There is a very large gathering of Challengers at the Park Hotel in Montrose - the seat of "Challenge Control" on the last Thursday evening of the Challenge. Those who finish earlier or later have smaller gatherings on the Wednesday and Friday, but the Thursday Dinner is the Big One.
Every Challenger is toasted, either in their year groups or their country of origin. This year's Master of Ceremonies was Humphrey Weightman who shall henceforth be known as Katie Boyle, such is his mastery of every conceivable language known to mankind. With his encyclopaedic knowledge of music and European politics he really should have taken over Eurovision after Terry Wogan retired.
At these occasions I try to snap as many Challengers as I can, but I prefer not to use the flash on my camera as it's a bit of an intrusion. This does mean that a lot of these pictures tend to be slightly blurred as I use a pretty standard little compact camera with quite a small aperture and a pretty cheap sensor. But nevertheless, I enjoy snapping away.
|THREE MAGNIFICENT CHALLENGERS|
|SHE OF THE RASPBERRY WINE ELIXIR|
|STEFAN & MICK [CROYDON]|
|EMMA, STILL SMILING|
|LOUISE [NOT, PERHAPS, THE GREATEST PHOTO EVER...]|
|THE GODFATHER - HAMISH BROWN|
|KATIE BOYLE / AKA HMP3|
|TONY WOO-WOOH! THE FIRE STARTER|
|KATE. [WHY DID SHE DO IT???]|
|ALAN / GANDALF|
|COLIN, BACK AFTER A LONG SPELL AWAY|
|TOM, WHO IS CARELESS WITH HIS WALKING PARTNERS|
|UNICYCLIST, BALLOON TWISTER, AND OUR YOUNGEST CHALLENGER|
|AT THE START OF AN EXCITING NEW JOURNEY|
|NGUMO / CHARLES|
|ASK HIM WHAT HIS FATHER DOES|
|ROGER, WITH TEN *MASSIVE* CHALLENGES UNDER HIS BELT|
|HE'LL ALWAYS BE 'DOHA JIM'|
|THE EXCELLENT BILL OF LOCHCALLATER LODGE|
This is invariably a very late night with some Challengers finally getting to bed as the birds start up the dawn chorus. It's a wonderful night - not to be missed. Besides, lost sleep can be snatched on the long journey home the next day.