2011 ended on the sad note of John Towers’ death on 13 December and his funeral in Giggleswick on 30 December. It seemed no time at all since Graham and Sue Brookes and I had waved goodbye to him and Janet on 31 October after the annual TGO Challengers’ reunion in Fort William.
John had walked across Scotland 14 times on the TGO Challenge, with his twin brother David who has 21 crossings to his credit . The ‘Towers Twins’ are pictured above, with John on David’s right, possibly on the first occasion that I encountered them, at Inverness railway station on 8 May 2008. They are flanked by Bernard and Margaret Fowkes, who this year plan to complete their 20th TGO Challenge, at the ages of 83 and 80 respectively.
The TGO Challenge is populated by an ageing community, and it’s very sad when members of that community are lost. John had enjoyed a lifetime of achievements, but what came across at his funeral was a feeling that of all the considerable things he had achieved and enjoyed in his 79 years, the camaraderie and adventure (and indeed ‘Challenge’) of his annual walk across Scotland with his twin brother came very high up the list.
John was given a fine send off.