31 January, 2014

Public Omnibus

Mark Mason travelled Land's End to John O'Groats by local bus, and wrote a book about it, Move Along, Please. He sent the following to our Membership Secretary:

Hi Adrian 
Thanks very much for the fantastic certificate - I've just tweeted about it. 'Public omnibus' is a brilliant touch. Sorry I couldn't make the ceremony - but hope the weekend went with a bang? 
Cheers, Mark

Torquay Weekend

by Geoff De’Ath



This is what most of us call it – the Torquay Weekend.  Strictly speaking, it is the Annual Dinner and Presentation Weekend.  It was held, in our spiritual home, the Toorak Hotel, Torquay, from the 24th to 26th January, a stay of two nights.  Some members like to arrive on Thursday for an extra night.  This year 19 of us did, but as the Toorak was not re-opening till Friday afternoon after redecoration of the restaurant, we were accommodated overnight at the inter-connecting Victoria Hotel.

Sadly, two familiar faces were not with us this time. About a week beforehand Bett Lawrence, a very long-standing member, passed away only a fortnight short of her 92nd birthday and on the 8th January Eddie Sedgemore* lost his beloved wife Beryl. I am sure many of you, not at Torquay, would not have known this.  Their attendance at these weekends went back over many years, Beryl’s since 2002 and Bett’s even longer.  The Association sends its condolences to the families of these two fine ladies whose cheerful presence was much missed.  However, both Eddie, supported by his son Leslie and Liz Bowen, one of Bett’s daughters, with her husband Jem, were there;  they were brave and it was good to see them in such circumstances.  At the Dinner on Saturday, before we sat down to the meal, our Chairman, Brian Dawson, requested us to stand and reflect on our memories of them.

The number of diners in our group at that Dinner compared favourably with last year.  Here is a list based on Julie Jones’ seating plan:

Liz Bowen & Jem, Neville Tetley, Derek & Janet Bootyman, Meriel Shotton, Karen Bower with her children Harry & Imogen, Ken & Shirley Ascott, Jeff Chambers & Jenny, Adrian & Sarah Cole and Adrian’s parents, Trevor & Margaret and their son Henry, Geoff & Anne De’Ath, John & Jill Blanchard, Ronnie Dykstra, John Beresford, Mike & James Stiff, Richard Popplewell & Gloria, Roy & Brenda Walker and their daughter Carole, Chris & Ann Hatton, Barry & Paula Bias, Eldon & Gladys Mackridge, Cliff & Anne Harrison and their daughter Sue Fernee, Russell & Carole George and their son Daniel and daughter Hannah,  Brian & Pat Dawson, Don & Jean Dyer, Frazer & Rachel Allen, Eddie Sedgemore and his son Leslie, Michael & Janet Riley, Jack & Theresa Adams, John & Tanya Harle, John & Margaret Desborough, Don & Margaret Cannon, Tony & Kath Bagley, Julie & Colin Jones, Colin & Ros Jordan, Graham & Kay Brain and Bob & Julie Fisher.

 I make that 72 divided between eight tables; not at all bad and although down on record levels of a few years ago, the warmth and friendliness was as good as ever.  It is always a pleasure to meet and greet new members and we all mixed well.  We are rightfully proud of the absence of any cliques and discussions about the comparative merits of different modes of travel.  We have all done the End to End and have a communal spirit and enjoy a fun social weekend among friends, old and new. The ratio of old members against new was tilted very much towards the former and it would be nice if more new members could attend, even if only once, as otherwise they will never know what they are missing!  For Anne and me it’s like an annual family reunion and we quickly pick up on where we left off last time, be it one or several years ago.  The fact that we are all End to Enders (or were, once at least), has become almost incidental.

Saturday morning was taken up with the AGM and subsequent Committee meeting. Changes on the committee were the resignation of Geoff and Anne De’Ath as Editor and Minutes Secretary respectively, the resignation of Julie Jones as Social Secretary and the appointment of Katharine Arzul as Editor. Jeff Chambers announce he will be stepping down as Treasurer at next year’s AGM and long-standing member Mike Stiff has offered to fill this vacancy. As I write this, the dates for next year’s Torquay Weekend have not been finalised, nor have those for the late summer weekend (probably last in September or first in October and probably in Glasgow) and members will be notified of dates in due course.

The Dinner on Saturday evening was good (though unlike Friday’s there was no choice), and the Arlington Suite tailor-made for our requirements; an ideal room for such a convivial occasion. At dinner Julie and Theresa offered a (not to) strip for £1 and we willingly parted with our money tempted by the deluxe raffle prizes which had been donated by members (I’m sure I’d seen some of them before………..)  Raising £227 was a “terrific effort”.

At this point Brian with his customary aplomb and polish announced that it was time for the cups/trophies to be presented to the winners – or those winners in attendance.  Jack Adams was passed the mike and an excellent job he made of reading out the citations of those concerned before his lovely wife Theresa handed them over (plus kiss).  Here follow details of the feats of those in attendance:

 Committee Cup -  Russell George  who walked JOG to LE in 56 days and raised £17,500 for cancer research.


Jack Adams/Richard Elloway Trophy  -  Harry Bower who with his mum, Karen, and younger sister Imogen, travelled by bus and train from JOG to LE in 27 hours.


Cock ‘o The North Shield  -  Frazer Allen who did a round trip of 1980 miles over six days on a 80cc Yamaha moped while raising £1600 for his charity “Loros” in memory of his great friend Scott.


Joan Cave Memorial Cup   -  Graham Brain who cycled from JOG to LE , walking up Ben Nevis en route. He covered the whole journey in 34 days and raised £8267.96 for his charity BRAKE.


Mabel McCracken Mug  -  John Blanchard wrote an article about his EtoE  in 1998 in an Austin Seven making comparisons with his original EtoE in his Austin Seven in 1953, on both occasions accompanied by his friend, Roy.  For accounts of both trips refer to issues and 80 & 81.


Tourco Trophy  -  John Harle rode his 2003 Ducati motorcycle from JOG to LE (841 miles) in 18hrs. 51 mins. and raised £1,400 for Cancer Research.


