The Raising Post: Issue 9

The Raising Post: Issue 9

As the leading teams head up towards the Clyde and the Erskine Bridge, five teams run head to head.



The weather remains fine and so there is little to test the resolve. However, it is possible that concentration is beginning to wane. Requests have been submitted to allow biking rather than walking in order to provide variety and alleviate boredom.


Rosie and Pete taking Billy and Sybi for a picnic

But where would that end, if allowed? Participants might then resort to arguments about

the reasonable exercise of discretion in exceptional cases

and then

climb into mechanised forms of transport in order to check their eyesight.


Don’t even think of it…

No!

Despite accusations of behaving like the Führer, this Challenge referee remains firm in his resolve. Overcoming monotony is something he experienced two years ago almost to the day crossing Les Landes, south of Bordeaux.

Uncanny


This agony has to be endured in order to enjoy that sense of achievement at the end. Arguments around ‘This is supposed to be fun’ don’t cut it with him!

This is NOT supposed to be fun. (Ummm…. )


So we shall see in the following days whether the leaders can keep control of their teams . ..or be cut loose like Captain Bligh as mutineers ride off on their bikes.

Meantime, the legitimate bikers are heading up to “Preston”. The Care-free Wheelers are a little slow with the daily submissions and appear to be a little off the pace but once again, late night travelling seems to get them back on par with the Two Cranks and a Chain Gang.

The Care-free Wheelers are playing catch-up


The PC Plodders are on night duty and heroically doing what they can during the day; and as a consequence, they may well soon be in the sights of the bikers. The bikers’ next target will be Qua-Run-Team, another group who get distracted by the day job.

Willoughby

Having said that, consideration is now being given to allowing Willoughby to book miles as well. I cannot think of anything more uncomfortable than be pushed in a buggy from Putney to Westminster and back equalled only in heroism by Will doing the pushing.

Go Willoughby!

Buggy Dash


Not far in front of Qua-Run-Team are the Walky Talkies, who would likely be with the Peloton if only they could get their mileages in on time. Given that they have been allowed a largish handicap, the referee cannot afford to be too sympathetic. Both these teams will now be in Scotland (Don’t tell Nicola again).

Demob fever seems to be emerging as more and more are bursting into song and there is now a proposal that there be a Walking4Norfolk’s Got Talent.

Competition

The Raising Post will be watching this closely.


Many readers will now be familiar with the rules, even if the teams are not. Walking teams are confined to a maximum of 50 miles a day. This was to ensure that the competition remained close and one team did not streak out of sight. As it turns out, the majority now remain neck and neck; and so there will come a point very soon when the referee decides to let the brake off and no maximum will apply. This should lead to a challenging finale. If the calculations are right, this should also make the competition between biker and walker well balanced.

While the team’s maximum mileage is confined. that is not true of individuals. Currently the individual leader board looks like this

  • Michael Gurney Escargatoire 109 miles
  • Tom Bagge Tea Bag Stable 104 miles
  • Jude Olesen Tea Bag Stable 101 miles
  • Anne /Livie Chipembere 114 miles (but they are a pair)

This too may also lead to a little rivalry!


Thank you, the readers, so much for your support and your generosity.

There is lots of activity on all social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), and so please spread the word.

All the causes are doing well, but let’s see how much more we can achieve for all of them.
Donate to the Walking4Norfolk Lockdown Challenge Fund
Donate to ZANE – Zimbabwe A National Emergency
Donate to IMIRE Rhino & Conservation Trust
Donate to the Cure Parkinson’s Trust
Donate to the Samaritans Emergency Appeal

Buen Camino!

( I am off now to catch those men at the top of that list.)

JB



The Raising Post: Issue 8

The Raising Post: Issue 8

It is Day 11 for the Walkers and don’t tell Nicola but we are in “Scotland”!

Close to the border

Tom Bagge, who is rarely photographed without his litter bag – and we are now thinking the Tea Bag Stable should be renamed the Trash Bag Stable – has picked up a dressing gown and a pair of pants. Someone is suggesting that they belong to Dominic Cummings. Tom has passed them to the Durham Police.

Tea Bag’s views


Murphy’s law is as true as ever. Rarely can we have had such an amazing May Bank Holiday and we are all discouraged (probably/possibly, as that is about as precise the science is), quite rightly, from taking advantage of it. Having said that, I have found this Challenge to have been a wonderful distraction whilst at the same time appreciating the huge privilege we enjoy being in the country at this time.

Issy’s view

Blessed with this glorious weather I have discovered walks and corners of neighbouring parishes which I have never previously experienced and we have been able to share with one another through social media happy experiences and beautiful sights. Let’s stay POSITIVE

Qua Run Team meets Chipembere

But we do need some rain and that’s hard to say, after February and early March. Of course, if you have been following the weather forecasts you will know that in virtual terms we have been enduring some pretty inclement conditions up North, but this has made no difference to the resolve and determination of our stalwart walking teams who are regularly achieving maximum mileage every day and in some cases well exceeding it.

Can you spot the hidden message?


It is neck and neck as we go into the final week; and thought is now being given as to how to split these teams up. The organisers having been looking at deploying the Scottish Police; we have been researching the rules of ‘Snakes and Ladders’ and we have been thumbing through the Chance cards of Monopoly to identify why players are sent to jail, told not to pass Go and not to collect £100. We are confident a solution will arise during the week.

High spirits, laughter and song

All quiet today on the Bikers front. No doubt Headmaster (Michael) Groff, in character, has done his bit on the exercise bike, while dispatching his son Gus and his wife Lucy out to do the real miles on their bikes. I am told there is a shortage of bikes in the Petrie family.

