This photo sits on a chest of drawers in our bedroom. It's a reminder of Happy Days with a group of UMIST contemporaries. I've mentioned Bogle Stroll previously in this posting.
The picture was taken outside the Red Lion in Withington at lunchtime on Sunday 8 March 1981, that establishment being a rendezvous (de-briefing and re-hydration) point for UMIST Hiking Club's 'Mad Ones' Bogle teams and supporters over a period of many years.
Five of the above - Dave, Ian, Ken, Ruaridh and Nick, will be sent a link to this posting. Sadly John and Laurie are no longer with us. Cathy, Graham and Andy may be around somewhere, but not in touch, and I'm not sure about Julian, who I think may be a fellow TGO Challenger, though I've not met him on that event. Maybe Sue O will help track him down?
I'm indebted to Nick for providing the diary entry for this 1981, 55 mile, event. At the time I was hampered by an ear injury sustained on Cul Beag on 22 February, and I have tinnitus from that injury to this day, but at least it's now below the pain threshold.
In those days none of us recognised the word 'training', so walking 55 miles overnight on pavements with no preparation was something of a challenge.
Here, I'll insert Nick's remarkably detailed 'Stream of Consciousness' that offers a very good 'feel' for the event. I bet you never expected this, Nick - and it's not a by-product of 'Lockdown', having been sitting in the pending tray for many months. Then I'll provide the stats for the team at the foot of your diary entry:
Bogle Stroll 1981 - by Nick
The weather forecast - prolonged showers, rain and more rain. Dave said he thought it would be the wettest one yet (he being a veteran of five previous attempts - were they all successful?) Much discussion of numbers of previous attempts, Martin beating all hands down, having walked it even in years when it was cancelled. He still managed to get lost in
Wigan in ‘80 though!
No I didn’t - that was Dave, Nick (yourself), Chris Coates and Ken - not me. M
White bands were pinned to trouser knees and Bogle tabards were decorated or discarded.
Clothing was discussed and ridiculed - anything from full winter hiking gear including cagoule, overtrousers, rucksack and woolly hat, down to shorts and a jumper were in evidence. The diarist stuck to the old faithful Damart long johns disguised by old school trousers; however, he had some misgivings later. The diarist had an insatiable desire to be a graffitist so took a newly stolen black felt tip pen along for some inexplicable reason.
As already seen, The 'Mad Ones' Team were numbers 1000 to 1009 so were destined to be amongst the first to set off at the amazingly early time of 10.45 pm. After a long speech from a Miss K Buckle in the Renold quiet room, we trekked and heaved and pushed our way through hundreds of prospective Boglers up to the LAH.
After less incompetence than usual, we set off at about 10.50 pm.
Ruaridh roared off at a steady jog down the stairs, obviously aiming to break his ankles and skive off before he even started!
Martin had suggested a team effort with all of us walking together, but this failed to materialise. We set off at a steady jog, meeting our first hecklers at
Princess Street. Ian was hugged but
managed to recover. Down Whitworth
Street, Ruaridh and Laurie now pulling slightly
ahead, with the diarist trailing slightly. Others had given up the jog as we
hit the A57.
The next four or five miles through Eccles proved fairly eventful, though luckily not for the diarist. While negotiating the roundabout by
the diarist was caught up by a track suited first timer who seemed pretty keen.
He didn’t know the way, so the diarist, being an energetic sort of chap, and
pretty generous, at least at this stage, decided to jog along with him. The
local populace did not yet seem to have woken up to Bogle at that stage, so
apart from a few shouts we escaped unscathed. Others were not so lucky -
Ruaridh enjoyed a dance with a native; Andy and Julian got attacked. Andy was
kicked so hard he nearly had doubts about carrying on (but he made it, he’s
British); and a woman nearly collapsed in front of Martin (who wouldn’t?) off
down by the Hope Hospital (for indeed ‘tis a
branch of same) towards Worsley. Bridgewater
The diarist was apprehended for a match by a crew-cutted local yokel, but declined the invitation (he was after a Bryant and May).