Griffin Cup  -  Bob Fisher  (a previous winner) with his mates from the Vintage Motorcycle Club rode his 1966 Triumph Tiger 100 from JOG to LE in 6 days and personally raised £21,507.40 for his charity supporting Parkinson UK. Over the years and six EtoEs he has raised over £113,000 for various charities.


Other winners of cups/trophies, not in attendance were: Shank’s Pony Trophy – Philip Hodson;  Charlie Hankins’ Memorial Trophy  -  Glyn Brackenbury  (by kayak – see his website: www.kayakingnorth.com/blog.php ) Brenroy Trophy  -  Danny Wells;  Chase Korte Memorial Cup  -  Kate Swann

Certificates were presented to :  Karen Bower & her daughter Imogen who were with Harry.


The following would have been presented with certificates had they been present;  disappointing they weren’t:  Philip Goswell (cyclist), Mike Wood (cyclist), Malcolm Wylie (walker), Mark Mason (local buses), Katherine Hough (walker), Maggie Thompson (cyclist), Carl Squirral (moped and hand built sidecar).

I took photos of all the prize winners and after the last one had been presented thought my job was over and I could return to my table.

………..Not quite……………. Brian then announced that the Wife wanted to say something; in fact to give a citation.  As she grabbed the mike and unfolded a sheet of yellow foolscap I beat a quick retreat to a nearby wall and listened to her words, unaware of what they would be:

After more than 15 years editing 45 issues of Quo Vadis? Geoff has now finally put his mouse back in his trap with a large chunk of cheddar to keep him quiet (the mouse, not Geoff).

It is therefore a fitting opportunity to make a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding services to journalism in general and Quo Vadis? in particular.  He has enriched our lives with his wit and erudition and his contributions have been of inestimable value.  He is the embodiment of integrity and loyalty, always keeping the wellbeing of the Association uppermost in his mind.  Indeed, without him, the magazine would not have become the bundle of unalloyed fun that we all know it to be………………It would be a great deal drabber were it not for his unique way of moaning and grumbling and making sure we were well aware of the countless hours he spent burning the midnight oil in an attempt, often a vain one, to solve the puzzles and quizzes.

Regularly he has subjected himself to a starvation diet and rubbed his calumet vigorously before announcing in a sad, almost pathetic way, that he was “getting there”.  Well, at last he has got there and can justifiably claim that his has indeed been a “terrific effort”.

I refer, of course, to Mr. Teabags; Mr. Neville Teabags.  Most of you know him as Neville Tetley.  However, it is a popular misconception that this is his real name and that Teabags is a pseudonym.  Quite the reverse, though it is true that he used the name Tetley when he enrolled as a member of our Association hundreds of years ago and the name by which most of us know him today. Neville is descended from the formidable dynasty of Teabags originating in Ceylon - as it was then.  Teabags itself is a shortened form of the family name – Teabagsatunga.

He has various noms de plume up his sleeve which he uses for other circles and groups in which he mixes.  For example, with all activities connected with his local horticultural society and the National Association of Ropemakers of which he is a former president, he calls himself Twinings – Neville Twinings.  He is a member of a discussion group in Bournville renowned for its quick fire repartee and banter, for which he uses the name Liptons……….(Lip….tons [of]).  I think we realise how appropriate that one is………………And then there’s the “Bournville and Beyond Meteorological Society” which is affiliated to the national one.  His membership there goes under the name of Typhoo…….[geddit?].  Finally I am reliably informed that for one dodgy syndicate not far from his home, he is known to one and all as Mr. P.G.Tips (not many people know that…….). ……And as for Lady Grey………the less said about that, the better…….

Call him what you will, I now ask Geoff to present Neville with this prestigious award – which by now has become “worst after”, as the “best before” date was intended for 2012 and not only was he not allowed to come that year because he was involved in a leapfrog competition to celebrate the late lamented Bett Lawrence’s 90th birthday, but he also missed last year, owing, he claims, to snow on the road…….ALBERT NEVILLE TETLEY-TEABAGS.

At this point I was handed a parcel, containing I know not what, and told to give it to Neville – which I did and then resumed my seat on our table.


Not for long……………I am rather vague about what happened next.  No sooner had I sat down than I was summoned by our Chairman to step forward and told where to stand.  Cue for our President, Roy Walker to start reading a letter he had been passed.  You’ll never guess who it was from – none other than the famous Mrs. Trellis from North Wales.  Goodness me, how news travels………….. and here it is for your delight:

Suite 94
Home for the Bewildered Gentlrfolk
North Wales.
January 2014.
                                                                                                                                                                    Dear Mr. Death,

I read that you are about to hang up your quill and stop putting together that marvellous comical periodical named after the film in which I starred as a young actress.

I have followed your career, if that is what it could be called, with some interest and have always tried to make the effort to attend your annual jolly in Torquay (where I could also pay a visit to my friend Agatha) but somehow the transport system from North Wales is not always found to be “fit for purpose” and I finish up in some other place which I do not recognise.

I read that you had expressed concern at my “non show” a couple of years ago.  This was much appreciated and sent me “all of a flutter” which according to my doctor, and accounting for my age, is quite an achievement!

I have asked one of my staff to type my note to you as my hand quivers with excitement at the thought of your name.  If you ever need quality accommodation in North Wales then I can recommend a stay at my establishment where we can continue our relationship on a more personal footing.

Yours admiringly,

Mrs. Philomena Trellis (now unattached).

Phew!!  That certainly sent me “all of a flutter”.  I can comment no further on this at present pending the outcome of a discussion I will be having with the Wife………… I honestly cannot remember if this letter was read out before or after I was presented with a magnificent clock crafted by Cliff Harrison (It must be the name as I am convinced he is a direct descendant of John Harrison, the great English clockmaker who died in 1776 after who inventing the marine chronometer which prevented many maritime disasters).  It is unique, personal and something which I will always cherish.  It is also creative and thoughtful. I would have loved to watch Cliff at work on it.


This was a very special moment for me…………  Not finished yet, I was given three   retirement  cards, specially designed and printed by Cliff  (a very talented man is Cliff) and collectively signed by the assembled company (though I haven’t a clue when and where they did so), another one beautifully made by Theresa and signed by her and Jack and another by Don and Jean with a framed photo of Anne and me taken at Land’s End last year at the conclusion of 3013 and as if these were not enough, Anne and I were given a very generous voucher for the South Bank (Royal Festival Hall etc.) so we can choose the event and venue.  Although I thanked everybody in the room, I should like to repeat this and express my enormous gratitude and appreciation for the generosity and warmth I have received……….   All because I was privileged and honoured to edit Quo Vadis? for 15 years.  It was a labour of love but one I enjoyed enormously.  Thank you.