A word of caution though …when you look at the photographs don’t confuse that Michael G on the bike with the Michael G the walker who constantly parades himself in front of stately homes, wherever they may be and however named.

In front of Blickling… I mean Felbrigg Hall

That’s enough from me today. Keep track of our progress on the website and the wonderful Anna will keep pushing out the photographs and commentary on social media .

Now give the Young Carers a symbolic round of applause. Hit the Donate button and give a fiver!

JB


…and more song! A Scottish reel?


The Raising Post: Issue 7

The Raising Post: Issue 7

We are more than half way to John O’Groats!

For the ‘unsung heroes’

Why are we doing this? Well we’re doing it for those whom I entitle the unsung heroes. They’re essential workers; they don’t get paid; they never have a break; they don’t get clapped on a Thursday evening; and their cause is not championed by the media.
Their responsibilities will endure long after Lockdown. They’re just schoolchildren upon whom huge responsibilities devolve, which they fulfil with love and devotion.
These are the young carers. They ask for nothing – but they do need support. But most of all, they need recognition – your recognition. So what I’m asking today is that you give them a symbol of your appreciation – give them a clap by going to our fundraising page and hitting the donate button, and giving £10 or less.
Any small amount will do, because it will serve to show them that the work that they’re doing is appreciated by everybody. Thank you so much for your help.
Jum.

Introducing the Bikers!

As they complete their first day out on the road or at least all bar one was on the road of which more in a moment , let me introduce you to the two biking teams: Two Cranks and a Chain and the CareFree Wheelers.


Two Cranks and a Chain are led by Alec Armitage, supported by his wife, Vivvi, daughter Rosie and her husband Pete, together with two friends who wish to remain ‘under the radar’.

Rosie and children

If I said that when they volunteered for this, Pete and Rosie thought they were being asked to do 100 miles a day each, you might get some idea of how craftily Alec has chosen his team.

Alec and Vivvi are themselves veteran bikers, albeit aided by the odd battery or two, having ridden most of the way around Southern Europe. It’s a strong team riding for Cure Parkinson’s and we wish them well with their fundraising. The PC Plodders have been tasked with ensuring that Pete breaks no speed limits.



The Carefree Wheelers – or are they the Carefree Free-Wheelers? – are led by my niece Lucy Petrie, who is no stranger to a challenge. She has swum the Channel once in a team and just missed out on doing it as an individual; and she competes and wins in international swimming races in the Arctic, where they cut the race lane out of the ice!

She has ridden this route before, but a while ago, as is evident from the fashion statement below.

En vogue

She is supported by her son Gus and her husband Al. Al plays the part of Michael Groff , the devilish headmaster, in the Netflix blockbuster Sex Education and in character we see that he has opted for an exercise bike, perhaps learning his lines for the next series.

The stewards are looking into this. Is this taking virtual biking a crank too far? Certainly he looks agonised but remember he is quite an accomplished performer.

Also part of The Free-wheelers, more like ‘Downhill and with the Wind’, is Tom Paton Smith, a cousin-in-law and no doubt volunteered by his wife Vic, but he looks as though he has done a few miles.

He is biking around Suffolk and, showing total commitment to his marriage and the cause, went and bought himself a bike to take part. Ruth Mullender, a swimming friend of Lucy’s (and she must be, to volunteer for this), makes up the team.


It looks as though they have all completed the first leg of 100 miles (that is, the aggregated sum of the miles each has contributed), and are therefore well on track to be at the finishing line at about the same time as the walkers. It should make for an exciting finish, assuming no punctures and the Armitages’ batteries don’t run out!

It’s called juggling…

LEJOG 1979 – Part Two

By Tom Bagge

More from Tom Bagge on his ride north a while ago. Some B&B suggestions for the two teams and one or two other tips..

The agony of getting back into the saddle on the second morning remains a vivid and painful memory.

By the afternoon of Day 2, I had a problem with my knee but it recovered overnight, staying near Exeter with the Lockwood family – John was on our course at Cirencester.

Exeter

1979 was pre mobiles and we failed to let Julia X know that my knee was better so she drove passed the agreed meeting point at speed; she had been expecting to see us on our bikes, not lying in the grass. I am embarrassed to admit that I left Jonathan on point duty while I slipped off to swim chez the Maitlands – Andrew, who was also at Cirencester; he had appeared out of the blue doing a 200m road test on his bike. Luckily Julia forgave us; she was even kind enough to house the excess baggage, including sleeping bags, which we decided to abandon with her.

Warrington

Night 4 we stayed with Jonathan’s parents where we were spoilt in every way including having our washing done. It was then a long hard slog on the roads and in B&Bs. I recall the Warrington area as being especially tedious. I was disappointed not to take the opportunity to visit Blackpool but the thought of a return detour of 20 miles was too much.

Armathwaite

For Night 6 we walked into David & Annabel Stapleton’s house at Armathwaite to find their house party watching the Wimbledon finals. They were very kind hosts and we set off with invigorated spirits to head into Scotland, where Jonathan decided to raise the saddle on his bike – oh, the joy as it made biking much for him …. this demonstrated what real amateurs we were.

Night 7 was spent in a dreadful B&B at Blair Atholl from where we escaped in the early morning to bike in a head wind on the A9 through the Cairngorns. On reaching Dalwhinnie I waited for Jonathan before heading to the nearest cafe where I ordered two full English breakfasts – having devoured both, I asked a lorry driver if he had seen a cyclist … the answer was yes, to the north of Dalwhinnie! We met again in Aviemore where the unhappy Jonathan was sitting on the grass with a can of coke and a mars bar!