Up to the roundabout at Worsley and onto the A572. A signpost beckons: “Walkden 2 miles” (or about 40 if you’re Bogling was the thought through the diarist’s mind). A few early support cars were gathered by the church here, their occupants getting ready for a long night. 2 miles to the first checkpoint at the Standfield Centre, Boothstown. Dazzling lights and tables of food and drink awaiting the later massed blistered hordes.
Past the signpost: “
Wigan 9”. Quick calculations for ETA - some time around
Crossing the A580 to Mosley Common, the first sign of support - a flashing red light, and it’s atop a white Renault 5 containing Jeggers and Mr G Forder ACMA (nearly), veteran of 4? previous Bogle supports. The diarist is thankful, for they are to be the Mad Ones support - at least we should get some support this time! Along the A577. Orange juice was imbibed then along through “home” ground, just passing the launderette when, through the first drops of rain appeared a white-jumpered Buckle. “Is this the right place?”, said she, having sprung from a nearby support car. “Yes”, replied the diarist, forgetting that there was another support about half a mile back down the road.
Anorak was donned. Surely this rain won’t last, it’ll be pretty miserable if it does.
Tyldesley was shiny - no noise from the mill as it wasn’t working.
Past Hindsford to Atherton and the next checkpoint. Here was more support - with swearing in evidence. Grapefruit juice and more rain. Past
Mealhouse Lane - time about 01.00. Out of
Atherton and over a bridge over a disused railway. Those two I passed in
Atherton have dropped back now. Across some open ground and then along to Hindley.
The rain slowed a bit - I remember it started drizzling here last year (or was
it the year before?). Under a couple of railway bridges, offering temporary
respite from the pouring monotony. Splodging through the puddles. Are my feet
wet? Wriggles toes - yes. Only about 37 miles to go. Hit Ince - signpost “ Wigan 1”. Over the canal. Treat this bit with suspicion -
wasn’t there a canal near where we got lost last year? There was no-one else
around. Carried on, turning the familiar last corner before “Wigan” to see not
just one but two Hiking Club support cars, but only one having the flashing
light. Luckily Mad Ones support there - well done.
Thankfully picked up cagoule - keep the rain out. Drink orange, mars bar, apple. “Good luck.” “Where are the others?” “Not far ahead.”
Oh yeah. Down the wet streaming hill, tower blocks on the left. I remember seeing a lone Bogler limping slowly down here one year and feeling pity.
Yes, nearly here - Wigan Little Theatre on the right. There’s the car park, a few lights, some trestle tables. Where’s the checkpoint? A tranny van and a removal van. “Are you the checkpoint?” Door slides back... “What’s your number?” (Voice from inside) “Have you got a pen?”
“I’ll try and remember.”
On in the wet. Cagoule zipped up. Feel quite comfortable. Where did we get lost last year? Plenty of people around. No Boglers. Aim for the A49. Follow the Bogle signs. Red pen on white background - not very easy to see.
I don’t recognise this piece of road - could be the A49. Where’s the place I joined it last year?
Time 03.00. Here we are, quite a large open junction - that’s where I came on. Recognise the trees where I heard the first birds one year. Very few sounds now though. Who’s that in front? Got a white band on the leg. Brown anorak. Rain lashing again. There are now houses built on the right where one year there was a muddy call of nature. It’s Laurie, going quite slowly. A quick chat. “Ruaridh roared off and I was feeling a bit unfit. I’ve done no walking, only cycling, and have developed the wrong muscles.”
See you later perhaps... now where’s Ruaridh?
Along to a bus shelter at Standish. Here’s Ruaridh MCP, talking to Cathy, and Nick Giles shows me a primus - it won’t go he says. Goodbye to that cup of coffee. Apple and mars bar, drink of squash. Walk off with Ruaridh for the nocturnal crossing of Coppull Moor.
This is the first great happening of the Bogle, according to some authorities. Do you fancy a bit of a jog? Okay. Rain not too bad for a while. Now, can Ruaridh jog in his shoes? My feet are wet and I can feel the great toe and the ‘index toe’ of my left foot rubbing together. Jogging doesn’t feel too bad, but Ruaridh’s ankle is troubling him. Here’s that bend where, when I carried my radio in the first year, I heard that the first person had finished.
