Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Thursday 10 May 2012 - TGO Challenge Day 0 - Montrose to Ardrishaig - A Rainy Day 'Up North'

After a sunny six hour drive to Montrose, with spring foliage and rape looking splendid in the bright light, we soon got into the 'Challenge Spirit' by way of a ritual encounter with three generations of the Fowkes family outside the fish 'n chip shop. Bernard, Margaret, Jackie and Emily, together with Emily's friend Lee, were all looking as chipper as ever. Bernard is nearing his 84th birthday. "This will be my last Challenge" he muttered, like a broken record.

Then JJ's valuables were dropped off at the Park Hotel, where the staff are, as always, looking forward to TGO Challenge fortnight, before we adjourned to spend a very pleasant evening with Alison R, who sends her best wishes to any readers who may know her. She was on excellent form.

Today Alison kindly gave us a lift to the station as it was, and many hours later still is, raining. It has been a thoroughly wet day, but a very jolly one. Seating on the train to Glasgow was a bit haphazard due to a freight train derailment, but the train was on time and the only mishap involved one of the heavier Fowkes rucksacks making an unexpected bid for freedom from the luggage rack, attacking three of us as it tried to escape from the clutches of its owner. Perhaps it knows what it's in for over the next two weeks!

Sue counted about sixty Challengers at Queen Street, plus a number of 'supporters', most of whom were provided with shortbread or brownies* to help them on their way.

It was great to renew many acquaintances here, but sad not to see Tim and Kate Wood, who have had to drop out due to Kate's illness. I'm sure we weren't the only ones to miss them. Our thoughts are with you, Tim and Kate.

After waving off most of the others on the 12.21 to Oban and Mallaig (including JJ, who appeared - dripping with anxiety - with about two minutes to spare), a short dash to Buchanan Street, via some last minute purchases at Tiso's and lunch in John Lewis's, found us with a select group, including our old friend Roger Boston, on Citylink's 2pm service to Campbelltown. It was another pleasant journey, despite the rain, on a posh bus.

Roger is pictured above, with various others whom I'll leave readers to try to identify, leaving the bus when we reached Ardrishaig at 4.45pm. Can you tell, I was struggling to get a picture for today - I should have taken one at Queen Street.

A dash up the wet street soon drew us to the welcome of the Grey Gull Hotel, where Sue and I have been treated to a huge family room in which to sort out our vast selection of gear for tomorrow's walk, which I've told Sue will be mainly flat and may feature a house warming party, for which she will of course be expected to provide the shortbread.

*I'm a proud man tonight after Jackie F offered me a position as 'brownie cook' at her high class café in Melbourne, Derby!


Bramble Corner said...

Good Luck to both of you! I shall be following with interest and thinking about you! Slightly envious too!
Lyn! Simon, Polly & Ben xxxx

Alistair Pooler said...

Good luck! I am very envious and will definitely be applying again next year!

Alan R said...

Thursday evening drive up to Broughton in Furness was in poor visibility and no tops to see. Friday, a mix of rain, sunny periods and its really nippy.
I expect your will be slightly worse than ours so best if luck, again, to you all.