TGOC 2013 - The Journey Up

Wed & Thu8th & 9th May 2013

If you are going to read these as a route planning exercise, you may be disappointed, because they are done more as a story rather than an A to B description.

But anyway.... Here we Go

 Morcheeba - I am the Spring (Irony)

This had all started a long time previous when a call from his Lordhsip Lord Elpus aka Phil Lambert invited me to to join him along with Al Sloman on his 10th crossing.

It was not an offer I could refuse, and so after a while we met up with Carl (@Locomountaineer) Mynott for a short walk around our rather flat training grounds here in the Fens.

This was the Three Churches walk, and I may or may not have taken some photo's of this earlier.

It was on this that Carl also was offered a place, but had to decline under penalty of death or divorce, not necessarily in that order , but possibly both.

We have tried to tempt him since, but as he has become attached to his nether regions, has continued to decline.

Anyway, in all honesty, he needs the time to finish writing up his 2012 account.
He is younger than us and as such can remember that far back.
I have to write this within weeks to remember what..............
Even then much of it is fiction.

So all this done, and kit and packing and stuff sorted, and after visits to Al in Berkshire for more ambles, it was eventually to pack my kit and head off to meet Phil.  


I had made a kit list, which of course I changed during packing anyway.

I had weighed NOTHING. If I could lift the sack then it was good to go.

This may explain while even as I type this I have continuous neck and right shoulder pain, and the fact that next week, (that being the earliest I could get in) I am off to the Physio :-(  

Which makes me digress.  

Over the last couple of years, I have come to the conclusion that illness and injury MUST be prepared in advance, because the chance of getting an appointment is somewhat shy of Fuck All.  

Just sayin.....  

And you're back in the room!

Lucy gave me a lift to the station at Cambridge for 7.30. I had to get a ticket, and was meeting Phil there.
The train went at 7.45 and Phil was arriving from Bury at 7.39.
Now, I have done this train before, in fact last year, and I now know that despite the fact that all Kings Cross trains go from Platform 1, this one for some reason known only to East Coast, goes from platform 7 over the bridge.
I decided to wander over the bridge and bag 2 seats.
I mean, it might have been full OK!

So I did.

I watched from the train, and eventually, at about 7.41, I saw Phil wandering about on platform 1. Probably looking for me.

I called from the window, but got no joy.
So I did the whistle thing. Phil did not respond, but the chap in the same compartment clutched his ears in pain, and several dogs 2 miles away started to bark insanely.
At this point a train pulled into platform 4 which is also 1 at Cambridge (go figure).
I could no longer see Phil, it was 7.43.

Now, I should point out that MUCH earlier, at about 7.35, I had tried to ring him on his mobile, and also left a message and also texted him.
BUT....Phil was saving his batteries and knew nothing of this.
Luckily as it all transpires, Phil saw the platform 7 thing, and came over and did get on the train.

We were on our way, and off to Kings Cross.
 Eventually we arrived and because it is actually quicker and in my opinion shorter to walk to Euston, rather than get the Tube (have you tried that journey? You walk bloody miles underground).

We were meeting Al and others at The Bree Louise. A rather fine Real Ale Pub (start as you mean to go on eh) just near Euston.
I vaguely remembered the route and after some navigational pondering (doesn't bode well does it), we arrived at said hostelry. Phil or Al, or someone got in a round.
There were several people there, most of whom I can no longer remember, and I will need to read Al's blog to Phil in the gaps later OK.

 [Al, Martin Rye, William, Steve & Joke etc ...........Awaiting names list.......................................................]

By the time we arrived, the earlier 9.15 mob had gone (more of that later), so we spent the evening chatting and consuming a couple of pints.
I had misguidedly purchased the Nethergate beer that Phil asked for.
Only he wanted the nice 4,1% stuff and I had bought the 7.5% stuff.

Oh well.

Time passed, and money was spent waiting for the time to go to Euston....  

Which brings us to MINTS!

 It was getting near time, and just before we left Al said

"Fancy a Mint?"

 "Cheers Al, I will, Thank you"

Shortly after that Al said

"Fancy another, only a couple left anyway"

"Well thanks, they are quite nice mints, I will. Cheers"

OK, at this point I thought they were mints, not having seen the packet that Al had found under the table.
It transpired that these were actually Nicotine anti smoking pills that Jane Egg had dropped.

Later on at Montrose when I spoke to Jane, she responded with something like  

"GOOD GRIEF... I only take a half at a time!"  

OH YEAH MAN..........!!!!!!
By the time we got half way across to Euston we were BUZZIN!!!!

And I mean BUZZIN!!!!!!