Cairngorm Mountains (Image By David Clyne)

Night 8 saw us in a B&B at Bonar Bridge. The following morning we had not been going for long on the A9 when I heard a crash and looked back to see Jonathan had hit the deck for no obvious reason.

The last day to John O’Groats and back to Wick was about 120 miles with a lot of ups and downs as we crossed the various rivers. While waiting for Jonathan within sight of the end, I had a conversation with a crofter who told me a cyclist was trying to break the record for the same route we had covered and he had been caught for speeding in Penzance!

Return to Norfolk – From the train window near Perth I saw the ‘speeding’ cyclist pass; he completed the 870 miles in 1 day and 23 hours – it took us 9 days! …… the current record is 1 day 19 hours and 25 minutes. On arriving at Peterborough station in the early morning I decided to bike back to Stradsett.

I wish our two biking teams the best of luck. I hope they have jelly in the seat of the lycra shorts and the seat at the right height.

The Raising Post: Issue 6

The Raising Post: Issue 6
In his recent publication ‘The Way under Foot’ authored by Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, he records an account given by a leading orthopaedic surgeon Charlie Docker on the mechanics of walking.

The thing is that gravity is continually pulling us down…


We have to lean slightly to one side. This lets us lift one leg off the floor using the muscles around our hip and it’s those muscles that swing the leg forward…a pendulum that carries us forward as we slightly lean forward. Having a good foot arch is important. It absorbs energy as we land and releases it as we push off. While the ankle is pushing backwards on the stationary foot, the other foot propels the body forwards until it comes into contact with the ground and the body’s weight moves forward onto it.

In order to walk, our feet rely on friction so that the foot that is not moving stays in place as the other foot moves forward. …repeat these instructions and you catch yourself from falling again and again and that’s walking.

Walking is interrupted falling!

But tell that to Tom Bagge whose forward motion was interrupted yesterday by an errant and protruding root.


Warning: not for the squeamish!


Nine days in and the Walkers are reaching the halfway point.. or at least most of us are. The PC Plodders, having started a day behind are making valiant efforts to maintain the pace. We are relying on them now to make sure that the Bikers, who start tomorrow (Sunday), obey all social distancing requirements and do not exceed speed limits.


Qua-Run-Team are also slightly off the pace but have been active in the ‘mid season transfer market’ and have secured the recruitment of one of the most formidable UK walking talents, Alexandra Bagge (Baggel) veteran of many pilgrimage routes in Europe, Japan and South America.


…She joins a number of other talented and conscientious team members: Tocky the team captain has been putting in a steady stream of 9 miler days. Louisa Pratt is doing walks morning noon and night whilst pinning down a full time job and then Will Richmond who is running into Whitehall from Putney pushing his two year old son Willoughby and the team have not even been counting Willoughby’s miles. Willoughby is considering an appeal and his mother is nursing his bruises!


We are in awe of the commitment of friends in Zimbabwe…

…who are not only submitting some impressive scores but are also treating us to some ‘moving’ (in more ways than one) clips of the wonderful beasts for whom they care.


It is a great cause and we have also heard from ZANE, an emergency fund providing relief to some of the most impoverished communities in Zim, and reminds us in these difficult times how important it is for us to remember those not so close to home.

More about ZANE

Rhinos and Young carers are an interesting but noble mix and let’s not forget the other charities teams and individuals in the Lockdown Challenge are supporting; The Samaritans and Cure Parkinson’s, neither of which need any introduction.


The Walky Talkies have finally made an appearance, emerging like meerkats blinking in the bright sunlight.


I understand Team Escargatoire have put an end to their leader’s early morning photographs delivered before their alarms have even thought of chiming. He remains indomitable and seemingly ‘indormitable’ as well!

Felbrigg Hall in Lockdown – by Michael G of Team Escargatoire

The two Biking teams, Two Cranks and a Chain led by Alec Armitage and the Petrifying Petries (unless they choose to give me another name) led by the lovely Lucy Petrie (nee Scott) are now heading to the start line at Land’s End. They leave tomorrow (Sunday 24th) and it remains to be seen if they can catch the Walkers accumulated daily mileage they can submit is 107.

Watch this space!



Finally, and thanks very much to your generosity. Walking4Norfolk has so far raised approaching £6,000 for Young Carers. This is hugely motivating and re-assuring for them for them knowing you are all out there ‘rooting’ for them.

The running total as of May 23

And so, while we are all enjoying ourselves in the amazing weather and enjoying the beauties of the world around us, wherever we may be, please pause for a moment and read what it is like to be a seventeen year old Young Carer in Lockdown……


Molly’s Story

Molly is 17, lives in West Norfolk, and cares for multiple members of her family who are shielding…

…including ones who do not live with her, so she has to balance her time between her house and other family members.

She cares for her dad who has various physical health issues including lung problems and a lack of circulation to his legs. She also helps to care for her grandad who is 88, has COPD and is unstable on his feet, and her uncle who has various physical health issues. Molly also has a brother who has a tic disorder so she has to help him if he has a tic attack.

She supports her mum with physical care for her dad, including helping to get him dressed, applying compression bandages, supporting with medication, making food, helping him with mobility and providing emotional support. Molly’s day starts at 4am where she gets up to make sure her dad has taken his first tablets of the day and getting him something to eat. Her uncle has a number of care workers going in each day to provide him with much-needed physical support, but Molly also assists if they are not around and provides emotional support – something which is particularly important at the moment because he hadn’t been able to get out of the house.

