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

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

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

The Lockdown Challenge

The Lockdown Challenge

Start Date for the Walkers: 15th May

Start Date for the Bikers:     24th May

13th May 2020.

This is the Lockdown Challenge of all Challenges. Seven teams on foot, each of eight ‘exceptional’ athletes are now arriving ‘virtually’ at the start line at Land’s End. Their destination is John O’Groats. Eighteen days of tough competition made all the more intense by the departure on 24th May of  two teams of cyclists who will be striving to chase down the foot weary teams as they battle North.

There is Erika from Austria running for the Tea Bag Stable. It is said she is strong on challenging ground and will run well in Scotland.

Contemplative Ben of the Two Legged Tortoise team is determined. He is driven by the thought that ‘it is the courage to continue which counts’ and it is hoped that he will still believe this when he meets his Scottish cousin Nevis

The QuaRun Team has amongst their impressive number Julian Harvie . ‘Run for the money, walk for the show, stretch to get ready, now go cat go’ One to be watched we think.

Emphasising the international element of the competition Major Nigel Hadden-Paton ex Household Cavalry leads a predominantly Zimbabwean team running for a local animal welfare cause. ‘Is it not strange how all these cavalry officers end up dismounting and using their own two feet?’ He is joined by his son Harry, a Tony Award nominee, who has recently been starring on Broadway as Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady.

More about the runners and riders or other teams tomorrow on the eve of the start.