|Camera faff on the track from Skiddaw House|
I was woken on Day 2 of the Daunder by the sound of Alan Sloman’s vacuum cleaner. He was up early, apron on, clearing the debris of the previous evening’s party in Trinnie. As all Trailstar watchers know, theirs is one heck of a large footprint, and cleaning them out with a dustpan and brush would not suffice. Only a genuine Dyson cleaner is up to the job.
After a leisurely breakfast, washed down by a couple of titanium mugs full of tea, I was ready for the off at the appointed time of 9.30am. So were all the others. All except one. Croydon. He was scouring the ground all around the patch where his Laser Comp had been pitched. He had managed to lose one of his pegs. "Let’s bugger off and leave it" was the general consensus, but Croydon was not having any of this. “Search”, he commanded urgently, “search”. As we kicked aimlessly at the tussocky grass and heather he explained that this was not just any old tent peg. It was a special one. Not just because it was of a steely grey colour, one which would set my eyes off nicely, but it was also valuable. I think he said that he had bought a pack of 6 for about eight hundred quid and each one weighed little more than a thousandth of a gram. I suspect they must have been the latest type from the USA, made of kryptonite or somesuch. Time went on. Alan took charge. He started to calculate where the peg would have 'pinged' to, working out the wind direction, exact wind speed and the angle Croydon had stuck it in the ground the previous evening. But to no avail. There was no kryptonite in sight. After much fruitelss searching we dragged Croydon off on the walk.
It was grey, with low cloud and mist. Dry(ish), but still pretty windy. Yesterday’s schism may not have been forgotten, and resentment may still have been seething below the surface of those wearing orange PHD smocks, but it was now no longer being mentioned more than three or four times an hour. Thus, we acted like a well oiled machine and, in best TGO Challenge spirit, the team decided that the foul weather alternative (FWA) would be taken. I am not certain if it was the weather or the fact that the FWA went passed a pub that motivated some of my comrades. I merely have my suspicions that some felt that the team needed to be even more well oiled.
We headed along the track from Skiddaw House to Dash Falls where lots of pictures were taken. Phil reminisced fondly about the holiday he had been on when, aged 8, he had first visited these falls. After quite a bit of daundering ie sitting behind walls, we arrived at the road and turned left then right for Bassenthwaite Village and, ultimately, the Sun Inn.
I can be very naïve at times. I assumed the plan would be a quick pint, perhaps a bowl of soup, and then we would make tracks. We had a walk to complete. But it was now that I realised that I was with at least two others who wanted nothing more but to sup beer and whisky until dusk, and probably well beyond. I best not name names. There was almost another schism, but eventually Phil and Alan, having drained at least three pint glasses each, some whisky and then some more whisky, gallantly (that is a euphamism for 'reluctantly') agreed that we would leave before dark and we hit the road again. In Phil’s case this was literally. He claimed there was a pothole involved. Fortunately, no serious injury was sustained. At one point I suggested to Phil that he look back to a magnificent retrospect of Dash Falls. "What do I want to see that for again", he snapped. "I saw it when I was eight, and again this morning. That is quite enough for me". A less charitable mind than mine might have thought that Phil was still cross at his pub stop having been unnaturally curtailed.
We had originally planned to camp high on Lonscale Fell. The wind was still very strong and credit, where credit is due, Alan found us a good spot lower on the leeward side of the fell. We got our shelters out. Croydon had a big smile on his face "look chaps, that missing kryptonite peg was in my peg bag all along". Oh how we all laughed.
The wind gusted and the rain came and went but all was right with the world. Well our little bit of it at least.