Anyone would have thought that they had an € on them.

We got to Euston on Cloud 9, and managed to work out were we were going and then get some food.

Thankfully, that helped a lot, and I was coming down from my nicotine high by then.

SO, what I am saying is.......  

Don't accept sweets from old men in Pubs.   OK!

Eventually we got to the Sleeper train....
Got kit stowed in our cabins.
I was with Phil and Al had a cabin with William.
We made our way to the Bar and joined a few others, and had a beer.
Amazingly, just the ONE.

Yep, you heard it here first!
After a bit of nattering, it was time for ZZZZzzzzzzz.

The problem with the 11.30 train is that it is late by the time you get on. In some ways this may well not be a bad thing.
We got the 9.15 a few years back is all I am saying.

And then at the ungodly hour of 6.30 some bloke was banging on the door with tea and stuff.
We were going to be in Glasgow in 40 min.
I could have done with that 40 min extra sleep.

Now this brings me to DREAMS.............

Phil said he had had a weird dream...
Well yes, but mine was more on the side of HORROR.
For some reason, I had been in an operating theatre.
In said same operating theatre was a lady giving birth.
I do not know who she was.
I do not know why I was there.

BUT... I do remember that they were having trouble, and the surgeon said
It's no use we have to saw her feet off.
At this point they proceedd to saw off her feet.
I put my hands in the way to stop it.
And as the saw hacked across the back of my hands I woke up.

Now, I do NOT know what that dream means
And to be honest I don't want to ok.

And then we were on our way to Glasgow Queen Street for breakfast.
The train did not go to Oban for quite a while, and so we set up camp in the breakfast pub, and drank Coffee and Tea and had an extended breakfast, as we watched folk gradually drifting in carrying sacks, big and small.

William Burton and Phil at breakfast in Glasgow Queen Street
It is a gathering of a varied selection of society and always good to meet up with folk again.
It is quite amazing how after a year, it seems like you are just continuing a conversation from yesterday. Guess that is why many of us just keep coming back again and again.

While we were there we several folk, including David Williams (@fellbound) who we had conversed with on Twitter. Well, Al amd I, not Phil, cos he has transcended all that social networking malarkey ;-)

He had seemed like a nice chap on Twitter, and in reality he was indeed a really nice guy too.
He sat with us for a while and chatted before it was time to get trains.
He had met some chap who had waxed lyrical about how hard his route was going to be, blah, blah, blah...

No idea who the chap was, apparently he had done one before. (raises eyebrows)
We said, "unless the vetters said no, it was good to go, and to go and have a great time and ignore the plonker". Or words to that effect.

Which is exactly what he did.
Well done fella.
We know you will be back. :-)

Eventually after a lot of tea, it was time to get on the Oban train.
Quite important to get on the right bit of this.
Fortunately we had booked seats, so it was easy.
And the final bit of the journey was on.

Much discussion later we arrived in Oban.
The weather was not that bad (YET)
We headed to the Youth Hostel, to book into our rooms, along with Norman, who was also staying there. The Youth Hostel at Oban is a great place.
A bit of a hike from the station, but hey, we should be up to it right.

View across Oban Harbour

We got sorted in our room and then headed back into town to grab some cash and have a meal.
We did this at the Oban Fish and Chip Shop
NOT cheap, but truly excellent Fish and Chips.

Now is not the time to discuss the loud and never ending ramblings of the two portly chaps sat behind us.

You know the sort.

Obviously had money.
Probably owned the Range Rover Evoque (chav wagon) parked up the road.
Apologies if you own one, but you could always change it for a real Range Rover eh...

We did think about turning round to listen, since he obviously wanted the whole of the chip shop to know about his wonderful fucking life.
But we did not, and Al did not punch him, because he was being very restrained, although you could see the blood pressure rising, and this is NOT a good thing for Al as you know.

But we managed to finish ok, and by then boring loud twat and his mate had gone.

We paid the rather pretty waitress (that was meant as a compliment, because she was) and went to grab some cash before going back to our room 

By the time we got back to our room, the sun was going down.

For decency, I have not shown that Photo, but I think Al might.
Phil spotted some BIG lasses on their way into town, and for some reason, decided to display himself in the window. He said he was just shutting the window.
BUT who do you believe.

And since Al has already exposed this terrible behavior on his blog now, I can reveal the same dreadful image.

Read into it what you will
In the meantime, I snuck out to get a couple of pictures of the magnificent sunset.

