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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

PreWalkDaunder 2019: The Langdales.

After walking the entire length of the platform at Kings Cross, I realised my brand new micro-fibre knickers were rapidly sliding downwards to the crotch of my trousers. Only a week earlier I had finally admitted to myself that perhaps I no longer owned the sylph-like 34" waist of the past thirty years and had sadly admitted to a plump 36". And so the order was placed.

Well, that went well.

We piled out of Phil's war machine at Long Preston and I was sold two pairs of the correct size of  Very Technical Knickers, silver lined and stretchy to hug my new-found petit derriere and various redundant accoutrements by the awfully nice people at Rohan. Whilst this expensive transaction was taking place, Phil, Andy & Mick - aka Lord Elpus, Mad'n'Bad and Croydon -  were taking tea just over the road, served by equally friendly staff.

NB: You can click on any of the photos and they will blow up to a droolingly lustful size.

CROYDON, LORD ELPUS & MAD'N'BAD TAKING TEA





Arriving at Baysbrown campsite in Great Langdale we found that the Advance Party - the VeryVeryNiceMan, the Commander and the Doc - had not pitched our lodgings. Slightly miffed by this lack of thought, we set to and within the matter of a moment soon had a place to stay.





THE DOCTOR



MAD'N'BAD



DOC & LORD ELPUS, WITH LANGDALE PIKES BACKDROP

After a deal of scratching around we found two responsible adults to convey us to the Britannia Inn in Elterwater, a favourite watering hole, for dinner.


A CHILLY START: CROYDON'S WENDY HOUSE


EMMA'S PHOTO SHOWS JUST HOW COLD IT WAS IN THE MORNING: CLICK TO ENLARGE

Trepidation; there's a thing. Since walking in to the Park Hotel in Montrose last May at the end of my TGO Challenge I have not once set out for a walk. No three miles a day. Nothing. Virtually everything in my brand new rucksack is new this year, the old stuff having been totally worn out, and all of the new seemed to be ever so slightly heavier than the replaced kit. 



But this was a Decent Daunder and David had put in a nice easy start to Little Langdale. Some stayed at the cafe for lunch whilst others pressed on to find the Three Shires Inn, a couple of pints and sandwiches. It wouldn't be a proper PWD if there were no schisms.

LORD E.






THE VVNM & THE DOC



DOC







CALL ME "'MA'AM"



CRINKLE CRAGS & BOWFELL, & EMMA


LORD ELPUS



PITCHED ABOVE RED TARN


PONDERING THE MEANING OF LIFE






Mr Walker is a fine fellow who positively enjoys hurling his ageing frame up mountains, that could so easily be bypassed by more sensible fellows. He had left us to fling himself up onto Pike o' Blisco and the blighter was still at Red Tarn before the main party. And he wonders why his knees are shot...

ANDY, EMMA & PHIL

However, this feat of athleticism was not enough for the old bird, and he gamely escorted the Doc back up to the top again. Mad'n'Bad. Well, mad certainly.

EMMA



MAD'N'LOVELY, REALLY



A GRIZZLED OLD-TIMER

Another night of well below zero and ice-plastered tents preceded a cracking second day. It's a tricky descent with heavy packs into Great Langdale and once gained the Daunderers split into two parties; one heading for the heights of the Pikes, the other heading first to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel for a Cumberland Sausage, mash, carrots and gravy, washed down with a couple of pints and coffee.

THE SUMMITEER PARTY


OLDER & WISE


HMM. JUST OLDER. 



CROYDON SPOTS A SHAPELY ANKLE



THE START OF SO MANY ADVENTURES


TACKLING THE PIKES, DIRECT




After taking decent breaks, Croydon, Lord E and I finally made the top of the climb and gambolled, some more gambolly than others, down to Codale Tarn where the Summiteers had found a suitable spot well above the riff-raff that was to appear later.

EMMA CRITIQUES ANDY'S TEENY PEE-POT








DUSK

Yes. Another well-below zero night. Because we're hard.

DAWN

The VVNMan had surpassed himself this morning. The route down Blea Rigg is quite charming. This was a busy Half Term yet we only met a handful of walkers all morning. The ground's interesting and the views extensive. Well worth another visit.

L>R: DAVID, EMMA, MICK, JUDITH, ANDY & PHIL


AS BEFORE BUT I'M IN EMMA'S SPOT. EMMA'S PHOTO, OBVIOUSLY



JUDITH


MICK


HARRISON'S STICKLE & PAVEY ARK


EMMA, SMILING AS ITS NEARLY OVER


ARTY PHIL






By this point, the VeryVeryNiceMan made his excuses and left for a dinner date with a gorgeous girl, apparently. Judith & Emma weren't put out in the slightest. Honestly.

PHIL ADDRESSING HIS CHARGES

Having taken command of the Daunder in David's absence, Phil then scuttles off, never to be seen again until the cafe in Chapel Stile. Obviously a born leader, giving his platoon some decent headroom.

Fortunately, Judith took the reins and shepherded her flock back down to safety in Chapel Stile.

A LIVING HERDWICK



CHAPEL STILE


COMMANDER BENCHMARK


EMMA, SHOCKED WE ALL MADE IT BACK


ASK HIM WHAT HIS DAD DOES FOR A JOB. I DARE YOU.