In addition to trying to balance her various caring responsibilities with keeping up with college work, Molly has been constantly worrying about the risk to her family if they were to catch Covid-19 because of their health conditions. One of the family members she cares for has recently been diagnosed with Covid-19 so Molly is feeling more scared now and doesn’t know what that will mean next for her and her family or if she might have already caught it because of how long she has been spending with him helping out and what will happen now they are having to self-isolate.

In addition, Molly’s caring role has increased because of her family members shielding and she feels she has had to take on more responsibilities to help out so is feeling increasingly tired.

Molly gets support from Caring Together as a member of Norfolk Young Carers Forum and so has been receiving regular telephone calls to check on how she is doing and taking part in virtual groups so she can keep in touch with other young carers in her area. She is also being linked in with Carers Matter Norfolk to help get her access to practical support such as shopping, something which is vital now that she is needing to self-isolate.”

Thank you to Andy McGowan for Molly’s story.


Swans on the Ouse

The Raising Post: Issue 5

The Raising Post: Issue 5

Days Six and Seven on the Road

It is now the evening of the sixth day and if anyone thought that this was time for a rest then I am afraid they will be disappointed.

After all, our Creator did a lot more in six days than just walk a few miles.


The front runners or rather walkers are now through Shrewsbury and look as though they will be spending the night in Whitchurch. Chipembere had a bad day yesterday, at least by time of posting, although they appear to have done a lot overnight. We think this is due to the Captain paying more attention to his beautiful daughter-in-law reading poetry than he was to his figure(s).


Qua-Run-Team are a little behind and we are unsure of their strategy. The Walky Talkies have suddenly started to do more of the former than the latter but we look forward to seeing some photographic evidence of this.


A watchful eye for one so young

The Human Hares have been avoiding fox cubs.

The Escargatoires waiting hopefully at deserted railway stations and certainly social distancing.


Tor of the Two Legged Tortoises found herself confronting an adder while relieving her ….er! The PC Plodders are now beginning to warm up and they have recruited the final member of their team, Jason B. We expect to see them join the leaders soon.

Keep it up, Tom!

Finally, Tom Bagge leading the TeaBag Stable is rarely without his litter-picking kit and has now resorted to writing and singing his own compositions (when not reliving his school days):

Nostalgia


But now for the Important Announcement…:

It is time that there be full disclosure of the rules of the challenge in order that the reader of this great journal, and indeed most of those taking part, can begin to make sense of what these brave volunteers are trying to do and how it all might end apart from tears.

Whatever it was that the teams and their captains understood to be the rules as published may not of course be the case.

Rules are made to be amended.

Following Consultation with NOBODY, Rule Changes are now going to be made.

This will happen in a STAGED PROCESS, following SCIENTIFIC ADVICE and in order to ensure that the T (Team Tolerance) measure remains below 100 (degrees).

It is of course anticipated that there will be letters to the Editor about this decision, to which the Stewards will respond “following the science”.

I CAN NOW REVEAL that this first Adjustment, which should meet with short-lived relief for some of the bikers, is that they will only now be expected to complete – or rather, that they will be restricted to – a maximum of 90 MILES A DAY until further notice.

For the time being, all other Rules will remain the same.

We will be taking NO QUESTIONS and that concludes today’s Press Conference.


Geese

Update from the Stewards’ Box

The Great Convenor and Chief Steward – or the Bookie’s Bag (hereinafter “BB”) is now a worry. (I’ve gone legal – it’ll become clear).

Firstly, he persuades a bunch of Coppers to join as a late-entry team by calling the Lockdown Challenge the Lockup Challenge in all conversations with their Captain Mick, putting the fear of God into everybody, except the yet-to-start cycling teams still sledging from the boundary. Then BB indulges in an orgy of distasteful puns (“nick of time”, “undercover” etc).

Jude on the Beach

Secondly, he rings me up from somewhere in the far south west on his daily amble saying he thinks he’s going to change the rules at some stage. [What?]

Erika looking composed on the mountainside

Thirdly, he declares he wants to publish the original rules in a Raising Post. Has he gone mad? The fewer people that get their head round them the better as far as we poor Stewards are concerned. And I want these PC Plodders onside. The Law, you know. I am also actively trying to engage solicitors for us, but they keep putting the telephone down in fits of laughter. And professional indemnity insurance is proving impossible to get as well.


Finally the Bookie’s Bag let rip with an excruciating, syrupy, broken-tenor rendition of “Some Enchanted Evening“ which had us scrabbling for the ear plugs. Team Chipembere have improved our sanity with poetry. Others appear to be equally and rightly concerned with the inner man amidst much talk of cakes, doughnuts, scones, pubs etc. The Human Hares and Walky Talkies continue in their graceful and stately radio silence, which we treat with some suspicion.

Qua Run Team going for the Loop Formation

No longer concerned that some are going in the wrong direction, some round in amphetamine-induced circles, or some even (Escargatoire?) following the wrong coastline, we are however concerned by this:

A cunning plan: dog-tired but impressive on the clock

Our only explanation is that this Strava device was attached to a dog. Clever. Very clever, but we might be barking up the wrong tree, and worry about copycat infringements.

And the professional African runner business has gone very quiet. A small dossier is in preparation, though. The PC Plodders might be following up the lead in more ways than one.