…………There was yet more to come.  Jeff Chambers observed that when Beryl and Bett attended these Weekends they were always smiling.  Very true.  He therefore suggested that it would be a nice gesture to award a nominal token to him/her deemed by our Chairman to have the biggest smile at the Dinner.  Brian walked between all the tables, lingering at some, less so at others.  “Who will it be?” we chorused, expectantly,  “Who will it be…………?”  Eventually, after a few red herrings (not on menu) he alighted at table number 2 – Ken Ascott & Shirley, Jeff Chambers & Jenny and five members of the Cole family………..and then, quick as a flash, without hesitation, deviation or repetition, he pointed to………….. Margaret Cole.  Well done, Margaret. You have created a precedent to be followed by generations of End to Enders in years to come!

And that was that.  Apart from returning the cups and trophies to the locked cabinet where they reside from one year to the next, removing the photos and press cuttings of various new members on their journeys which Adrian had helpfully displayed on a board, and a little socialising we all made for our bedrooms and a good night’s sleep before breakfast on Sunday morning and then the drive home on yet another wet day, but not before, in many cases, depleting Jeff’s stock of merchandise.

* Eddie will be running in the Edinburgh Marathon in May to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, his target being £2,500.  If you wish to donate you may do so online at: www.justgiving.com/EddieSedgemore1942

30 January, 2014

2014 Presentation weekend

by Jack Adams:
       
As we had arranged to attend the funeral of a very good friend, Beryl Sedgemore just outside Bath, we had a sleep in and left home at 0715hrs. The weather, as we say in Yorkshire was “fair damp” that equates to raining cats and dogs in other parts. We had a breakfast break at Trowel services near Nottingham and devoured our egg and bacon butties washed down with our own coffee and not the ditch water they serve at the services. Our next stop was at Strensham services where we met up with Julie and Colin Jones, then on to the funeral.

Beryl’s husband Eddie was so brave in getting up to speak of his life with Beryl. Also attending were Tony and Kath Bagley and Geoff and Anne De Ath. I was following Colin as I was new to my sat nav, it’s one of these new fangled things that you can enter your destination orally. Either I was doing something wrong or it failed to understand my accent. Julie and Colin stopped for a snack so we carried on and arrived at the Toorak at 1645hrs.

We had been booked into the Victoria, one of the same groups as the Toorak, after our evening meal we decided to visit the starlight room for bingo and entertainment. You have probably heard of the 18 to 30 club, well this was the 75 to 100 club, after saying that they really excelled themselves dancing the night away.

The following morning we checked out and as our rooms at the Toorak were not ready we had a walk into Torquay via the harbour where we spotted a cormorant perched on the harbour wall, it then dived into the outer harbour looking for it’s breakfast, we waited there for 5 minutes but we never saw it surface anywhere, we walked to the end the pier and when we saw it again in the inner harbour when it repeated it’s disappearing act, I would like to know how long they are able to remain submerged.

On arriving back at the Toorak we found our room was ready, after unpacking we met up with Colin and Julie in the games arena, we were amazed to find it full of people all sporting green wrist bands, it turned out they were on a coach trip on an all inclusive basis, this means they get free drinks throughout their stay.

That evening again we visited the starlight room to find it heaving with people, I would hesitate to say they behaved like animals as it would be unfair to animals, it was just as well that the bingo numbers were displayed on a screen otherwise we would have to lip read as you could not hear the caller.

After the bingo we left and went back to the Toorak to give our ears a rest where we met up with all our old friends including Mr & Mrs Barry Bias who came all the way over from Spain for the weekend, how’s that for dedication?

Saturday as usual is AGM meeting day followed by the committee meeting, it was like the changing of the guard with resignations coming fast and furious, well, maybe not furious. Geoff and Anne De Ath we all knew about, then Julie Jones resigned as social secretary via email some weeks prior to the weekend, then came the bombshell that Jeff Chambers announced he was to retire at the end of the year. It shows the resilience of the Association in that Katharine has taken over as editor, Kath Bagley took over as minute’s secretary, Mike Stiff will take over next year from Jeff and Geoff De Ath will look after the late summer weekend for this year and Brian Dawson will talk to the Toorak management for next year’s bookings. On top of all this I have found an assistant route advisor in Chris Hatton, Chris has a wealth of knowledge of walking routes and I will be VERY glad of his help. We have also had an offer of help from Karen Bower that we will certainly take up.

Saturday evening was one of the best for some time, I stood in for Emma Jones who could not make the weekend and I was assisted by my wife Theresa. I think the highlight of the weekend was the attendance of Karen Bower and her two delightful children Imogen and Harry who was up for an award.

There were even more presentations when I had finished my stint: Anne had a presentation to make to a very special guy, Mr Neville teabags Tetley who has been a regular solver of Geoff’s puzzles over the years. The committee decided when we learned that Geoff and Anne were retiring to make a special award after his years of service: they were presented with a delightful clock made by Cliff Harrison, then with a theatre voucher as they are what I call “culture vultures” (no offence intended Geoff and Anne).

As usual there was one mistake when Russell George was given the wrong trophy, fortunately his son had better eyesight than the rest of us and we found the correct trophy in a box. The raffle was another success raising over £270 to fund the QV photos. After chatting with some very entertaining and delightful people we retired to the bar where I must have turned down a dozen offers of drinks, unfortunately I had a long drive home the following, I think I must be at long last showing some sense???

We had intended calling in on an old friend in Torquay but time ran away with us so it was homeward bound through yet more “fair damp” weather.
Another year starts and I hope it is a successful one for our Association.

22 January, 2014

The Scenic Route

A 1395 mile walk through mainland UK from The Lizard to Dunnet Head incorporating Lands End to John o’Groats

by Kathryn Hough


Kathryn with her certificate, and some of the postcards she wrote to her daughter and husband while on her walk.