Where’s the checkpoint? It used to be at the Seven Stars Hotel. Oh yes, there’s the cheating short cut off to
Chorley. The checkpoint next. Again
nothing set up but two in a tranny van say they will try to remember our
The lights run out soon. There’s the last street light. No rain? Very dark. We walk in the road. How far is the next checkpoint? How far to the Hiking Club foodpoint? We’ve been caught up by a couple. Discuss the nocturnal crossing in past years, as this couple haven’t done it before. We’re past half way now. There’s our food point - the red light district of Charnock Richard!
Ruaridh’s stopping to chiropodise his foot. I’ll carry on - no point in hanging around to get colder and wetter (is it possible to get wetter?).
Set off then stop to take a goddam leak (shades of Catcher in the
- what a book for Chrissake). Rye
There are those two again - a girl with an orange cagoule (Astros) with a lad who looks to be having trouble keeping up.
Not far now to the turn off to
Chorley. Downhill to the River Yarrow
then a long climb up to the turn off, stone wall on the left hand side then
another upward gradient over the
- Euston main line. Past a few shops and houses. A pub with doors shut. No milkmen
here yet this year. Down and up and down and up hills. Glasgow
There’s that field where the OTC had their breakfast gear set out one year.
Up past the cemetery - I wouldn’t fancy living in those houses there right next to it. There was a checkpoint here last year. I had some horrible instant chicken soup. It’s dark and raining - too early to see people out walking their dogs this year. Where’s the checkpoint going to be?
Follow that blue Tranny van down a side street. Where the hell is this? There’s that van again, talk to those two again. The girl in orange is looking for a loo and hopes there will be food here. There isn’t, but they say there might be “if you want to wait about half an hour”. Sure. They don’t even have a check list or a pen. I produce my graffitising pen and remove the top. The girl in the tranny tried to take the top off again, and got black fingers!
It’s 5am and raining and now we can’t find our way back to the A6. I tell the orange girl I think there are some loos soon - she wants food and is feeling pretty dischuffed with Bogle non catering. “People run it every year don’t they?”
Regain the A6 (sorry, gain it). See all the pelican crossings. I regret mentioning toilets as I realise there aren’t any. Turn left at the mini roundabout. See the signpost, to
22 miles. Manchester
Leave the couple. Down hill and try a jog. Left foot hurting a little. Is the shoe ok? There’s the Norweb training school on the right. Lots of trees on the left so the orange girl should be able to improvise.
Not far to the next club food point. Used to be an old transport car park, but that’s been built on now. Where will they be? See the traffic lights ahead. Cross the road. There’s the car - is it? No response. Decide I’m okay anyway. Bogle support car comes past - Are you okay? Fancy a couple of Dextrosol? Yeah, sure. Cheers mate.
Right through the traffic lights. Many people have dived into these trees in past years. Here’s that lay-by where I was given an apple once. Tasted great.
Liverpool canal just to the right there.
Adlington’s the next call. There should be that short stretch of dual carriageway beforehand. There’s the knitting factory. No cars around.
Hit the dual carriageway. There’s a car pulling up behind me? Who is it? I know them - must be supporting the Chandos team. Discuss my position - must be about fifth or sixth? At least I’m the first of the TDHHC lot. It’s still dark. Will I manage the legendary crossing of Blackrod by night? Yes, down through Adlington, past Fairclough’s, and the PC on the right (too far to walk). Then out go the lights. Echoes of the past - “.... I remember the long haul up Blackrod”, as reminisced by many Boglers recalling their first time. Climb higher up and there’s the M61. Anderton services soon in view. Blue tranny roars past. The lay-by. Blue tranny with head Bogle organiser in front in blue Cortina estate. Try to give my number in. Anyone interested in taking numbers? Can I have some of this water? Two semi-heavies carry on unloading tea brewing apparatus. “You’ll have to go to the lead car.” This then drives off of course. Ah well, sod ‘em all.