CLO



The Raising Post: Issue 4

The Raising Post: Issue 4

The editor/rule-maker/organiser went to bed at end of day 3 in a relatively agitated mood…

…having had to deal with a number of tricky issues, including complaints about teams being located in the Bristol Channel (for which there is a perfectly reasonable explanation with which I shall not trouble you).
In the Sea

But this also gives me a chance to herald the amazing work of Anna Kasket and Chrissie (L-O), the indomitable support team: Anna Kasket, who regularly sends us emails with Journal final copies at 2am, having fuelled the social media all day; and Chrissie, who resurrected and now nurses the website. Three cheers for them! If you have not discovered it yet, the Journal ‘Raising Post’ is available online here on the website, and also in a downloadable flip book version.

A merry tune

What, then, of the teams’ progress on days 3 and 4?

Most of them, those keeping up with pace and marked collectively on the map as ‘the Peloton’, are now well into Somerset and will be passing through Bristol and across the Severn Bridge today.

“Somerset” (or possibly Norfolk – the River Mun, to be precise)


One is never quite certain how the back markers, the PC Plodders and the Walky Talkies, are doing, as they tend to do a lot overnight and after the day’s returns have been submitted; and so don’t be fooled by their relative positions on the map. The Walky Talkie returns, when they come in, are unerringly consistent and one can only assume (with profuse apologies to their leader) they have learned the art of ‘cut and paste’. The same must apply to the Human Hares.


Chipembere have issues with connectivity as a number of them are in Zim and spend a more of their time rounding up rhinos and elephant…

…But they have sent a wonderful album of clips, and what a contrast to Norfolk or Dorset – or perhaps not, if this weather holds.

Meanwhile, the rest of their team – namely the houseparty in Dorset – are posting relatively respectable mileages and not far off the pace. If your name is Kate or Katie, you can be sure to do 6.2 miles, although they must have realised this was spotted because one did 10 yesterday and the other only 4!

Gardens looking good


The weather of course has made for wonderful walking conditions. More inclement weather might spread the field a little.

Kitty’s view


Escargatoire continue to send in coastline views and it now has to be the case that they are taking the western coastal path north; although their leader Michael does embark on sorties inland on occasion, Martin Forsyth is putting in some consistent mileage and Caroline Everard the rock climber is no doubt doing all hers vertically!


The TeaBag Stable are living up to their name and are permanently to be seen milling around the village pump consuming scones and cakes.

Although a little apart and submitting some very impressive mountain miles, Erika is clearly enjoying great spring sunshine in the Tirol.

One of Erika’s daily returns – I had to telephone to check she was not stuck on top of a mountain!

Lermoos, in the Tyrol (South-East of Devon)
…and Norfolk’s reply


The PC Plodders have gone under cover.

The PC’s dog, but it would appear no PC


Ben of the Two-Legged Tortoises seems to be rid of his headache – represented by some erratic routes plotted on his app – but given it to Trish, who went for a very wobbly walk on Monday.

Another wobbly walker for the Two Legged Tortoises

Fay has been troubled by seeing zebras in Norfolk and may have been taking the same anti-malarial stuff Trump is medicating with.

Tor and the author think they have discovered where all the PPE has got to!


The banter between teams is very active. Fay, she of the Fen, offered the following: ‘Tea Bags [Stable] should be hung out to dry!’ The immediate riposte of course was ‘Is it that bad in the Fen?’

Gin and song


Buen Camino! as they say in Spain


The Raising Post: Issue 3

The Raising Post: Issue 3

The Lockdown Challenge: Progress So Far…

A report from Walking4Norfolk (aka James Bagge) on yesterday’s action

I write this towards the end of day three as the teams should be heading into the Exmoor National Park and about 20 miles west of Taunton.

The final tallies for the day don’t come in until 8 pm when the relative positions are placed on the map. Those who have maintained the pace and reached the 150 mile mark are co-located under the Peloton marker. There are three teams are either a little under the pace or rather slow in submitting their tallies.
Becks H-P (Chipembere) in fine voice


Chipembere clearly have a problem trying to decide which of their fourteen members should count. They are a large team and so it is helpful for accommodation reasons that they regularly fail to get in on time thus allowing the rest of us to find the rooms with baths.


The captain of QuaRun Team is clearly struggling to manage her rather rebellious but talented team. She is putting in some steady performances but some of her team seem to want to waste their time trying to hit a small white ball a long way. Still I suppose it is their weekend away from the desk but they could struggle to keep in sight of the Peloton.

The Walky Talkies seem to be doing nothing of either. Oh! I see they have just posted yesterdays walk results which are all identical to the day before except one of them managed a small ½ mile variation. She must have counted to walk to get the paper. We really should expect to see a little more variety in their day going forward or even backwards! Too much creatures of habit we suspect.


The Tea Bag Stable are certainly early risers and prolific communicators. Tavie Fiffe appears to have joined Dan of Escargatoire on the beach taking the coastal route to Scotland . While Dan is trying to trying to replicate his team’s logo by making shadows on the beach. The writer is getting seriously concerned about mental health of participants as it is only day three. Ben of the Two-Legged Tortoises continues to follow a very erratic course. Whatever he is on, we all want some of it!


Members of the Tea Bag Stable continue to demonstrate high levels of community spirit, picking litter and restoring old pumps (‘Is that what it is?! It looks more like the Raising Post’). Lincolnshire is lucky to have them. Their example is being picked up in West Norfolk as Louisa of QuaRun Team has filled her bag as well!


The Human Hares continue on their merry way. Fay of the Two-Legged Tortoises thought she saw them out this morning. Not much heard from then since we saw them in wigs and likened their leader to John Lennon.


What then of the Two-Legged Tortoises? Well obviously we are worried about Ben but comforted by the fact that the lovely Jess is able to wave at him across the river and at the same time try and create better relationships between him and the GPS satellite. Ben is also researching herd immunity and will be reporting back into SAGE.

