Tuesday, 1 July 2014

TGO Challenge Day 12: All Tucked In, and a Sad Confession

Distance 27km Height climbed 217 metres. 6 hours 30 minutes. Weather: Much the same.

The North Esk just down from Tarfside

Day 12 Route: Part 1
Day 12 Route: Part 2

I breakfasted at the tent then went off to feast my face on bacon rolls and mugs of tea at St Drostan's. 

"Why did you eat so many bacon rolls, mister?"

"Because they were there, that's why".

The bridge over the North Esk has been closed by the landowner who claims it is dangerous. A cynic might think he had other motives. Some Challengers, I understand, now ford the river here.  I saw no point in this, there being a perfectly good bridge a couple of miles downstream, so I set off along the road towards the Retreat. Soon after a miracle occurred. I actually caught up with another Challenger who was walking even more slowly than me. It was Gordon Green, and it wasn’t really a miracle. It was simply that Gordon had a very poorly and painful foot. Oh yes, I can walk faster than a man in intense pain. I walked with Gordon for a while, until Seb Coe and Steve Ovett arrived, and I then broke in to a sprint and tagged along with them for the rest of the day.

John and Ian crossing the bridge over the mighty North Esk River. Ian is poised and ready to sprint on along the track.
We crossed the river and then took the footpath along the south-west side of the river towards Edzell.  Our progress was so fast that we whizzed passed, without seeing, the bridge that would have taken us to the ‘Blue Door Route’ and also the path that would have led us off road and enabled us to by-pass the might conurbation of Gannochy. To my eyes, these spots on the route were just a speed crazed blur.

Edzell was reached in good time, with its renowned café, The Tuck Inn, and an early lunch / third breakfast beckoned.  There then followed a trip to the butcher’s shop, which sells pies to die for. Fortunately, we didn't need to, we just got our wallets out and tucked in to another lunch.

Eating fried stuff before we hit the pie shop

Day 12: Route Part 3

What a change a day can make to the scenery

North Water Bridge campsite

How do I fit in that tent?

Alan Rayner rubs his hands with glee at spotting an unattended hip flask

Then it was along more tracks, and that long straight road, and more tracks to the camp site at North Water Bridge, to be joined by a fair few Challengers over the next couple of hours. That evening we all sat around a roaring camp fire singing songs. I made that up. We sat at the picnic tables and chatted and had the odd snifter until Zebedee sprang up and told us it was time for bed.

Finally, on a serious note, I have to express my gratitude to readers who have expressed concern and support for me over my possible addiction to Primula Cheese spread.  This is no laughing matter.  Like many substance abusers I have found myself covering this up for a long time, whilst secreting tubes of the stuff around the house – in the bottom of my sock drawer, in the toilet cistern (Primula tubes are watertight) and so on. I believe that the first stage of treatment is to admit to the problem. Hence these blog posts. I have done some extensive research on the Internet and think that fellow sufferers would benefit from the following information from the webbed thing:

"The cause, apparently, is casomorphins - protein fragments, derived from the digestion of the milk protein, Casein.  The distinguishing characteristic of casomorphins is that they have an opioid effect. Dependence can develop, leading to withdrawal syndromes with abrupt discontinuation. Opioids are well known for their ability to produce a feeling of euphoria, motivating some to recreationally use opioids." 

There it is. Out in the open. I confess. I am a recreational user of Primula Cheese.

For those of you worried that you might be following on that same sad footpath of physical and psychological degeneration from which I am now seeking escape, here is a useful link to a website in which you can learn more about this terrible peril. It catalogues the stages of addiction, which include a desperate need for more cheese, a rejection of other food stuffs, nightmares, hallucinations, a belief that everyone else is walking faster than you are, and an obsession with alpine cow bells. My simple advice is, therefore, vary your lunchtime diet, do not eat Primula on more than two consecutive days, and seek help before it takes control of your life. Hey, and let's be careful out there.

JJ, Johnboy, Alan, Ian and Rob Jones


  1. Are John and Ian related?
    Look again at the picture of the pair of them on the bridge over the North Esk.
    A genetic link might explain the speed at which they travel and their predisposition towards tube encased dairy products.
    I suggest a cull - something quick and painless, to stop this gene being passed on to future Challengers. Or is it too late?

    1. I would like to quash any rumours or speculation about my parentage. My mother assures me that my Scottish genes are a throwback to a family line from the Western Highlands several hundred years ago, and are in no way linked to any drunken episodes in the mid-sixties.

      And as I have not sired any offspring myself, and there will be no descendants who will inherit this fine pair of walking legs, could I suggest that a cull could just result in unnecessary bloodshed.

  2. "Keep up at the back, there" as Ian and John might have said to me, but I certainly have to say to you, Alan. You clearly have not been paying close attention to my posts. I distinctly recall explaining in earlier submissions that Ian has never eaten Primula in his life, him being a lover of fine foods. He does, however, think it suitable for relieving aching, sweaty feet.

    On your other point, they didn't admit to being related, but now you suggest it there is a clear physical similarity. I think a DNA test may be in order....and possibly their joint appearance on the Jeremy Kyle show. "My long lost dad finally reappeared, smeared me with Primula Cheese and frog marched me across Scotland".

  3. Due to your confession of primula abuse does this mean that you will now be seeking help in the guise of primula anonymous or will you go cold turkey which i hear is good with primula :-)

    1. You can have too much cold turkey, Chris. As I say every year on 28th December.

  4. Having just returned from a brief sojurn in the land of Camembert, Roquefort and Chevre, I absolutely must allay any doubts that I am a Primula lover. Primula bears the same relation to cheese as Coca-Cola does to cocaine. Never let it be said that I am closed minded - I have actually tried Primula as a foodstuff - once but NEVER again. However, it's oleaginous nature makes it ideal as a foot cream and perhaps even for other purposes where a lubricant is required.

    1. Hello Ian. I will not ask how you know that your Coca-Cola and cocaine analogy is true! I am now off to get my dictionary out to look up 'oleaginous'.