy reading/memory again. Apologies.

      Delete
  7. did i hear someone say whiskey? yes please mines a double.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Speaking of Dunmaglass, Alan, you might have heard on today's news that Jack Hayward has died; it was widely reported in our region because of his one-time association with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

    Whether that has any implications for the future of the estate, I'm not sure. A few years back some members of the family were involved in major dispute with each other over money and ownership of assets; no idea what the eventual outcome of that was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that news, Dave; I hadn't heard it.

      I have been in contact with a member of the Hayward clan for a number of years by email. I'm sure this news will resurrect that correspondence.

      I know you should never speak ill of the recently departed, but Jack Hayward sold out to the carpet baggers - Big Time.

      Delete

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!