Good Morning Vicar now leading the Challenge arrived in Keld in the northern section of the Yorkshire Dales. Keld represents the approximate half-way marker along Wainwrights Way and is also on the junction with the Pennine Way running North South. I am reliably informed that the Vicar does not have compass and is therefore highly susceptible to map reading errors. True to form they do spend a lot of their time in churches and so it is expected they should know their East from the West but it remains to be seen therefore whether they know North from their Nouth and they leave Keld in the right direction.
Foolishly (or may be not) they got ahead of the two former cavalry officers representing the Recce Troop. If however you read your Times yesterday you will seen a report on how the aide de camp of the Chief of General Staff and the highly decorated former leader of special forces gave the wrong grid reference to his helicopter pilot and ensured he landed in the wrong half of Salisbury Plain much to the consternation of the welcoming party and the huge amusement of the rest of the army. Cavalry officers are often also not the best of map readers…a fact to which I know some of our current participants can attest!
Not far behind the two leaders are the Lethal Lethams. The reason we believe they are doing so exceptionally well is that they are trying to keep up with Reggie who towards the end of the day is still fit enough to test the most angelic of temperaments. They have also spared the time to share with us the most wonderful photographs of Herefordshire and the Broadlands in Norfolk.
In the chasing pack we have an Anglo Australian sister combination ‘the Nuns’ spurred on by the fact that the Vicar is in front and the Bishop (Banbury Cross) is behind them. Who catches who first is something we will be keeping a close eye on. The famous Willoughby of buggy fame from the first challenge is driving his mum and dad along at pace with the Snails (Escargatoire) on their tail. Once again and consistent with previous form Escargatoire are either posing in front of stately homes or spending their time on the coast, a worrying aspect since they are supposed to be crossing the Pennines.
Moving at a steadier but regular pace are Tum and Jaw, the Dorset Dashers (last time’s first across the line) Sister Act 2 and the Cuckoo Team. They are nearing the end of the Lake District section and will probably being crossing the M6 today. Memories of Tum and Jaw’s last visit to Wainwrights Way have caused them to take this part of the route more cautiously. Walking in 2008 in an extremely powerful easterly gale and approaching the summit of one of the passes, Tum was in the process of advising Jaw a featherweight even with a backpack to crawl over it for fear of being blown off her feet when a body of another hiker flew through the air and over the brow in the opposite and landed beside them.
The ‘Cool Gang’ at the back consists of the remaining seven teams who are taking their time to enjoy the beauty of the Lake District; two of them are nursing their ‘to-be -born’s and others are posting some more wonderful photographs of Wandsworth Common admirably contrasting those of the Austrian Alps in startling autumnal sunshine! Banbury Cross has also risen early to catch Castle Acre in the early morning mist.
Everyone paused appropriately to reflect and remember at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day and Nigel, a Dorset Dasher, shared with us a great Yorkshire poem to remind us why. Penny, a Lethal Letham, posted a poignant photograph of red berries on a birch and Ed L O of the Recce troop walked to almost every memorial site from Westminster to Greenwich.
There has been considerable debate as to whether we observe the Sabbath. Tom Bagge has been busy collecting volumes of Jehovah Witnesses scriptures in order to research the topic. The Bishop has offered more authoritative guidance and in the interests of ensuring that we retain some solidity as a group the Steward is considering options. Watch this space!
Meantime Safe Walking and let’s hope the weather remains kind to us.