And so, all good things eventually come to an end, and this was to be the last walking day of this years Challenge.
As normal, it had been a CHALLENGE, but it had still been good.
So, where shall we go today then?
Obviously, I did not make 8.30.
I was in all honesty, pretty close.
But Al and Lynsey had gone.
Al waved from the road and said he would see me later.
At this point he did not know about the hidden beer, or he may have waited.
I was going to catch him anyway at some point I hoped.
So after finally getting everything ready, by about 8.45, and dropping the key off, I started out with Roger Hoyle for the final piece of the journey.
Up the road, and we crossed the nasty main road, with its many hurtling cars and even scarier hurtling juggernauts.
Survived that crossing, and went over the bridge by the river to pick up the road to Pert
|Crossing the North Esk|
He was heading straight on.
As I started to walk up this road, I realised three major things.
1. It was already getting bloody hot
2. I had forgotten to fill my water bottle
3. I had forgotten my water bottle
Point 3 was not a major factor, because I had a platypus
Points 1 and 2 were, because it was also empty.
I decided to carry on, and see how things went.
There are a few odd houses on route, I reckoned I could bang on a door, and there would be one of three outcomes
1. No answer
2. I could get water
3. I could get arrested
The latter two points both provided water.
However, as it happens there was a fourth option
Shortly after this I was caught up by Sandy, and he had a big 1 litre+ water bottle and offered to let me share it.
So together, we carried on up the long hot road past Gallery, where there is that enormous house
|So, about the window tax|
Under the railway bridge and then turning right again.
I snaffled some more water from Sandy, and then we headed up that very very long road to
Canterland where that nasty little up and down hill is before Morphie
|Perfect furrows on route|
We sat on the wall, for a bit of a rest, and we were soon caught up by Carl and Dave, or was that the other way round?
Anyway, we sat on the wall, and had a rest, and I aired my feet, and nabbed some more water.
|Wood and flowerpot man model on the wall near Morphie|
Sandy had stopped for photo's, and I was buggering about with my shoes and laces, and just generally having a bit of a faff.
Oh, and taking a photo or two.
And then it was over the hill of Morphie to St Cyrus.
I caught Lynsey and Ian up on the way up the hill, and also Al, who was waiting near the top.
|View from the hill|
|View from the hill a couple of years ago, when the rape was in full bloom|
We had another brief rest, and then it really really was time to wander on down to St Cyrus.
The bloody tide was miles out, and we could see even more Challengers there.
I cannot remember how many, but there were a lot.
Well, a few anyway.
Below are a few pictures of some of them
On the way down, I started the circle for signing
|Starting the circle|
If you have a picture at the end please forward it.
|Just before the tide washed it away.|
Picture courtesy Andy Williams
|Dave, Rob, Ian, Sandy and Freddie taking the photo|
|Carl and Lynsey|
|Me again (knicked of Al's blog|
|Al and I in daft pose - Picture Courtesy Ian Cotterill|
|I love this picture.|
Lynsey and Isabel
|Looking up the beach|
|Sea view at St Cyrus|
It was a hot long slog to the top.
At the bench about 2/3 of the way up, Al,Sandy, Ian and I had a brief stop.
I brought out the can of beer, that I had secreted in my Croc.
|Picture Courtesy Ian Cotterill|
It was most welcome.
We drank the beer, and then headed up the final push, getting back to the bus with about 3 minutes to spare.
Then it was back to Montrose and to Park.
For some reason, none of the pictures I took of the campsite came out, which is a bit of a bugger.
So we had several teas and chats at the park, and collected assorted stuff, like T shorts and Fleeces and Certificates.
And chatted with Mr manning, and anyone else who would talk to us.
Had more biscuits.
Went and had a shandy.
Paid for the meal, and then walked down to the Montrose Campsite to put up tents.
There was a huge array of tents at the campsite, and more arriving by the minute.
There was also one big family tent and a car at the far end.
Completely enclosed by small tents.
There was no way in a million years they were leaving before tomorrow.
More people arrived.
I went and had a well deserved, and definitely needed shower.
I say I went.
I started to go, but every time I arrived at a new tent I ended up in conversation.
It took me 45 minutes to go from my tent to the showers.
I also needed a descent sit down toilet.
Unfortunately, the first one I went into had no paper.
And nor did I, so it was bloody lucky I noticed at the start.
I also washed underwear and shirt and trousers.
Coming back, I hung clothes over the tent to dry, and then eventually, just put them on damp.
They were dry in about 30 minutes.
Then it was time to head back to the Park for more Shandy, and meal.
I had to go and get some cash out as well, because I had given my last £40 to Al on arrival at the site, as he had managed to leave his only (take 2 ok) card next to his phone, and it had erased his chip.
This happened to me about 2 months ago, and it is a complete pain.
Even more so when it is your only card Sloman!
So re-financed, I went to the Park for a final sociable evening amongst many friends old an new.
The speeches were short, and the meal was good.
And I only drank shandy all night.
OK and maybe a whiskey or three.
It was a splendid night, although Al went back early, because he was shattered.
I arrived back at the camp site about 12.45 I think.
Whatever the case, I was not the last one there.
Faffed around for a while in the tent.
Listened to music (it was better than the uncoordinated snoring), and went to sleep.
Tomorrow it was home.
So, our journey was over.
We had gone from Trench foot to Sunburn,
And Hypothermia to Heatstroke.
We had seen glorious views
And felt a small bit of nature
We had battled through Sun and Rain
And Wind, and Snow
We had seen isolation
And a wondrous social life
We had been High
We had been Low
We had been on the Challenge
It had been fantastic
In memory of all those Challengers we lost this year.
If I forgot any then please tell me
Simon McBride - Down By The River