Herd Immunity


Finally, of course, as reported in yesterday’s Raising Post the exciting arrival in Cornwall and the late departure from Land’s End of Police Sergeant Mick Andrew – ex RAF (13 years) and now 14 years in the Norfolk Police Force – leading the PC Plodders who are chasing down the pack. We have been assured they are unarmed and harmless. We welcome Mick and his team as long as they don’t overtake and pull us in. ‘Keep your blue lights turned off!’.

Blickling Hall


Various stately homes have been visited by walkers. Erika Mott (the Tea Bag Stable) has sent us some Alpine blumen. Tocky F-D was joined by a friendly owl looking for an Air B&B she thought. Tor and I came across some missing PPE.


Featuring: Team Chipembere’s Charities

I would like to remind you of our two chosen Zimbabwe based charities for 2020…

Says Nigel Hadden-Paton, captain of Team Chipembere.
Imire Rhino & Conservation Trust

Imire Rhino & Conservation Trust

Imire is one of my dream places in the world.

Nigel H-P


The Travers Family continue the extraordinary conservation work started by their Grand Parents.


Imire remains at the forefront of conservation in Zimbabwe, taking part in ground-breaking Black Rhino, cheetah and Wild Dog breeding programmes, wildlife research, innovative game capture and movement and highly advanced anti-poaching solutions.

Now more than ever before, due to two years drought and the current pandemic, the Zim nation is starving. This has seen a dramatic escalation in poaching, not just for Rhino horn and Elephant tusk but for meat. Imire’s biggest need at this time therefore, are funds to maintain and enhance their Scout Force who protect the Rhino by ‘shadowing’ them 24/7.

ZANE: Zimbabwe A National Emergency

ZANE: Zimbabwe A National Emergency

Zimbabwe is now one of the poorest countries in the world with 90% unemployment and over five million people requiring urgent food aid. Zimbabwe has no welfare state. Children can only attend school if their parents can pay the school fees. People can only receive medical treatment if they can afford to pay for it.

ZANE provides aid and relief to the most impoverished communities in Zimbabwe. This includes around 600 veterans who fought for The Crown from across the Commonwealth.

ZANE looks after 1,800 impoverished pensioners with nowhere else to turn. Their position is desperate and grows worse daily as hyper-inflation makes their pensions practically worthless.

ZANE funds a Clubfoot correction programme which trains a Team of Doctors, Nurses and Health workers on how to mitigate the hideous effects of clubfoot. Eleven treatment centres have been established and over 3,800 children have received treatment to date.

ZANE was the Telegraph Group Overseas Charity of the year.

The Chipembere Lockdown Challenge

As the pandemic has made charity fundraising almost impossible, this challenge, is more modest than walking to Spain; merely requiring teams to walk/run ‘virtually’ from Lands End to John O’Groats.

I have raised a team; we are calling ourselves Team Chipembere’ – which means “Rhino” in Shona, one of the Zim dialects.

TEAM CHIPEMBERE PLAN TO RAISE £30,000 for ZANE and IMIRE,
with, they hope, your wonderful support.
You can give to the joint causes by visiting their Just Giving Page

A Memory

By Tom Bagge

John O’Groats
Tom Bagge has been this way (Land’s End to John O’Groats) before and is pleased to remind us of his experiences of the first day. For some reason, he seems to have found a shorter route than the one selected for this challenge – or perhaps the UK has grown a bit in the last 40 years!

In 1979 I accepted without much thought the invitation of my great friend, Jonathan Bengough, to bike 870 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats. After a wonderful birthday party overlooking the River Alde at Iken on the Suffolk coast, I caught a train to Exeter; the plan being to meet Joe on the last train to Penzance. It was only when everyone bar Joe had disembarked from the train that I was finally convinced he had set me up. However on making enquiries, I learnt that there was a later train due to arrive about 10.30 pm – so I went to pass the time in a pub. Two pints later Joe arrived and we set off in the dark to bike the 10 miles to Lands End: the furthest I can recall ever having biked!

We slept behind a wall overlooking Lands End. On waking, heroic thoughts were badly dampened by the sight of a walker wearing a T shirt ‘Lands End to John O’Groats’! By breakfast time we were back in Penzance – and when settling up for our full English we mentioned our goal to the waitress in the vague hope the bill might be waived – her response was ‘oh, the season has started then’!

At the end of Day 1 we had cycled about 60 miles – and we decided that we deserved a B&B rather than a sleeping bag in a field.

It is worth saying we were very unprepared for the challenge, as indeed I am this time. Sadly neither of us had a camera nor did we keep a diary. In order to find the route we had to rely on Joe’s leather bound car atlas, pre-dating town bypasses and motorways.

Tom helping the UK deal with its litter problem

The Raising Post: Issue 2

The Raising Post: Issue 2

Issue 2 Print Edition


Day 2 Update

Day One was a success!

Tor of the Tor-toise Team

Day One proved to be pretty predictable, almost all teams starting with typical enthusiasm and completing their allotted 50 miles. Some even exceeding it by as much as 9 miles but of course that does not count in the rules and so suggests poor team management. Time of course will tell if this proves right.



The QuaRun Team fell a few miles short but represented the contribution of only 6 members. It may be that they have adopted a strategy of resting team members at intervals but it is understood the real problem is that they have full time jobs and are chained to desks and screens. Julian H however completed an impressive 10 miles, keeping his team within reach of the leading pack. Team leader Tocky F-D also put in a helpful 7 miler in between baking the most delicious sourdough loaves I have ever tasted.

