Thursday, 10 July 2014

TGO Challenge Day 13: The End of the Affair

Distance 14km, Height climbed 186 metres, 2 hours 35 minutes. Weather: Lovely

 

Day 13: Route
"From mountain to sea the very best of Scotland" - that's the Challenge for you!

Confirmation of our navigation skills at St Cyrus


Last day of the 2014 Challenge. I was up early, as was John Sanderson, so we set off together to walk to the beach at St Cyrus. John kindly kept his pace to below his normal four minute mile and so I was able to keep up. It was possibly the best day of the fortnight weatherwise, fair and warm. The route to St Cyrus from Northwater Bridge isn’t spectacular but still perfectly pleasant, all along country lanes, excepting the track over the hill of Morphie and the cliff path down to the beach.
From the top of the cliffs
We shouldered our packs down to the beach rather than abandoning them at the top – well it wouldn’t feel right not to make sure your pack had done the full journey, coast-to-coast, shoreline-to-shoreline, would it?

Lovely St Cyrus beach: This must be one of the reasons so many Challengers finish here
And so we arrived at the beach, the end of our Challenge. We did the normal things that Challengers seem to do.  Being British we shook hands and mumbled "well done old chap" at each other.  Being in Scotland we had a slug of whisky from the hip flasks. Being at the sea in the sunshine we had a paddle (John bravely dipped bare feet in the water; I managed to get my trail shoes in). Being Challengers we marked our crossing with that circle in the sand thing. Being blokes we found two pretty young women, who happened to be walking their dogs on the beach, to take our photographs. 
I brave the cold North Sea
With John Sanderson - a great running companion

We then made our way back up the cliff path. As we left the beach we met the American group of Joe Valesko and his two colleagues from Z Packs, just arriving.  They all had unfeasibly small packs on. Having checked out Joe's gear list on the Internet I note his first aid kit weighs about 0.5 of a gram, which by my reckoning means it must contain about one paractamol and an Elastoplast. When we got to the top of the cliffs we heard a hollering and a whooping from far below us as the Americans did those high dive things slapping each others' (should that have an apostrophe?) hands, and then screams, and more whooping, and more a hollering as Joe took a dip and realised that the North Sea is slightly cooler than the waters round Florida. Johnboy smiled at all this, but my upper lip went decidedly stiff at all that palaver, I can tell you.


Then it was off to the café for morning coffee and cake before the bus to Montrose and Challenge Control to sign out. I’d finished a day earlier than planned. After some agonising the previous day I had decided not to hang around for the Challenge dinner but to get home and that is what I did.
Signing out at Challenge Control, Park Hotel, Montrose
That’s two Challenges under my belt. Will I enter again next year? Not certain. I shall touch on the reasons for this when I do my final post, with some reflections on the 2014 Challenge.


And it felt good



25 comments:

  1. It was a real pleasure walking with you during the last few days David. What a perfect day to finish, couldn't believe our luck with the weather.

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    1. Hi John
      By all accounts we certainly got the best day to finish. It was great to meet and walk with you and if I wasn't so slow I would suggest we meet up again for a trip!

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    2. I've learnt to walk at what ever pace the company and mood dictate Mr Fellbound. Plenty of other occasions to blast off the miles. Sometimes it's just nice to amble or linger.

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    3. Well do let me know if you ever fancy and amble or a linger!

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  2. Well done that man with the stiff upper lip. I saw one of the Zpacks tents blow down at Montrose, the only tent i saw in difficulty throughout the challenge. I don’t know why it should have done that unless it was pitched wrong. Any road, it was good to meet you along the way and maybe we can share plastic bag stories in 2016.

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    1. Good to meet you at last, too, Alan. Now I'm learning American and teenage I can say "plastic bags rock".

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  3. Well done old chap.
    Finishing in Wed was good for weather, because it was bloody horrid on the Thu.
    First Aid kits..
    I assume they are young, fit, and nothing goes wrong.
    My first aid kit weighs more than their entire pack.
    Of course I need to take enough tape to hold myself together for 2 weeks.
    And you are right.
    If you do not carry your pack from coast to coast, you have failed.
    I never understand why when people have carried it all that way, that they leave it somewhere for the last 400 metres.

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    1. I left mine somewhere for the 'first' 400 metres !! Blast.

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    2. I wasn't going to spill the beans, John.

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    3. My First Aid kit weighed in at about 300grams, mainly because of the various support bandages I carry for knees, thighs, the lot. I could probably ditch some Elastoplast, though and save myself about 5 grams.

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    4. John, IMHO you made up for your sin at the coast with your circular forest stroll on the way to Braemar from Mar Lodge.

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  4. i,ve really enjoyed reading your blog and i konw that i,ve taken the micky about you and this primula stuff .but it was all meant in good fun . anyway i hope you do enter for next years challenge so we can all read your brilliant style of writing .

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    1. Thanks Chris. Glad you have enjoyed the tale.

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  5. Great report although more on the extensive uses of Primula would have been very useful. Have you considered it as a replacement for the free Earwax for boots that we got in the Park?

    Nice route from an Oban start is through Glen Etive, across Rannoch Moor, then to Blair Atholl (bit of road walking), Glen Tilt to Mar Lodge ...

    I'd also recommend Ault-na-Goire and Glen Mazeran. Too many LRTs in the Monadliaths though but I think wind farms can be avoided.

    I think I'd like to experience a Sloman Cheese and Wine - so may plan a route to take that in.

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    1. Thanks Ian. Some might say that there was too much promotion of Primula in my posts but when you find something that good you can't help but mention it. What's this about free earwax at the Park/ I wasn't given any. Hmmm.

      I shall get the maps out in September, not that I've yet made up my mind I will enter,,,,,

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  6. Well Sir.

    Keep going with the stiff upper lip. At your age it's all you'll soon be able to manage...
    Good report.
    Chin chin!

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    1. Hmmmm. Mrs Fellbound has just read this comment, Alan, and is now walking round the house muttering "Soon? soon? I wish" No idea what she means.

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  7. Oh - And Ian
    Phil & I will take a look at next year's Cheese & Wine Party - it will probably be somewhere more remote than this year's.
    We'll let you know as soon as possible.
    :-)

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  8. Ian will only go to the Cheese and Wine if you promise that all the cheese will be of the cutable rather than the spreadable variety, you know. You could always pop along to Sail Beck at the end of April 2015 and dig up that cheese that you buried that Humph had given you and take that along. I understand all the grass and bracken in that area has already died back, by the way.

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  9. I shall make a point of bringing something Scottish and interesting. Cheese that is, not wine. There is, I believe, Scottish Birch Sap wine but I suspect it is to wine as Primula is to cheese.

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  10. Scottish Birch Sap Wine? That might nicely wash down a Primula Cheese wrap at lunchtime.

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  11. Superb trip report David. Enjoyed it all immensely. You expressed far better than I could, your thoughts on pack size, weights, what's comfortable, route choice, and generally enjoying yourself. I found myself nodding along. I loved my challenge this year, and I'm really pleased you enjoyed yours. Got to be 3 on the trot !

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  12. Hi John

    Thank you for your positive comments. Glad you enjoyed your Challenge, too. You certainly seemed to be when I saw you in the pub in Fort Augustus.

    I will almost certainly enter next year. Thinking at present of Strathcarron or Oban start but not fully decided.

    All the best and glad to see you are on Twitter now.

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