I decided I better have a shower.
I had heard stories of the shower from earlier.
It was a power shower.
I believe it could also be used to blast stonework, and remove all manner of things from car bodies and patios.
That is NOT car patios ok.
I stepped in with trepidation.
Turned it on, and

Thankfully the warnings had been good.
Had I tampered with the dial, I may have been blasted into 1000 pieces and washed away.

By the end I was clean as a whistle, and minus a layer of epidermis.

And then it was time to catch some more ZZZZZzzzzzzz's
Tomorrow was going to be a big day.
And that was NOT accounting for the weather that was coming.  

But, it was as normal, going to be a Challenge.


TGOC 2013 Oban to St Cyrus in Under 6 minutes

Pending a proper write up, which will come out on a daily basis, but not a daily production.

The Video below is a rapid set of images of our trip.

It takes approx 5 in 45 secs to get across

It is just a selection of the photo's, many of which will eventually appear in the blog posts

I improvised  the accompanying music against the video slideshow on an
Epihone Sheraton Jumbo guitar, and as such is a bit rough and ready, but then so are the images.

More coming soon

Watch this space 


TGOC 2013 Odyssey Poem

This is a POST TGOC version of the Poem done at Callater.

First Performed at Callater Lodge on Sunday 19th May 2013.
This is a recording and Transcript of the Poem.

I was asked by so many people to post it, that it would have been rude not to,
so here goes............

You can get a PDF Transcript of it here should you feel the need

Happy Days..............................

The Video Link is here, IF you cannot see the embedded version below


Please NOTE... This does contain swearing, so if you are going to be offended by that I would suggest you neither watch it nor read it.

Just sayin..................................

The full transcript is below ................................


By Andrew Walker
I went to see my analyst About a month ago
He said…”There’s NOTHING I can do for you
You’re gonna have to go.”
“There’s a train that goes from Euston
It’ll take you to Hell and Back.”
“Oh, and by the way, just so you know,
You’ll be carrying a FUCKING GREAT RUCKSACK!”
It had all begun the year before
In September of   2  0   1   2
When a call from Lambert had been taken
“Ah..  There’s a place on a trip for you!”
“I promise great views and Wall to Wall Sun,
And velvet like grass” he cries
“Sounds Brilliant Phil, I’d LOVE to come J
Not knowing it was ALL BLOODY LIES.

So, we set off across BOGLAND
As the Wind and Rain drove in
“It’s ALL Phil’s Fault”, the group all cried
We’ll NOT go with him again.
Our feet were webbed, our clothing soaked through
There was NOTHING we could do
But wade yet another river
And empty out Boots and Shoes

It was Wednesday and the Skies were clear
We set off UP without a care
Upon the Tops were stunning views
Oh yeah, and   H Y P O T H E R M I A
No fear, let’s bag another Top
You can see it just over there
Just need to drop down into Bogs and Hags
And 3 foot high fucking heather.

“Hang On! There’s a lovely river just down there
We could drop down and have a gander!”
Then walk along for Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles ………..
Of Never Ending Fucking MEANDER
We arrived at the Geldie and  set up our tents
Though just hours,    like days it had seemed
We had a snifter or two, then put our heads down
And in our tents we DREAMED ……….  and dreamed and dreamed…OF HEAT!
And so we come to ‘Cheese and Wine’
And all things that make life fuller
Thanks in main though NOT to us
But that wonderful Mr Pooler
It was a plan, a cunning plan
That would have been just fine
Except WE had two missing parts
The CHEESE, and Yes ……….  The WINE.

And so to Braemar, in we trudged
The rain it was firmly set
That nasty shitty Scottish Rain
Whose sole motive is to get you WET
We slithered and dripped into the Fife Arms
It was full of our friends in strife
It would have been rude not to stop for a beer
Suddenly ALL was Good in Life

A Cabin was offered for a nominal fee
An offer we couldn’t refuse
We dried out our kit, and then set off back
For an evening of chatter and BOOZE
And.. at the end of the day, we took Denis away
He was as we say ‘quite well watered’
We left him at Kates, we hoped that was right
See for Denis    Watered means  ……  Slaughtered

It’s a favourite of mine, an evening at Stan and Bills
Where a small group of reprobates, arrive in a queue
For an evening of friendship and thrills
The evening long, the whisky flows free
And Mick sings us into the night
For us all it’s a joy, mind you, we’ve all had a few
For normal folk, it would be a bit of a fright.

And now off to the coast, although NOT happened yet
ALL TOO SOON, it will be over and done
The horrors of wind, rain and bog all f o r g o t t e n now
And the photos will show ONLY THE SUN
The Challenge is over, The Blogs will be written
From our fingers Tales of daring will fall
And in September ……..  we’ll ALL apply yet again

See you soon (maybe) AW