Although I have always been a keen walker, my first proper long distance expedition of more than a week or so was when I completed the entire South West Coast Path between the end of October and early December 2010. On this journey, I walked 687 miles in 39 days, including walking around all the estuaries where ferries are closed in the winter. I wanted to complete a longer and more challenging walk, whilst remaining in UK. I decided that I would use footpaths rather than roads as much as possible. I had met a walker on the South West Coast path who was circumnavigating UK. However, I was unable to take sufficient time off for that challenge – at least not as a continuous or near continuous expedition. Inspired by John Hillaby’s book, Journey through Britain, which I read in my late teens, I looked at completing LeJOG. However I soon realised that, for little additional time, I could do this within a walk from the far south to far north points of mainland UK.

I started on 14 March 2013 and planned a journey with eighty walking days. The timing was planned so that I could attend a School Governor’s meeting on evening of 13 March, get out of the south west peninsula before Easter and the arrival of tourists who might occupy many of the bed and breakfast stops, hopefully avoid snow throughout, and walk through Scotland before the arrival of the midges.

I was indeed out of the south west peninsula by Easter, spending Easter Day walking from Cheddar to Keynsham to stay with my mother. I reached The Cotswold Way on the morning of Easter Monday at Lansdown, a few miles away from its start point in the centre of Bath.

However, winter was late to end in 2013 and I caught up with snow on Exmoor. Fortunately there was never so much snow to prevent me walking. Snow in the sun over Dunkery Beacon, as I walked from Exford made for impressive views, but once I was over the Beacon the snow rapidly disappeared. My next encounter with snow was some remnants on the Cotswold Way. On my two days from Ilam to the start of the Pennine Way at Edale, there were some drifts on some of the footpaths and this made for difficult and uncomfortable walking in places. On the Pennine Way itself, there was a difficult section walking off Fountains Fell, where snow and ice had collected in a gully and I had to leave the path on a steep slope to get around this. The walk from Dufton to Alston over the highest point of the entire walk at Cross Fell was passable. There was one big band of snow before Knock Fell summit but I managed to find a relatively narrow part of it and was able to kick some steps in it to get over. The warden at Alston Youth Hostel told me that the route had been virtually impassable for walkers due to snow only a week previously. This wouldn’t have prevented my “End to End” walk as I could have walked round the high ground. However it would have prevented one of the secondary aims – to complete The Pennine Way. Once I was in Scotland, the only lying snow I saw was at a distance.

With respect to midges, the late cold spell meant that they caused me no trouble. They all seemed to be hibernating. Moreover, my change of planned route after Fort William – up the Great Glen and then sharp north from Drumnadochit instead of a remote route across the North West Highlands – meant that I avoided the usual most midge infested areas.

In the end my route change meant that I walked for seventy-six days rather than the planned eighty days. I had two rest days – one after a thirty mile walk when I fitted two days into one due to accommodation issues and one when I met my husband who brought my larger rucksack and camping equipment to Glasgow. Before that I had relied entirely on B&B, hostels and hotels. I did have some shorter days though, which gave me extra time to organise bookings, write cards or just to read and relax.

I walked an estimated total of 1395 miles, the long distance accounted for by my route weaving between west and east and my decision to include the whole Pennine Way. The only other long distance path that I covered in its entirety was the West Highland Way. Other major paths that I used in parts were the South West Coast Path, Macmillan Way West, Cotswold Way, Heart of England Way, Staffordshire Way, St Cuthbert’s Way, Southern Uplands Way and Great Glen Way.

High points: 

  • Starting the walk at Lizard Point and the expectation of looking forward to my upcoming adventure. 
  • Staying at B+B I had been to previously on my South West Coast Path walk and meeting some “old friends” – Mrs Foy at Praa Sands, Chris Hutton (himself a walking end to ender) at Porthcurno, Emma at Portreath, Pat and Bernard at Crantock, Mrs Nederpel at Porthcothan. 
  • Leaving Cornwall – amazingly this was already the eleventh day – Cornwall is a very long county and it wasn’t helped by me spending just over two days at the beginning getting from The Lizard to Lands End. 
  • An owl swooping in front of me when I walked to the pub in Clovelly. 
  • Staying at a B&B in Leonard Stanley where the owner had met the Queen at a reception when she was named Landlady of the Year. The evening meal and breakfast were extremely luxurious and a huge bath with loads of hot water. 
  • Having dinner at Cleeve Hill with an old friend, Dr Judy Dale, who I had not met for many years. 
  • Successfully sewing up the hole in my trousers (after dog bite – see low points) and sewing up my waterproof rucksack cover (see low points). 
  • The tranquillity and beauty of Dove Dale. 
  • The Kinder Downfall spray (impressive from a distance but not very pleasant close up!). 
  • The people I met walking the Pennine Way – Tom who I continued to see intermittently as far north as Traquair and he was doing a similar walk to me, Peter and Liz whose Pennine Way attempt sadly stopped near Middleton in Teesdale when Liz developed Achilles tendonitis, Arthur who had done loads of long distance walks – was doing a north to south end to end – and planning the complete South West Coast Path immediately after that, another Peter who completed the Pennine Way on the same day as me and I joined in his celebration with friends at The Border Hotel. 
  • The amazing impressive High Cup U shaped valley on the Pennine Way. 
  • The achievement of completing the Pennine Way. 
  • The Jacuzzi bath with waterproof TV at the hotel at Lennoxstown. 
  • Successfully pitching my tent for the first night of camping near Crianlarich. Unfortunately I couldn’t work out how to adjust it to keep the inner away from the flysheet though – so realising how to achieve this on my third camping night was a further high point. 
  • Being saved by Phil and Zita, with whom I stayed for two nights near Inveroran to allow me to dry out after my first attempt at camping. 
  • The bluebell wood with views to the sea near Dunrobin Castle. 
  • “Moonlight” near Brora and amazing views of the full moon over the sea. 
  • Seeing the Cairns of Camster. 
  • The first sight of the Pentland Firth and north coast 
  • Sunset over the Pentland Firth from camp site at Huna. 
  • The stacks at Duncansby Head. 
  • Eating Queen Mother Cake and drinking coffee at the Castle of Mey visitor centre having walked in “the back way”. 
  • Reaching Dunnet Head where a very impressed family took my photograph – on their cameras as well as on mine! 
  • The whole experience – having an opportunity to realise what varied and wonderful scenery there is in the UK and how much open space exists even in what is such a densely populated country. 
Low points: 

