Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Day 10 – Kendal to Carlisle 45 miles – The Challenge of Shap!

Morning jacuzzi in the leisure centre, conquered the mental challenge of Shap, delivered a box of chocolates to a young lady in Penrith and bagged a nights stay in a medieval castle. Just a normal day for the team of End2end08! This is Day 10.

The Riverside conference room provided us with our night’s accommodation. The aroma within this smallish room was something no man or woman should ever have to endure and especially after an evening enjoying the largest Kendal balti anyone has ever consumed. The alarm went off at 0700 hrs. Jonathan (the project 'Sergeant Major') had every one up, the instructions were clear – we must be sitting down at breakfast by 0800 hrs with everyone ready to go and vehicle packed. However in a place that was providing us with free shelter we had to make full use of the facilities. It was time for a team jacuzzi, swim and sauna in the hotel’s leisure centre. Once again the hotel lost property sorted the team out with a spectum of fashion offensive swimming trunks – we didn’t care. Vehicle was packed; it was now time for a free breakfast (the tastiest meal of them all).

Breakfast was beyond our wildest hopes. Special mention must go to Helen Clarke, the Hotel Manager, who agreed to feed us – what a star and very much appreciated. The breakfast was superb, fruit, cereal, with Tony enjoying the largest fried breakfast he could fit onto his plate. Several guests gave rather unappreciative looks – but who cares we haven’t spent a penny. The Riverside was a fabulous stop over, great girls (Helen, Di Mc Devitt, Sally Tyson and Rod (the maintenance chap)). Bike tuned, pressure checked we pushed off. Our day’s target – Carlisle a mere 45 miles. Nevertheless it would turn out to be 45 miles of very cheeky hills.

The climb to Shap was a naughty fellow. Bike was performing well but the hills were very long and tiring. The team worked well. Ali’s knee is really playing up and understandably he was disappointed that he is unable to contribute to the day’s cycle. His plan; to rest and attempt to heal his injured knee. The climbs were unrelenting – climbing for approximately 2 -3 miles at a time. Conversation became less; breathing heavier. Shap was reached by 1215 hrs we were delighted - see Mark and Tony expressing their euphoria on the sigage. Penrith standby.

Penrith; and Jonathan had some business to attend to that would involve chocolates and cards to a young lady! [but before Joanne files for divorce] let me explain. In April 2007 Jonathan received a parking fine while he attempted to obtain a parking time disc from a shop. He appealed against the fine and won with the assistance of ‘Sally’ who worked at a Penrith florist. She wrote a letter to support Jonathan’s appeal and resulted in him winning. As a sign of appreciation Jonathan picked up a box of chocolates and a card and dropped them off at the Penrith florist. It was the first opportunity he has had. Vicky and Jonathan are seen in the photograph. It was nearly time for lunch.

Lunch was north of Penrith in another lay-by on the A6. Ali decided to relax the team by playing his didgeridoo. Serioudly it was so enjoyable. An old couple in the house opposite must have through they were seeing things with a 4 seater bike and some moustache wearing fella playing the didgeridoo. A horse and cart wizzed past.

At this stage I must make a special mention about Ross Graham [Ross if you’re reading this you are a top fella mate!]. You will have read that last night our only means of IT support (our laptop) blew up. Jonathan phoned Ross [Brigade Communications and other stuff] to see what he could do. ‘Jonny if it is possible I will make it happen’ Ross said. I received a confirmatory phone call from Ross informing me that he had sorted the IT problem. The equipment, fully equipped desk top computer and phone charger etc, would be delivered to Carlisle Castle by 1500 hrs! Ross had delivered the goods – what a boy. The rest of the team couldn’t get their heads around what the Army will do for each other in times of need. [A big thank you to Ross]. Another phone call to Col Nick Kitson CO 3 Rifles (Redford Barracks) in Edinburgh secured us accommodation for tomorrow night. The Rifles QM phoned to confirm all was well. It just gets better…

After much ‘uppy and downy’ and chants of ‘gear up – gear down – prepare to coast…coast’ we entered Carlisle. Regardless of the relatively short distance we were absolutely knackered. The bike ‘Shella’ was screaming at us, gears continually slipping we nursed it in to the Castle. We met another end2ender face outside the Castle gates. They were doing well. ‘So lads where are you staying to night?’…’In the castle mate!’ He thought we were pulling his leg…

Major Paul Chandler (County Executive Officer) was there to meet us. The accommodation looked fantastic, bunks we had loos and all of this in a real castle. The team enjoyed the experience, Ray thought it was awesome. Bike was repaired, blog written, so time to see what Carlisle has to offer. Food here we come.

Oh the moustache growing competition rages on. Current favourite Mark (maybe gwarr) but could clinch the prize but Jonathan’s full beard is doing equally well although does hold things up on the bike as we frequently have to pull in so that he can remove ensnared birds from his over grown facial hair. Incidentally, Jonathan is now known as 'the bearded one'. The team got ready and out into Carlisle.

Tomorrow we have decided to do a huge push to Edinburgh 98 miles…Come on – bring it on!!


The Doc!!! said...

Fab effort! It was good to see you at Queenscourt on Monday. I've only just found the blog but I've read it avidly and will follow closely from now on. We're with you in spirit. Cheers. The Doc!!

Mr Robson said...

Alright there fellas,
doin extremely well, very impressed with the photos but think we need some of the progress of the moustache growing comp!!als lip warmer was looking good the other day!great trick on johnny the other day with mick hucknall, classic!!!!i think you should do a leg of the trip in the free trunks you acquire from the lost property dept, the site of mark in a fetching pink two piece would raise the profile of the trip no end!!!keep it up boys am highly impressed with your effort.Stay safe!!!!
Mr Robson

mark pickup said...

That didge gets everywhere!! Had to create my third account for this blog!!!

Hope your knee gets better Al