Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Friday, 18 January 2008

Friday 18 January 2008 (Part 2) - TGO Challenge 2008 – An Efficient Vetting Process

It has all happened within a few days of submission. Alan Hardy’s comments have been considered and implemented where appropriate, and our route now incorporates a couple of Corbetts. How could we have missed those? Because that day we were following the sun until mid morning and 'bearing left'; we really needed to turn sharp left to reach the Corbetts! How very silly of us; no doubt we will make many similar such blunders 'in the field'. We've therefore decided to take a whistle, and you may notice from the previous post that we now have a fancy 'Starflash Mirror' to guide rescuers towards us. Once scouts, always scouts!
The amended route is again shown in outline above and the statistics are now as follows (ie very little change):
Distance: 323 km (202 miles) [2007: 343 km (214 miles)]
Ascent: 12500 metres [2007: 12950 metres]
Munros: 16 [2007: 2]
Corbetts: 2 [2007: 8]
Grahams: 1 [2007: 2]
Other Marilyns: 0 [2007: 1]
This will certainly be a much more sociable route than my Corbetteering effort last year. Who’s for a beer in Braemar on Sunday 18 May? Whilst the initial list bears lots of familiar names, it’s a shame to hear that (Podcast) Bob and Rose won’t be on the Challenge, and nor will Andy and Kate.
Next year perhaps!

Friday 18 January 2008 - Backpackinglight.co.uk – Incomparable Service

Yesterday the DP and I finally got around to ordering a few bits and bobs for the imminent trip that is in fact the reason for starting this blog. So we scoured Bob and Rose’s website (and mouse control test!) to order some sundry items that will help to keep our possessions dry, protect from bugs and provide the DP with a temporary sex change for a certain function.
During the day we received messages confirming:
1. Order received
2. Order processed, and
3. Goods despatched.
And today the said goods were delivered at about 9 am, well within 24 hours of us first thinking about ordering. Excellent.
Even more efficient than Tower Ridge were last month (to be fair they were excellent as well). But unlike Tower Ridge, Bob and Rose had added the usual CD, which the DP will transfer to her shiny new ipod, and some items for us to field test. These should be extremely useful, as where we are going the annual rainfall is about 5 metres, mainly at this time of year. Which seems quite a lot! We will also enjoy the Fun Gums despite their very short half life!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Thursday 17 January 2008 - The End of a 36 Year Relationship

Today I strolled unescorted into Grant Thornton’s Manchester offices for the last time. In future I’ll be a visitor. I am completely free to do whatever I want. But I have no income for the time being! How about a cheap walk across Scotland? And a few trips that have already been paid for?
I couldn’t have wished for a better team of people to work with, but they have managed without me, more or less, for a while now, and all good things come to an end; nobody is indispensable.
What I have appreciated is a continuing, albeit diminishing, flow of work after I left their employment four years ago. But now that flow has ceased and I have handed the dregs to Jason, who is more than capable of whizzing off the odd spreadsheet etc that I used to do.
Thank you, all at GT, and all the very best wishes to you for a happy and successful 2008 and beyond.
I think I’ll just head off into the Sun (NOT the sunset!) for now. I’ll buy you a beer when I get back…

Wednesday 16 January 2008 - A Postcard from Timperley

Since I do notice Google searches for ‘Postcards of Timperley’ being directed to this blog, this is where we live. It’s a postcard of Timperley. Not very exciting I know (except for the man on a roof - but given the low resolution of the blog images that will be a bit like 'spot the ball'), but for some it fills in a small piece of a jigsaw. Terry, at our local (Park Road) Post Office, will be pleased to sell commercially produced postcards of Timperley from his vast stock. Visit him now before he sells out!

Tuesday 15 January 2008 - Sir Edmund Hillary (1919 – 2008)

It would be remiss of me to ignore the death last week of Sir Edmund Hillary. His moment of fame came on 29 May 1953, when he and Sherpa Tenzing were the first men to reach the summit of Everest (assuming Mallory and Irvine didn’t make it).
I think I have a vague recollection of the event, but I was too young to clearly recall it. A glance at my bookshelf indicates that over the years I have collected a couple of copies of John Hunt’s ‘The Ascent of Everest’, including a first edition. Oh to find the time to read it again – it may be my previous reading of the book that makes me think I can recall the actual event.
I’m not qualified to comment of Hillary’s life, but his achievements are recorded here, Wikipedia has a comprehensive entry here, and Cameron McNeedsaSpellcheckerNeish has written a piece here. I found them all worth reading.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Sunday 13 January 2008 - Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

It’s 1.30 pm, and the DP and I are joined by Andrew in the small, cold, chairless porch of Elton Parish Church. Andrew tucks into his Service Station Sandwich whilst we munch on Anonymous Pate tucked into aging slices of bread. It’s drizzling outside and we leave our waterproofs on. They cling to the damp clothing beneath. There is nowhere to place our mugs of tea, so they sit on the stone floor, gathering cold drips.
Richard and Jenny, we know, have brought butties. Why aren’t they suffering with us? Ah well, it would have been a tight fit in here, anyway.
This was lunchtime on Sue W’s first Peak District Bimble of the year, cleverly planned to start at Friden at 10.30, thereby enabling the organisers to sleep in until 10 am, whilst the other members of this gang of 12 fought their way from various parts of the Midlands and the North. “Happy New Year”s briefly pervaded the gloom. Whilst it was vaguely dry at the point of departure, I needed to put my waterproofs on to protect my hat from blowing away. Soon the dullness deteriorated into drizzle, but it was nice to see everyone. Richard was enthusiastic as we passed the brick factory. His family was one of the Great Brick Making Dynasties. That is, until the firm went bust some years ago. He explained that the bricks made at Friden include refractory bricks that withstand great temperatures, etc etc…!
I’d done a small A5 laminated card with what I thought was the intended route, and this worked well whilst the others couldn’t be bothered to get their maps out.