  •  The cold north easterly wind which persisted for day after day. 
  • Arriving at Bideford too early to go to the B&B but all the tea shops were just closing – it was bitterly cold! 
  • Being bitten by an old lady’s dog near Painswick – fortunately my skin was intact although bruised. I had a big tear in my trousers. 
  • Walking through the “industrial farmland” which seemed to constitute much of the Heart of England Way and Staffordshire Way. I became fed up with ploughed fields. 
  • An insect flew into my eye between Rugeley and Uttoxeter and the “foreign body” sensation in my eye persisted for days although there was nothing obvious to see in my eye. 
  • All the loose dogs that ran out from farms and houses on to roads and footpaths and seemed to bark in a menacing way. 
  • Public footpaths going through fields with bulls in them and having to work out how to get past by another route. 
  • All the dog walkers who had their dogs off the lead and thought I wouldn’t mind (or even blamed me) when their dogs jumped up at me. 
  • Finding myself in a field with two bullocks running towards me – I dived under a barbed wire fence and shredded my waterproof rucksack cover – fortunately no other damage. 
  • Wearing wet boots for day after day – especially on the Pennine Way. 
  • At times, I would describe walking the Pennine Way as being like walking through a very large peat bog in a wind tunnel. 
  • It took me over an hour to walk about 1.5miles from Kinder Downfall because I kept being knocked off my feet by the wind. 
  • Total exhaustion having walked over thirty miles from Malham to Hawes in a single day. This included crossing Fountains Fell and Pen-y-Ghent. I had decided to walk two days in one day as I was unable to get anywhere to stay at Horton-in-Ribblesdale. However the warden at Hawes Youth Hostel was incredibly kind and helpful. 
  • Slipping backwards at Hardraw Force – this injury to my left lower back remained painful to varying degrees for the remainder of the walk, not improving until a few weeks after I finished walking and I had seen a physio a couple of times. 
  • Reaching Inveroran Hotel in the pouring rain and strong wind with a wet tent and sleeping bag and finding that there was no chance of staying there except in the camping field (however I was rescued by Phil and Zita – see high points). 
  • The realisation that the weather conditions were too poor (rain and risk of snow fall) for me to take my planned route north of Fort William so I would have to follow the Great Glen and then a more easterly route, with little sensible alternative to some days of virtually all road walking. 
  • The very odd man who tried to talk to me on the Great Glen Way near Drumnadochit. I don’t know whether he was a danger to me but I engaged as little as possible. 
  • The very windy and wet campsite near the Dornoch Firth Bridge. Fortunately I realised that I could retreat to the laundry room to fold my tent and pack my ruck sack in the morning. 
  • The anti-climax of the commercial John O’Groats centre after the rugged splendour of Duncansby Stacks. 
  • The five mile walk from the end at Dunnet head to my campsite near Dunnet Village and the realisation that, although I had achieved my goal, the walk that I had planned and looked forward to for so long had ended.

The Scenic Route part 2

This is the article Kathryn wrote for her professional appraisal. Kathryn is a GP, and included her walk in her Professional Development Plan. Our journeys, as part of our life experiences, change us and enrich what we bring to our jobs. Thank you for sending us these articles, Kathryn!

“Is this really a sensible idea for someone on long term warfarin who had a prolapsed lumbar disc less than two years ago?”  This was the evaluation of the experienced GP who conducted my annual appraisal in December 2012 when I explained that I planned to take up to three months off from mid March 2013 in order to walk (off road as much as possible) from the south to north of mainland UK.  However by that time I was already psychologically committed to attempting my journey from The Lizard to Dunnet Head via Lands End to John O’Groats.  I had told lots of people about my plans, worked out approximate dates and a route, bought equipment and even started to look at where I would stay on the journey.  I had even worked out how to include the walk in my professional personal development plan (PDP) for 2013-14, although I’m certainly not even going to try to attempt to suggest to my accountant that the costs would be claimable against tax as a business expense.

Having completed my challenge, I’m now trying to distil the essence of the walk and explain how it has helped me to learn more about myself and lead to professional development.  Prior to the walk, I had written in my PDP as the agreed action or goal:  “When I have done similar activities in the past, they have challenged my self reliance and insight and made me feel more able to cope with the challenges that work throws at me.  Unfortunately the effect seems to wear off as the memory fades but it is exciting to have some different challenges from time to time.”  I had stated that by completing the walk I would know that I had addressed my need.  However I realise now that, before the memory fades, I do need to reflect on what I have achieved.

Before I set off, I had stated that it seemed that, as a GP, I spend my days trying to enhance the survival chances of my patients but that on my walk I would be concerned mainly with my own survival.  I planned the walk to be something for me and my own development and on this basis decided that I would not seek sponsorship to raise money for charity.  I was also aware that getting sponsorship would increase pressure on me to complete at all costs (something I had been aware had happened on the four occasions when I was sponsored to run the London Marathon) and that I would be expected to write a blog for my sponsors to read as I went along (also increasing pressure).  Moreover, if raising money for charity was the challenge then I could actually achieve this more efficiently and raise more by spending the three months working and then donating my earnings to charity.