A round of applause to David for organising the route, dinner, and herding the cats so they all turned up on time. An excellent job. Another vote of thanks to Phil for all the driving to the Lakes and back to Grantham.

And lastly, heartfelt thanks to all the Daunderers themselves, who make this event such a joy. Life is full of vibrant colours and happiness when you're amongst their company.

Now then - there's the small matter of a walk across Scotland in a few weeks time. Will we be ready? Probably not, but I'm sure it will all turn out OK.


And finally, in the spirit of Old Mortality, here's some music.

15 comments:

  1. Looks like you could make a few bob doing portrait photography on the TGO dodging in and out of various people's routes snapping them in action then selling them the results at exorbitant prices - it could be an honourable cop-out from having to do the real thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good Lord! You shouldn't go putting thoughts like that into a chap's head, Conrad. I would have an excuse to visit all the watering holes i Scotland to track down all the miscreants who should be toiling under heavy burdens in the stormy westerlies...

      I hardly ever need an excuse to pursue those pleasures and now it's there, front and centre...

      Delete
  2. It was a fine event, crafted by a very very nice man.
    The company excellent.
    The weather wonderful.
    I have now refined my kit list (testing Tramplite Tent today to see if I take it or the Notch).
    I've even started packing re-supply parcels.
    And packed some kit into colour coded stuff sacks :-O
    Only a few weeks now before I head to Humphrey's in a car full of kit and musical equipment.
    Then just a short train journey, and just the matter of getting my knees across Scottishland again.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    Now, about Mick's tent in that first photo???? :-O

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christ on a bike, Andy! I've only managed to chuck a bag of very smelly washing into the machine today... The stench when you open a bag of fetid liner socks...

      I think it's cruel of you to point out Mick's poor camp-craft like that... It was the ice's fault.

      Delete
  3. Hmmm, some of the patients pictured appear well-knackered. I recommend medical or surgical intervention before attempting the Challenge next month

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I learned over the Daunder that The Doc barely made it when a child. Andy is held together by surgical mesh and his knees don't exist. Phil and I have been under the knife, chasing the Grim Reaper away at the last possible gasp. Mick is barely alive, and escapes certain death most weeks as a Football referee. This leaves David and Judith, who I can tell you, are Well 'Ard and cetainly capable of dealing the Reaper a sound kick in the cobblers.

      If we were to examine some of the Vetters, however...

      Delete
  4. Great report Alan - and look at all that blue sky. If you're not careful the daunder will soon be rivalling the Chally - and it's all your fault!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gordon

      I learned so very many years ago that it is *always* my fault. Plus ca change...

      Delete
  5. Good stuff Al. One question. How do you wear your gear out if you never wear it from one year to the other? Love the name Commander Benchmark. That team is one to be respected.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Al.

      The last time I spent real money on gear was 2006, in preparation for my LEJOG. (1700 miles in itself) I finally said goodbye to my faithful Patagonia Simple Guide Pants last year. My little stove (bought from Bob Cartwright) lasted until last year, as did my Design Your Own PHD's sleeping bag and down jacket. Socks, knickers, drybags, walking poles all have a limited life before they are U/S. My old camera proved to be beyond economic repair, etc etc etc...

      So this year it's been a binge gear-buying session.

      Hope you & Sheila are well, Sir.

      Delete
  6. We’ve had a tough year Al. Resulting in Sheila’s mams funeral this week. We should get some time to ourselves now. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry to hear that, Al.
      I'm sending good thoughts over to you both. It's a hard time.

      Delete
  7. Oi. Nobody told me about this post. How is a man supposed to check he's not being libelled if he's not on Twitter to find out that people are writing stuff about him? Anyway, this seems all ok, so I'll not need to contact my solicitors, Messrs Kneecap, Headbutt and Uppercut.

    Generally an accurate post, although I notice you didn't name the two Daunderers who headed off to the pub in Little Langdale whilst their more sober colleagues remained in the cafe.

    A super three days in great company. In my opinion the founder of these events deserves a knighthood. If that Chris Brasher got one for creating the London Marathon then why not?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uncle Roger and Hamish really, really should be at the top of that list. Thousands have had experiences and memories that will last their lifetimes because these two got together, and forty years later The Challenge is going from strength to strength.

      However, if they should turn down their gongs, then I would happily take on the role of Supreme Protector, dynamite all the wind turbines that litter poor, poor Scotland's wonderful landscapes, restore the appalling new roads that criss-cross previously wild land and crucify the bastards who promote them, leaving them to hang on a midge-infested cross amidst the carnage they have created.

      I will slowly, very slowly go through my little black book of fools who have pissed me off royally over the years and ensure a lingering horrible slow death to them all. The slowness is important here, as the pissers-off will get to hear of their fate and wonder when the Grim Reaper will appear.

      It's as well that I'll be Supreme Protector. Just imagine the possible carnage caused by Lord E's elevation to this role.

      Now then. I heard a rumour that you quite fancied this position. These giddy , wild aspirations must cease, forthwith, or you'll be contacted by Messrs Grabbit and Scarper, baseball bat to the Crown.

      Delete
    2. Supreme Protector? As you ought to know I plan to be Supreme Ruler. 'Protector' sounds warm and cuddly, despite your plans. 'Ruler' sounds far more malevolent and scary, and much more fun. One can't stay veryverynice for ever, you know.

      Delete

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