Monday, 14 March 2016

The Fat Lady Sings

With a couple of backpacking trips on the horizon - to Dartmoor with Robin and the Northern Pennines with a Clutch of Daunderers - my feeble mind has been gripped by an urge to wrench me from my backside and go for a walk.

I'm not too concerned about the pace set by the ageing Daunderers but young Mr Evans is quite a different kettle of fish; The chap fairly scurries along, weighed down only by a shelter spun from fresh air and fairy dust, and kit that never troubles the digits of his digital scales.

Should the fancy take you, it's possible to click on all these pictures to make them extravagantly large.

This ManMadeGlobalWarming is a complete bastard as the weather for the last few days has been frabjous, leaving me no excuse to not get out there and enjoy the Great Outdoors.

The pictures are from a walk taken yesterday, encompassing the northern clays and the eastern heathland of my local patch.

In a little under three hours it's possible for boots to accumulate huge clods of clay and then be coated with a dusting of fine sand. A bit more sunshine at Regulo 6 for another hour or so and your boots will resemble a couple of Flettons.

This particular stroll takes me past the sites of two gruesome murders; One took place a hundred or so years ago - the brutal drowning of a young boy - and the other only recently; The discovery of a man's body in a ditch - still unsolved as far as I'm aware.

I narrowed the choice of footwear for the Challenge down by one yesterday; My beloved Scarpa Nepals won't be coming as they're just too much hard work. This has come as a surprise to me as I have happily skipped along 3,000 miles in them. But at the end of yesterday's effort I finally realised that they are not for me any longer. The end of an era!

Late afternoon dog walkers around these parts mostly comprise middle aged women with absolutely no control over their charges. Ladies: If you're not the pack leader and you cannot recall your dogs, put them on a lead.

For the avoidance of doubt this also applies to men, but I have not yet met a bloke walking his dog around here who didn't have that control.

This post is being written using an 'app' (I do hate that word) called Bloggeroid. It seems to work jolly well apart from one major disadvantage; you can load the pictures where and in the order you want them, but once loaded it is not possible to see them as you write the text. I have no idea what image is displayed above or below! They are displayed to me as 'image 7' and 'image 8.'

And so, dear reader, you have the drop on me, as I've no idea what lies above and below this screed of woe.

I enjoyed snapping away because as any older hill walker knows, the more photographs you take the more rests are taken on the sly. Phil takes twice as many pictures on the Challenge as I, as he is older and wiser.

So, if young Mr Evans publishes more pictures on his write-up of our trip to sun-soaked Dartmoor you now know that I will have worn the young man out.

There is always an exception to the rule. On the upcoming PreWalkDaunder to the Northern Pennines our Senior Citizen will be the newly refurbished Peter Shepherd [Morpeth to his Challenge friends]. Peter recently underwent a triple heart bypass and although quite a few years older than Lord Elpus [my benchmark for decrepitude] he is never seen taking a sneaky photograph. He is always camped up before everyone else and eating his pudding as we arrive, or finishing a nap sprawled out in the sunshine.

And so, as the sun sinks below the pine trees and I hobble home in the gloaming, Peter gives me hope that the Fat Lady hasn't yet started to sing.
posted from Bloggeroid


  1. It's ok, he doesn't scurry that fast, and although all his kit is made from gossamer and butterfly wings, he will be carrying it all, so the total weight will have evened out to about the same as yours. Especially if you cram it in the 33L sack.

    Good to see that global alarming has filled the footfalls of Berkshire and beyond with moisture from the tears of the Gods of Nature.
    Are they puddles or just tears of joy.

    Personally I think it is all the warm air, rhetoric and political and climate humbug that has driven up temperatures to the point that we have a warmer world. Strangely though, t
    he hills above Beddgelert this week in Wales seemed to be sodding cold.
    Never mind, I expect we can skew those statistics by moving the Null Hypothesis..
    Have a good Dartmoor trip, and see you soon in the Daunder.
    Looking forward to seeing a less wheezy reprogrammed Mr Shepherd :-)

    1. Indeed, indeed, Mad'n'Bad.
      That's the answer, sir: You've cracked it. If I cram all my stuff into a smaller and smaller pack it's going to weigh far far less!
      Conversely, if it gets to be very, very small, will it behave like a black hole and suck all the gear from Robin's sack into mine? I wouldn't like that one little bit.

      Yes. The Daunder. I ought to be fit by the time Robin has finished herding me around the boggy places in Dartmoor.

  2. Beautiful photographs, you got a new camera?

    1. Very sweet of you to say so Sir. I'm afraid it's the same old Instamatic that I've had for a couple of years, but with less camera shake, brought about by a slight change in the meds.

  3. A masterful post as usual Alan and I second John J re the photographs. What footwear are you using on the Challenge now that the Scarpas, poor things, have been rejected?

  4. You're very kind Gibson. It is a toss up between my leaky Salomon Quests and my Ecco leather shoes - whose name escapes me even though I am wearing them on this train to London!
    Both will supply me with wet tootsies.

  5. I'm not too sure about being called an ageing daunderer! ;)

    1. Alistair, Sweetheart, Darling. You have been to more Cheese and Wine parties in incredible rude health than any other Challenger i know. This makes you older than time itself. Accept your decrepitude with wild abandon. Throw off society's shackles and let carpet slippers and wing - back chairs into your life. You'll thank me for it.

    2. Thank you Alan :-). In fact I do remember being present when a certain bang of bigness took place! ;).

      Slippers? What an excellent idea for footwear for the Daunder! Although they might be ruined by the time I arrive in Dufton as I' toying with the idea of nipping up Ingleborough on the way north between trains!

      I'm not sure I can carry a wing-back chair to the Friday and Saturday night camp spots however - I assume you have arranged portering services for such items?

      Unfortunately I shan't be making this year's Cheese and Wine party on the TGOC however. Will there be one on the Daunder?

    3. A C&W on the Daunder-a fine idea. I shall put it to Lord Elpus.
      I'm not sure about all this extra - curricula hill bagging. Is that good for you Sir?

  6. I was thinking it would be good acclimatisation for the rarefied air up on Cross Fell ;).

  7. I would like to have some of what you were taking/ingesting/imbibing when you wrote that.


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