The following summarises what I feel I have learned:

  • This walk would not have been possible without the help and support of a lot of other people.  Often as a GP I feel that I have done a lot more than the minimum for many patients to try to help them.  At times this can become a source of resentment.  However, with much lower material reward, many people showed enormous “professionalism” in their efforts to help me achieve my dream.  This was chiefly the smaller bed and breakfast providers.
  • When a task seems too enormous to achieve then to try to take it literally one step at a time.  This was particularly true near the beginning of my walk, for example after the first day when I realised that in terms of completion it was as though I had only done a few hundred metres of a marathon.
  • If I have survived the last part then I can survive the next.  For example, near the Kinder Downfall on the Pennine Way, I was unable to stand upright because it was so windy and at times I was holding on to rocks and crawling on all fours so that I did not get blown away.  It took me over an hour to cover about a mile.  I just had to focus on getting to the next rock.
  • Good organisation and forward planning make things work more smoothly.  However it is also important to remain flexible, keep options open and be prepared to change plans as conditions change.  I was very pleased that I arrived at the start of the West Highland Way on the exact day that I had planned.  I had fallen on the Pennine Way and was still suffering with some left sided low back pain when I reached the West Highland Way.  This meant that with the added weight of camping equipment that I had opted to carry from Milngavie, I was struggling more than expected.  Moreover the weather conditions were much worse than expected for the time of year – wind, wintry showers and low temperatures.  On my third day on the West Highland Way, the conditions and an exacerbation of my back pain caused by lifting my rucksack awkwardly led to me camping short of my planned destination (this was the first night I had not pre-booked any accommodation as I had actually planned to camp).  It was the first time that I had put up my tent for the night (had just pitched it in the back garden at home before).  In retrospect, this was a problem as I had not learnt how to adjust some tapes attaching the flysheet to the inner so that the flysheet would not flap on to the inner.  As a result, water dripped into my tent overnight.  Moreover, a sharp shower of rain the next morning meant that much of my equipment got wet as I packed my tent away.  That afternoon I arrived at an isolated hotel looking for accommodation to find that it was all fully booked and the only nearby alternative was to camp in a dedicated camping field near the hotel.  It was pouring with rain and extremely windy so, particularly as many of my possessions were already damp, this option was distinctly unattractive.  The helpful hotel receptionist managed to help me by putting me in contact with some people who were prepared to transport me to their home and offer bed and breakfast.  This was when I realised that my planned very remote route north of Fort William requiring consecutive nights of wild camping and away from any civilisation was unrealistic and, in the expected weather conditions, too dangerous.  Fortunately I was able to re-plan my route with a less remote and safer alternative.
  • When everything looks as if it is going wrong then not to panic but to consider options in a logical way.  For example in north Staffordshire I dived under a barbed wire fence when some bullocks in a field suddenly started to trot over towards me.  The rain cover of my rucksack was shredded on the barbed wire.  The weather was showery and I realised that the contents of my rucksack would soon become soaked.  I thought that potentially this could signal the end of my walk.  First I tried to use some adhesive dressings in my first aid kit to stick the rucksack cover back together, but the adhesive did not stick.  Next I used some safety pins strategically placed to join together as many of the shredded parts as possible.  This was satisfactory for the rest of that day.  That evening I spent about 90 minutes sewing the broken parts using a complimentary hotel mending kit that must have been in my wash kit unused for about 20 years.  This actually worked very well and, although I bought a new rain cover a couple of days later from an outdoor shop, I actually stuck with the stitched cover (in fact in the wind on the Pennine Way I would have lost any rucksack cover that was not firmly secured to my rucksack).
  • Enjoy each moment as it comes along rather than merely focussing on the end achievement.
  • Keep an eye on the main goal, but also have other goals and enjoy reaching these.  Completion of the Pennine Way and of the West Highland Way were highlights to celebrate in addition to reaching John O’Groats and subsequently Dunnet Head.
  • Coping with adversity and working out how to do this, although painful at the time, is actually satisfying and rewarding in retrospect.  The harder bits are the parts that I tend to look back at with the fondest memories although I also remember that they seemed to be disasters at the time.  These included walking in the wind near the Kinder Downfall; when my rucksack rain cover shredded on the barbed wire; the dog biting me near Painswick; the first night I camped; a thunderstorm with lightning on the Pennine Way; the exposed rock that I had to climb up on Pen-y-Ghent; crossing a band of snow on climb up Great Dun Fell amongst many others.
  • Success is 90% or more hard work and 10% or less inspiration!  Despite all the misadventures etc., most of the walk merely involved careful planning and trudging on to the destination.
  • We all need to have life dreams which we can try to achieve.  Often these include an element of danger.  It seems that in 21st century UK we increasingly risk manage excessively, over protect and hence are unable to try to achieve our ambitions and neither are we allowed to fail.  It concerns me that in many ways this means that we miss important areas of human experience.  A lot of people queried the safety of my trek as a woman walking alone. Fortunately on my walk, I only had one experience of meeting a very odd person who made me feel frightened and I used various tactics to try to reduce potential risks.

Important ideas I can use in my professional life:

  • Acknowledge the contributions of other people.  Even when working alone, it is as part of an often unseen team.
  • When things seem to be going wrong, to think logically about finding solutions.  This works better than panicking.
  • Plan but remain flexible and be prepared to change.
  • The more difficult problems can lead to the most satisfaction.
  • Keep trudging on and not to expect every day to be exciting.
  • Celebrate small achievements as well as large ones to maintain motivation.
  • Encourage others to achieve their dreams.  Be aware of risk and acknowledge it but allow people to take risks.
  • Enjoy what is happening at the time.
  • When doing a difficult task, take it a step at a time.

18 January, 2014

My Tale of LE-JOG Return Trip

by Frazer Allen



2012 was not such a good year with the death of my dear friend Hugh Scott Madden. He had battled with cancer for a number of years, however his last few weeks of his life were spent at LOROS hospice in Leicestershire. I have to say they were angels in disguise and the care they gave him was absolutely amazing.

At a New Year's Eve get together in 2012, we discussed our plans for the new year. I said I would like to do something for charity and LOROS immediately came to mind, then Land's End to John o' Groats became the challenge but the mode of transport had to have an element of interest also, hence the acquisition of an 80cc moped.


Scott's trek evolved from there, trying to travel circa 2000 miles in 6 days. With everything crossed which was physically possible as far as trying to avoid punctures or any mechanical break down.

I left Shepshed at 9:30 am on Tuesday 2nd July 2013; a few people had gathered at my flower shop to wish me luck and several people waved from their gardens also on my way out of Shepshed.

Then the reality hit me: what the hell had I agreed to under the influence of alcohol on New Year's Eve 2012.

By 1pm I was at York. I felt exhausted, I pulled over, sat down for a while, my thoughts turned to my dear friend Scott and the great cause I was doing this ride for, also the support I had received in the build up was brilliant.

I decided I could not let anyone down, so back in the saddle, I made Newcastle by 5pm and the heavens opened. I did plan to get as far as Edinburgh on day one; in the end I called it a day at Berwick-on-Tweed.