Tocky F-D

The Chipembere Team, or the “Alcoholic” Golfers as we are tempted to nickname them, posted late and therefore feature poorly on the tracking map. It is uncertain how many walkers were used to achieve their target as publicity in other media appear to suggest there are 14 members of this team. Pictures posted by them show a variety of team members ‘participating’ or more like ambling in the sunshine and a video of two members of the team seemingly running for their lives somewhere in Zimbabwe but nothing of the chasing rhino, whose cause they are championing. The Lockdown Challenge Stewards will be looking closely at their returns.

Chipembere appeared to be taking it easy…


Just North of Land’s End?


Other notable performances for the day include 10.5 miles from Michael G for the Escargotoire, supported by a very late and courageous entrant to their team, Richard L, substituting for a last minute withdrawal. Pictures submitted by them suggest they are taking a coastal route as they are always on the beach. Michael (aka Dan)’s map reading was never that strong, so maybe it is better he keeps going north keeping the sea on his left. He should eventually reach John O’Groats.


The Husselby Harriers – who have asked their name be changed to the Walky Talkies – continue to keep a low but very steady profile. Jude O, Tom Bagge. John W (Charity: the Samaritans) and Issy F all put in some heavy mileage, contributing to a team total of nearly 60 miles. Impressive, but perhaps peaking a little too early.


All teams are back on the road again today, Saturday 16th May. Some reporting that they are in Devon. Michael G is still on the beach! Dogs abound and Ben of the Two Legged Tortoises continues on his troubled way. Mental health issues are a concern here.

Open to interpretation…

Alec Armitage leading the Two Cranks and a Chain biking team continues to ‘sledge’ from the side lines. Wait till he gets started!


This completes the daily round up as the reporter still has several miles to do!


A View from the Stewards’ Box

By Christopher Lloyd Owen

It is a signal honour to be asked to officiate as a Steward for the “Lockdown” – one of the great races of the season, organised here by a Norfolk character, to whom I shall just refer as the Bookie’s Bag (BB).

In a spirit of true British eccentricity various teams are racing from Land’s End to John O’Groats, under rules laid down by the BB. Except they’re not. They’re only pretending. The teams are also allowed various means of propulsion – pseudo walking, virtual running, and fake biking. Nobody except the Bookie’s Bag understands the weighting system, so we Stewards have assumed that the fake bikers have started several hundred miles west of the Scillies in the Atlantic.

Teams submit their own mileage tallies. Many of the teams are commanded by ex-officers of the same British Cavalry regiment, governed of course by esprit de corps. C words like “coterie”, “cabal”, “clique” do not of course spring to mind. There is also a Police Team, who may declare they are on duty so that they can exercise lockdown law and turn any teams back they come across. Good luck to the other rag-taggle teams. It is clear, now they’re out in the country, that these teams are fiercely competitive.

The Bookie’s Bag collates submitted mileages, believes them without question, and sticks pins in a dodgy online map according to his fancy. He also acted as starter, and is himself participating in the Race, so no favours there. We think one team might have sneaked half a dozen extra professional African runners in with the Old Age Pensioners, so they can submit best daily scores. We are not sure if the all teams are doing the race in the correct direction. We know of one team member who is going round in circles.

The idea is (apparently) that there is no winner, and everybody crosses the finishing line at the same moment, which follows the idea of racing very neatly. We also understand the webcam at JO’G is broken which makes a photo finish difficult. The main idea though is to raise money to support Carers in the community rather than participating in a bonkers race.

If there are challenges or Stewards’ Enquiries, then a spirit of anarchy, quirkiness and good humour will doubtless prevail. The Bookies Bag is also the Chief Steward. Remember the point –

Who cares?


If you are able to, please donate to the Walking4Norfolk Lockdown Challenge Fund. Even a small gift will be invaluable.


The Raising Post: Issue 1

The Raising Post: Issue 1

Issue 1 Print Edition


Welcome to the First Issue

Today we are proud to launch the first edition of The Raising Post. We hope you will enjoy it.

The wretched virus and the consequential Lockdown has presented many considerable challenges. The mainstream media like to focus almost predominantly on the negative side of how our political masters and administrators are meeting these challenges.

In the Raising Post we intend to adopt Oddball (aka Donald Sutherland)’s ‘can do’ approach made famous in the great spoof war film Kelly’s Heroes ..He would say:

Don’t give me those negative waves… Just think – there will be a way and there will be a way.

In that spirit and motivated by the great Captain Tom, we have devised a challenge to raise the profile and funds for deserving causes. With its emphasis on ‘raising’ we have adopted the title The Raising Post.

This journal of limited editions will chart the progress and stories of nine teams as they make their ‘virtual’ way from Lands End to John O’Groats over the next three weeks. Seven teams of eight walkers each ‘left’ today. Two teams of bikers will depart on 24th May and endeavour to chase down the walkers. The competition we expect will be intense and the encounters on the route no less dramatic.
Lockdown Challenge Route

A number of the teams are ‘running’ (actually walking) to promote the cause of those unsung unpaid heroes of school age who care selflessly for their loved ones, parents or siblings; at home the Young Carers are denied many of the privileges of a carefree youth uncomplainingly. They are in effect performing an essential social service.

Another team individual is raising money for The Samaritans who are offering a vital service in threatening mental environment.

There is a very international flavour to the participants. One team is made up of Zimbabweans or at least a number who are very closely affiliated. They run in support of a local emergency fund there to aid those in need and a local Save the Rhino charity. All great as long as they don’t bring the rhino with them!