Off into the dark, well, it’s getting lighter. The rain seems to have stopped. My left foot is hurting a bit. Stop and tighten lace. That’s worse. Loosen it and wriggle my toes - was that sole off centre? Yes, my right foot’s okay. A bit of a breeze. Stop and bend down - relieve legs. Take off my cagoule. If I fold and roll it I can tie it around my waist. Do it. Continuing to reach a lay-by before a turn off to Horwich. Welcomed by Jeggers and GF ACMA (nearly). “Would you like to sit down?” pipes up from a bright blue duvet jacket and brighter red dungarees. Succumb to the invitation and drink a really excellent cup of tea and eat a mangled but similarly welcome jam butty.
Sensibly (as I later discovered) I decided not to leave my cagoule there - it started to rain again soon afterwards. Batteries recharged and eating my second Bogle apple I set off with the added impetus that I was pretty near being one of the first few along the course and certainly the first of TDHHC. Where was Martin? Where was John? This road now familiar, both from driving and from previous Bogles.
Occupied brain by trying to remember what were the salient features of the route ahead. How many roundabouts? Where are the traffic lights? How many before I reach Four Lane Ends, home ground in recent times? Here’s the part with the low level pavement and fence next to the road. Not long to the turn off to Westhoughton, then there’s Metal Box on the left hand side with the White Horse opposite - that pub we went to where they didn’t have food on Sunday lunchtimes.
Sit down just near the turn off to Westhoughton. The paper shop’s just opening. There’s an old bloke delivering papers. Not many so old around on papers, that I’ve seen at least.
Reluctantly get up. There’s someone behind me, wearing red. Continue along past ‘the motel’, but it’s all closed and there’s no trace of any support there - . Oh yes, it’s been moved along the road a bit now to the next roundabout, the turn off to
Bolton. It’s Ruaridh wearing his red cagoule. “Another
friendly face at last.” His foot’s still giving him some aggro, but we continue
on the right. This is the part where on my first attempt we had to walk in the
road because of the snow on the pavement. Four Lane Ends with the two pubs on
opposite corners - The Red Lion (Tetleys) and The Hulton Arms (Greenall Whitley
but good basket meals on Sunday lunchtimes). Hulton Park
On another mile to the last of the A6 roundabouts, a small one by junction 4 of the M61. Slight pause behind some bushes soon afterwards.
Not much jogging now!
As we approach Little Hulton, we see the sign to tell us we’ve reached the Borough of Worsley in the City of
- not far to go. At the next traffic lights we see a water sports shop and
contemplate going in for a wetsuit each (not really, but we could have). Only
1.5 miles from this junction across to the outgoing route before Tyldesley. Salford
Ruaridh reassured by this. Plod, plod, plod. It’s stopped raining again. I think I’ll leave my cagoule behind at Walkden. It doesn’t matter too much if it rains again after that, and it’ll be less convenient if it doesn’t rain.
The Tesco car park at Walkden. It’s 8.45. Jeggers wants a loo and the PC isn’t open yet. She’s waiting for Tesco to open, but I’m sure there isn’t one in there. I haven’t the heart to tell her though.
Ruaridh stops for foot repair work again. I continue after another drink. Is this the devil I see behind me? No, it’s John with a pal, both of whom have been running more or less since Blackrod. John mumbles something about having wanted to catch up the ones at the front, that is - me at least. They jog on. I try but fail. It’s raining again. Hard.
A long straight road, passing under two motorway bridges, bits of the M61 and M62 respectively. Now on through Swinton. It’s chucking it down. Shops on the left hand side. Quite a few shoppers out. So these have to be dodged unfortunately. When the road widens out I feel lost. This part never feels familiar.
Catch up John and his pal. John’s wandering around all over - is he drunk, and if so, how? Not far to the last checkpoint now. John et al off again, but not me. Catch up again outside the Pendlebury Children’s Hospital. They’ve stopped for an adjustment of footwear, and John’s not sure of the revised route from now on.
I’d got a dry map at Walkden, but on examining it, it’s nearly as wet as the first one! No one at the Swinton checkpoint, so I write our numbers on the table with my graffitising pen. Also the legend “TDHHC ROOL OKAY”.