Day 2: I was away by 8am making good time as the roads were clear, getting through the traffic in Edinburgh having people piping hooters at me wishing me luck with thumbs up signs made me feel good again. Taking on the long slog to Inverness was the next task, getting there by 3pm to have a late lunch/ early tea made it all worthwhile. After refuelling my bike the next stage was the grind to Wick; I hoped to be there by 7pm. The weather was good and I arrived at Wick on time, finding a lovely bed and breakfast lodge.

Day 3: After checking my bike over I raced over to John O Groats. Knowing the first part of my journey had been completed gave me a buzz as I rode back through Wick and on to Inverness. The journey then on to Glasgow was my next challenge, hoping to get towards Moffat by bedtime, this was just about completed with not much time to spare.


Day 4: This was to be my longest day in the saddle as I had to get to Bristol to meet my partner - it just had to happen. Fortunately the weather had improved which made the ride easier, but not that easy. I arrived in Bristol at 7:30 pm, had dinner with family, then slept like a baby.

Day 5: I woke up with a spring in my step knowing today I just had to get to Land's End. Getting away by 9am I was making good time, getting to Newquay by lunch. Thinking Land's End was just around the corner, I kept plodding along for another 2 hours until I got to St Ives (had Lands End been moved and no one had told me?) The last few miles seemed to go on forever but I eventually got to Land's End.


Day 6: With my bike checked over and ready to go, the last leg was all that was left, a mere 300+ miles back to Shepshed: Making Exeter by late morning, things were going well and onwards to Bristol by lunch. By the time I got to Gloucester I knew I had nearly made it, but I still had 100 miles or so to go. It wasn't a problem after the last 5 days I had endured. By 6pm I was back home to be greeted by family. I knew also my friend Scott would have been so proud of me; for this I dedicate my award to him.

Thank you, Scott.

10 January, 2014

Here is a Puzzle...

by Geoff De'Ath

...by popular demand, an Elimination one to be precise – the first for 18 months. It’s only half the length of the last one which means it must be twice as easy and shouldn’t take you long to solve. To remind you of the rules: there are 37 words. 36 of them fit the 18 clues – two for each, leaving one spare. You have to find it and also the pairings for the others. You have until the end of April to send your solution to Geoff which might assist those who have no e-mail facilities. A prize of £11 (at the new improved rate) awaits the winner (drawn if necessary). If there is no outright winner (correct word and pairings) a prize of £5 will be awarded to anybody who correctly finds the odd word and has no more than 3 incorrect pairings. Have a go. You know it makes sense!!

a. 2 field events
b. 2 flowers
c. 2 combine to be of no value
d. ….just the opposite for these two
e. 2 make musical instrument
f. 2 containers
g. 2 for an anagram
h. 2 associated with crossing
i. 2 makes/models of car
j. 2 may be suits
k. 2 make transitional section (music)
l. 2 synonyms
m. 2 birds
n. 2 gates
o. 2 combine for security
p. 2 parts of a bird
q. 2 organs
r. 2 trees

1. Pinstripe
2. Triumph
3. Joy
4. Double
5. Garganey
6. Can
7.  Glass
8.  Harmonica
9.   Pad
10.   Barrel
11.  Worth
12.  Discus
13.  Acre
14.  Tweed
15.  Bridge
16.   Bill
17.  Breast
18.  Yew
19.  Soldier
20. Flood
21. Hearts
22.  Ford
23. Acer
24. Less
25. Rump
26. Ear
27. Tin
28. Price
29. Test
30. Hammer
31. Passage
32. Lock
33. Ash
34. Javelin
35. Elation
36. Less
37. Scaup

The Journey

by Don Dyer

I'm going on a journey
Destination still unknown
The whole world is coming with me
I'm not travelling alone.

We don't know what it looks like,
Is different or the same?
Will we like it better
Than the place from where we came?

We can't do too much research
To prepare for what will be.
We've done a little planning.
Is it plenty? We shall see.

We'll lose much loved companions,
As we travel on our way,
And new ones we don't know yet
Will be joining us each day.

My journey is important,
And I know that when it ends
I hope to be surrounded
By my family and friends.

I must admit it's daunting
I am filled with hope and dread.
But onwards, ever onwards,
It's the future where we head.

07 January, 2014

Route Advisor's Report

by Jack Adams

This has been another poor year for the route packs; it would appear that the heady days of a few years ago when we were mailing 40 to 50 packs out, are gone. This year we had only 24 customers for a total of £180. When we deduct expenses we are left with a net total of £91. I have tried to cut the weight of the packs down by using lighter sleeves for the CDs but this has been nullified by the increase in postage costs. Do we continue with route packs or call it a day? I think the cost of end-to-ending is deterring a great number of people. For motorists, it is no longer a cheap trip to fund; walkers are finding it difficult to take time away from work; so cycling is now the most popular mode. Lets hope 2014 brings a more promising year for us.

05 January, 2014

Editor's Report

by Geoff De'Ath
There were three issues last year – as usual they were sent out in March, July and November. They were all sizeable as the costs indicate, and the last two were novel in not having a self adhesive photo on the front cover. Indeed, apart from the cover photo on no. 80, there have been no self adhesive photos all year. Even though a certain quaint charm has been lost, it makes the editor’s job a lot easier and the colour printing by A.F.Litho is of a high standard so we have finally entered the 21st. century! I think the technical production of the magazine is good.
There haven’t been many articles by new members and had it not been for the final three parts of Vaughan Williams’ article and the two for Dave Heeley’s, there would have been considerably fewer pages.
Inertia and non participation by members continues to frustrate. To the two pieces I wrote – “What Happens Next?” and “What would you most like to see again?” in issues 81 and 82 respectively, I received one solitary reply- that’s one out of a possible 320. No comment….. I’m afraid this has been a recurring theme during my editorship of the last 15 years and I have no doubt it will not change for my successor Katharine Arzul, though I hope it does.
As to her suggestion set out on page 84 of the current issue, apart from Katharine herself, I have received a single reply – from Krister AndrĂ©n, who wishes to opt out of the proposed default mode for overseas members. This is something to be discussed in “any other business”.
This is my final report as editor and I take this opportunity, once again, of thanking all those loyal members who have supported and encouraged me over the last 15 years either by contributing articles, offering comment and advice or writing to me which has been invaluable and helped to keep me going! I wish Katharine every success and as much enjoyment and pleasure as this role has given me.