But after reaching the lane (pictured above) that turns into a quiet road to Middleton, Sue and Phil took over with their plan. The main road was quiet and the farm lane was ok, but as we wound our way around the beautifully landscaped Mount Pleasant Farm, and down to Smerill with the expansive view shown below, Sue began to limp. Quite Badly. So Phil turned back to retrieve their transport and I had my rather pathetic little map to guide the rest of us to Elton for lunch.

We set off into a deep bog, foolishly ignoring a bemused looking Graham who had been here before and knew a way around it. But we, not he, were on the path. Richard heroically dislodged a bucket of sheep feed that had metamorphosed into a dam. We could now walk through the bog, rather than wade through a lake.
Turning right at a lane end we took, for the sake of Sue’s poorly leg, a direct route to Elton via Rock Farm. My navigation was a little too direct and deviated from the path. I must get out of this awful habit of leading people up seemingly nice farm tracks that turn into deep slurry!
We thankfully regained a path that was simply boggy at Rock Farm, for the stroll into Elton, via water troughs that were turned into slurry troughs by our shitty boots. At some point Jenny fell over, apparently on the only piece of proper soft grass we saw all day! I hope she has recovered.
After our little sojourn in the church porch, the three paupers joined the rest of the group in the Elton café, where about 50 people were crammed in for Sunday lunch with steaming mugs of tea. Richard and Jenny had cheated; they had kept their butties for tomorrow and were tucking into a sumptuous lunch… The pub next door was empty! The Tea Rooms are a walkers and cyclists’ paradise, full of character with old advertising signs adorning the walls, a grandfather clock in the corner and a National Cash Register to record sales. There was nowhere for us to sit, and we had already had our lunch, but the others would be here for some time yet. So when someone finally left, we decided on dessert. Both the carrot cake and the cherry crumble with custard and ice cream were superb, and the others had enjoyed the rest of their food. So, when walking in the Peaks, try this place. But don’t bring butties, and arrive early.It was nearly 2.30 by the time we re-emerged into the murk. Sue and Phil (our leaders) drove off, leaving us to walk down the lane to the start of Gratton Dale (Sue said the footpath option would be ‘messy’.) Once in the dale route finding was no problem, we just had to walk up the path. Unfortunately the ‘path’ had been usurped by a stream, so we were consigned to its boggy verges. If we thought the morning’s route had been uncomfortable this was really unpleasant. (See the top picture.)
Now my knees started to pain me, and Mike kept bending over and breathing deeply, showing signs of fatigue after Christmas excesses. At the head of the dale an obvious right turn took us into Long Dale for the supposedly simple walk back to Friden. Tea Lady shot off, keen to get home in time to do the six hours daily revision that appears to be in her ‘Retraining as a Medic’ routine. The rest of us plodded on, thankfully on firmer ground, and the DP pleased everyone by handing round a large tub of Caramel Shortbread (or should that be a tub of Large Caramel Shortbread?).
We arrived at a junction and ignored the main path – it went uphill. So we followed a wall and came out by a wood at another junction. Tea Lady reappeared, unable to divine her way back to her car, or was it the prospect of some emergency first aid practice – administering to Mike, now almost permanently doubled up from acute exhaustion. I took a bearing. “It’s over this collapsed gate”. Those with 1:25000 maps should have checked. My scrap of 1:50000 didn’t show the detail, and we splodged off in roughly the right direction but on the wrong side of a wood. All went fairly well, via broken down walls and unlikely gates, until the final bit of road bore into sight. The wood was in the way. We bravely fought our way through what appeared to be the remnants of WW2 defences into and out of the barbed wired and loosely walled bracken filled strip (not a patch on last Wednesday’s ‘Forest Experience’). Dusk descended as we regrouped back at Friden just a little way down the road.
Sadly, I have no flora and fauna to report on this walk, they were all lying very low today. I wonder why?

Here’s the route, should anyone be brave enough to follow in our footsteps. Actually it would be good in dry conditions with a 1:25000 map. It’s about 18 km with 450 metres of ascent, and took us 5½ hours including the hour for lunch.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Saturday 12 January 2008 - TGO Challenge – Draft Route Submitted

Well, the ToDo List has gained a Big Tick today, with our route having been considered in depth and submitted to Uncle Roger.
I doubt whether we will have the same vetter as last year, the superb Ian Shiel, as Ian has been in hospital to try to sort out a recurring sciatica problem. I’m sure all who know him will join us in wishing him the very best and a speedy and full recovery.
This year’s route, shown in outline below (we will of course be memorising the detail and using just this map – and of course The Sun – to aid our Bimble across Scotland in search of Cake Stashes and Cheese and Wine Parties) conceals the following statistics:
Distance: 326 km (202 miles) [2007: 343 km (214 miles)]
Ascent: 12500 metres [2007: 12950 metres]
Munros: 16 [2007: 2]
Corbetts: 0 [2007: 8]
Grahams: 1 [2007: 2]
Other Marilyns: 0 [2007: 1]
A highlight will no doubt be our crossing of The Monadhliath. After much debate and poring over the maps we have decided on the day of the crossing to rise early and follow the sun until mid morning, when we will bear left and continue in that direction to a river. Here we will set up camp and consume cheese, wine and cake. The second day (or third, if it takes that long) will be similar, starting with a brisk swim and ending at a town where we can relate our adventures in a bar.
Enjoy the Message Board, everyone…