We will profile the causes and some of the individuals and their teams as we go.
Escargatoire: view at the off

We look forward to reporting on and charting the daily progress of the teams.

We invite contributions from the teams. The daily deadline for publication has to be 4 pm as the editor has miles to walk and has a progress map to edit.

We will even publish Letters to the Editor.

Finally if anyone has anything they wish to promote, there will be an advertising section for an appropriate contribution to the causes.


Today’s News

The morning broke fine and clear. The sight of white frost on the ground caused Tor Bagge of the Two Legged Tortoises on looking out of her window to cry out ‘My runner beans! I cannot believe I failed to put them in last night. I have been nursing them all spring’. As an essential member of the that team, it is hoped that this will not affect her own runner beans.

The Human Hares

Michael G (for some unexplained reason known to his army friends as Dan) leading the Escargatoires (=snail nursery) started realistically on the coast. We were pleased to see him there as the team were late arrivals and for a while suspected non-starters. But Gurneys never disappoint!

The Human Hares are led by John and Tian who were hoping to find a hare-dresser en route. They do look remarkably like John and Yoko! Standing in the dock at Southampton trying to get to Holland or France…the man in the cap said you got to go back ..Christ you know it aint easy..etc. In a more optimistic tone they were heard to say:

Hare today and gone in 18 days!

Tom litter-picking
Jude

The Tea Bag Stable are prolific publishers. The leader Tom also likes to make sure that his route is litter free and has requested bonus points for his labours. The stewards are reviewing this request. Erika, the Austrian mountaineer, has not moved far since we last recorded her position. Same mountain, same rocks, same stride. Finally Jude walks in the same manner as Taffy did in my platoon at Mons Officer Cadet school..right arm and right leg forward at the same time which could challenge the hips by the time she gets to the Borders.

The QuaRun Team look as though they operating in pretty flat country and George looks frighteningly fit. Not seen any of their other runners out yet. Possibly they are all late starters

Ben’s route…

The Two legged Tortoises appear to be having trouble with their technology. Ben looks like he has walked straight out of a pub but has inadvertently created a dart shaped route. Faye (aka the Fen Hag)’s route apparently was recorded sitting at her kitchen talking on the telephone. We are not quite sure what happened to the tracker when it went out on a limb of its own accord. She thinks it went to look for her!

…and Faye’s route!

We have heard nothing from the Walky Talkies but must assume they want to lie low. Not too low, we hope.

There was a lot of noise from Team Chipembere (which apparently in local tongue means Rhino but actually sounds more like a quote from an alcoholic golfer) last evening in advance of the start; but they too have been remarkably quiet today. No doubt we will hear more and report on that tomorrow.

Two Cranks and a Chain

Finally the biker team Two Cranks and a Chain are following the walkers’ progress avidly and are themselves now in training. At the moment they are struggling to charge the batteries on their electric bikes.

Tomorrow we will bring news of all the team’s progress, challenges and fresh stories.


A Cause Profile – The Young Carers:

The Unsung Heroes

They are essential workers.
They are unpaid
They never have a break
They don’t get clapped
Their cause is not championed by the media
Their responsibilities will endure even after lockdown
They are school children upon whom huge responsibilities devolve which they fulfil with love and devotion
They are the Young Carers
They ask for nothing but they need support
They need your recognition

Go to the Walking4Norfolk fundraising page and hit the Donate button.
£10 or less will mean a lot

Teabags depart on Day 1


Diary Day 2

It is the eve of the challenge. One team, as yet unnamed, is yet to arrive at the start point but we remain confident they will be there. We are told this might be something to do with public transport and social distancing. Grant Shapps the Transport Secretary has assured us he is ‘doing everything he humanly can, stretching every sinew and ramping up anything which comes to hand in order to get them there!’

Major H-P

Meanwhile, warming up at the start are six teams:

The Human Hares led by John P are all drinking and walking companions. It is hoped by the opposition they will be doing more of the former than the latter, but only time will tell.

The Tea Bag Stable is owned and run of course by T(om) Bag(ge), himself sometimes known to his friends as ‘Tetley’. It has a Yorkshire Brew element represented by Issy and Tavie from Northallerton and is a team which includes an international runner Erika M from Lermoos in Austria supported by more local Lincolnshire Poachers.

Colonel Will

Chipembere led by the debonnaire Major H-P, with members of his family and friends from Zimbabwe, are not only helping Walking4Nofolk raise the profile of Young Carers but are also raising money for causes very close to their hearts, the Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation and ZANE, a National Emergency trust helping local people.

The subtly named QuaRunTeam is led by Tocky F-D (my lovely daughter), supported by her husband George and a number of frighteningly fit looking friends whom we hope will be distracted by their day jobs and looking after babies when they get home. It looks as if at least one of their team has his hands full.

Ben

The Two Legged Tortoises led by Challenge organiser James Bagge (me!) have had to make a late replacement. Trish McC, an ultra marathon runner, has generously agreed to take part at short notice and huge relief to the other team members. I mentioned one of our number yesterday, Ben, and described him as contemplative – but don’t be deceived by the looks!

 

Breaking News! Tom Bagge (‘Tetley’) has arrived at the bus stop in Land’s End and is wondering where to roll out his sleeping bag.

‘Tetley’

Michael Gurney and team are on their way from London, thanks to the Transport Secretary’s intervention. They have aptly called themselves Escargatoire, which in English is a nursery for snails.

Husselby’s Harriers led by Jill are nearing the start and we will hear more about them and their form when they disclose it! Suffice to say they are all over a certain age and should be sheltering!

Good luck to all!

Erika