Geoff De’Ath. January 2014.

04 January, 2014

The Tourco Trophy winner's story

by John Harle


I had wanted to do something for Cancer Research for a few years now as both my sister and mother were survivors of the disease and it had taken my uncle when I was a child, however could never really decide what to do.  During November 2012 a friend was also taken by the disease and this was followed by a further friend who was diagnosed in January.  This was the catalyst that made me think that the time was now.

I had looked into the normal fundraising events but none of them could raise the kind of funds I was looking for, it was then I stumbled upon the LEJOG Association website and as this was something I had always be interested in doing, I thought why not and set myself up a just giving page and decided that I was going to do the trip in a single day on my 2003 Ducati motorbike with no support apart from a small section from Bridgewater to Oakhampton.


I proceeded to plan the trip and thought that the best thing to do was spend three days riding up to John O'Groats using the route I was planning in order to learn as much as I could and then be as prepared as I could have been.  


The trip began on the 12th June 2013 with the first leg to Wolverhampton (My home town), day two was to Perth, and day three to John O'Groats.  One thing I didn't consider was how tiring the trip up would be, but I had a goal and I was damned if I was going to give up.  One thing that struck me on the way up was people's interest in the trip and how friendly people were.


So the day began, I started out at 03:58 in the morning, I can remember looking at the sun rise and thinking "what the hell am I doing", I put a quick note on Facebook and I was on my way.  Within ten minutes, the rain started, and didn't let up till Inverness, making the A99 and A9 a quite interesting ride, in fact, I didn't see another car until the bridge over the Cromarty Firth, quite surreal!

I stopped at Skiatch Services in Inverness for Fuel and a flask/biscuit break and set off again with the Cairngorms in my sights, the weather cleared and I looked forward to a lovely ride across the Cairngorms, unfortunately, the higher up I got, the worse the weather got. I had rain, Sleet, Fog, Hail and at one point, thunder and sleet, another bike had decided to tail me across the park due to the conditions and once we got across, we shook hands and went our separate ways.  I stopped again in Perth at about 09:30 and had a cuppa and attempted to dry some of my kit and change other bits, I also took the time to phone home and let them know how it was going, only to be informed that the weather was going to be awful until the lake district, still I had no choice but to press on.  

The weather continued to be awful and that kept speeds low and I dropped behind schedule by approximately 2 hours.  I pressed on till Preston Services but at this point, I began to feel quite ill and low, to such an extent that I called my wife in the firm belief that I couldn't do it and I was going to cause an accident due to my tiredness, after a long chat, I went into the services and brought a coffee and two cans of Red Bull (which apparently gives you wings) and waited for them to kick in.  It was then I saw two cars reverse out of opposite spaces in the car park right into each other, and I decided, that it was time to keep going as I was going to be seeing my family in Cornwall.

The motorway journey was pretty boring with nothing much to do other than eat up the miles and think about things, before I knew it, it was 15:00 and I was getting close to Birmingham and in my view I was nearly home.  I stopped at Frankly on the M5 and updated Facebook, had another Red Bull and contacted family and friends and I was on my way again, with the next stop being Bridgewater and my best friend was meeting me there to take some pics and escort me to Exeter where another friend was waiting.  



I met up with Paul and Saara and they brought me a flask of tea with a proper cup and a plethora of sweets which was most welcome and at the time quite emotional for me.  They followed me to Exeter and took some pictures of me riding along, and we then met with my other friends who were on a motorbike and planned to ride with me to Oakhampton.  My friends swapped over and we got going again, by this time, I was exhausted and hurting with my neck and left arm providing serious concern as I couldn't feel my thumb.  I got to Oakhampton, shook hands with my friends and in their words, I took off towards Cornwall.  


By now I had only one target, get there and see my wife, in laws and three year old at Loggons Moor in Hayle on the A38, and they would come with me to the end.  All the way through this ride I had a MP3 player on an intercom system and as I arrived in Hayle with Loggons moor in sight, the music from my wedding came on, which promptly reduced me to tears.  I met up with the family and we head of towards Lands End,  I have to admit, I would have struggled with the roads as they are quite twisty and my concentration was fading.

Well the last two miles were probably the longest of my life and when I go to the end, I really did not know what to do or think, I was in pain but totally blown away by it all.  Thankfully the hotel was still manned as there was a wedding on, and a very kind porter let me go around to the post at the back and I got a photo underneath it.



I had done it, 19 hours in the saddle, all I wanted to do was sleep and spend some time with the family, all I needed to do was get back to Hayle where I had booked a caravan for a week.  The rest is history.  I raised over £1500 for Cancer Research and I am now thinking of what I could do next, not sure how I could top this though.




Postscript:

One of my inspirations for this Trip Helen Bradley passed away on the 8th January from Cancer; I have since decided to dedicate the whole trip to her.

03 January, 2014

Membership Secretary Report

by Adrian Cole 

Full members 180
Associate members 7
Members at end of last year 173
New members this year 27
New associate members this year 5
Members not renewed this year 24

Considering the current economic climate and the specialised nature of our Association we have been very lucky to have had more joiners again this year than leavers in comparison to last year.

This year we have seen some very spectacular journeys completed: Kayak (LEJOG), Mother and two toddlers by train, 2 Buses (JOGLE), Local Bus (LEJOG), Moped, 6 walkers, 6 cyclists and 4 Motorcyclists. Then of course, there were 17 3013 JOGLEr’s, five of whom are now new Full Members.

02 January, 2014

Message about Christmas cards not sent!

from Cliff Harrison

Would you please include an explanation in your next issue of Quo Vadis? why some members did not receive their Christmas card from me (on behalf of the committee) this year. I was instructed by my eye surgeon not to spend much time on the computer. Well, with 50 plus cards to produce and post that was a 'tall order'. To top it all my computer decided to catch fire (without permission). My local repair clinic in Ashby De La Zouch reported that the condition was terminal. So a new one was constructed by them (for me) and the problem of recovery started and as yet is unfinished.

I did manage to send off about 30 cards but under the watchful eye of Zer commandant it proved to be very difficult.