As we approach the roundabout/junction at Irlams o’th’height we are waylaid by a Bogle van who wanted our numbers, at least its occupants did. The pal, in a stripey rugby shirt decided he didn’t like the idea of following Bogle signs under subways, but the Bogle heavies let out a big “‘Oi” then “It’s that way”.
Sheepishly, rugby shirted pal made his way back to our side.
Under subways and over a footbridge, then under another subway to surface at the end of
Many interesting and less well known residents of the local area were
advertised on the walls of the subway in red, blue and black paint. Are they
really artistic? Do I recognise this road from last year? It was sunny then.
Now it’s drizzling. I recognise this way. John unsure. At the end we crossed
Eccles Old Road, with some difficulty.
Slightly to the right and then down
by De La Salle College. John’s off again. We plod. He’s waiting now as the
route again is uncertain. We decide to continue along Weaste Lane, but soon discover that we
should have gone on to Weaste Road
We confront a footbridge over the railway. Agony as we skip lightly up and down the steps on either side. Well maybe.
Hit the A57 and there’s no holding John now that he knows where he is. Me and the pal carry on, plodding. I know how far it is to the turn off at
Water Street, he doesn’t. What a contrast
to last year. Then, it was hot, dry and dusty. Now, it’s cold, raining and
A very depressing area to walk through, this. A few strange looks, so we give them back. Stop at traffic lights, leaning heavily on fence and lamp posts. A few rest stops, very reluctant to get up.
Stagger, limp, limp, plod.
Water Street at last!
Turn left, cross the road, then right up
Plod, rock, stagger.
I can’t let this other lad beat me now, in spite of the fact that he originally set off an hour after us.
Fast walk. How are my legs doing it? Foot suddenly not hurting quite so much.
What’s that bloke doing there with the clipboard? Another of those surveys I suppose. Surely he won’t try to talk to me.
He didn’t, but I was lucky because he’d spoken to John a few minutes earlier, asking him if he wanted to become a blood donor!!! John’s thoughts are unprintable.
Oxford Street now
and feeling good. Whitworth Street.
The last few hundred yards. Refuge Assurance. Walk faster. Princess Street, and it’s clear to cross. Cross two small back streets then it’s
Sackville Street. Turn right. There’s
UMIST. The steps or the slope this year? Decide on the slope for a triumphant
run into the Union.
Just a few seconds now and it will be over.
Skirt around the bottom of the steps and a few dawdling non-Boglers.
Up the steps and there’s the table on the left.
Hand in Control Card.
See Jeggers and GF ACMA (nearly) who point me towards food in the Union bar lounge.
John and Laurie are there. The latter had sneaked past us by coming back on the old route, claiming that he didn’t know the new one. Admittedly, the signposts weren’t very clear.
Sit down, drink, eat, others arrive. Pretty close grouping. Chiropody, only two small blisters.
Limping now on left foot. Ask
Ambulance to look at it and end up with a bandage! St John’s
Rathen Road from
Nell, with Dave and Ian. Lie down, doze, bath very welcome. Suffering from
Jogger’s Crutch though. I am not alone in this.
Sleep - oblivion.
End of my fifth Bogle!
PS I make no apologies for the jumbled note form of the diary because that was how I thought at the time! N
PPS Apres-Bogle activities included a comical double limp to the Red Lion, both on Saturday night and on Sunday lunchtime.
PPPS We’ve now found out that our Mad Ones team were awarded £25 to spend on a barrel of beer. We were the only team to get all ten members to the finish.
|TDHHC Mad Ones - Results|
There has been debate over the date. For the avoidance of doubt, it was 1981, as portrayed above.
Nick has also sent me an image of his Bogle tie. I still have three of these. There were special ties in 1968 and 1969, but later they became generic, in three colours. I can't remember the colours for first and second Bogle finishes, but participants who had completed three or more Bogle Strolls were entitled to a black tie, as on the right in the picture below.
'Bogle Stroll' is on my list of projects. Quite a big one, actually, so this (and the previous posting mentioned above) may be the start of a piecemeal series of entries tracing some history of Bogle Stroll between 1968 and 1995.