Artists Impression

Artists Impression

Monday, 9 February 2009

Walking the Walk

Where to start eh? The Everest Expedition continues to go from strength to strength, as does my Stick Cricket ability having last night seen off both Zimbabwe and Ireland, and I have recently discovered I have an audience in Japan – marvellous!

I suppose I should start with the expedition. The last three weekends have involved people going up, down and across the country in search of hills to climb and heavy objects to move.

January 24th was the Weekend at Kinsey’s farm in Hereford(above left)) which I sadly missed due to having to work on the Sunday. Honestly, my work really does get in the way sometimes! Everything I’ve heard and read suggests this was a thoroughly entertaining weekend, although perhaps not one where I would have excelled – so I can take some solace in that!

Having missed out on that I decided to get some walking time in so Jules and I hopped on a train to Guildford and wandered around for about 16 miles(right). It was a decent outing and served as good preparation for what was going to take place the following two weekends. Most pleasingly my boots caused me no problems and came through some rather stern tests in the shapes of melted ice puddles and suspect piles of mud that could quite easily have been some animals dinner the night before.

On January 30th I jumped in the car with Woodsy and Blade and headed down to Dartmoor for a Team Hillary weekend organised by Jamo. This weekend was actually organised a ridiculously long time ago and it was good to meet the previously invisible man that is Russell De Beer, who it turns out is quite a good lad and exceptionally good at carrying heavy objects up tall hills!

Saturday was an early start and again we covered somewhere between 16-18 miles, but this time it took considerably longer and there were several proper hills, not the little bumps that get called hills in London. I was pretty knackered by the end of it and felt fully justified as I, along with all 13 others, supped pints of Badger in the local boozer while Jamo fell asleep mid-story. This is the man who once fell asleep while on a date…in a restaurant. Brilliant.

The next day Sir Sleepsalot had organised four contests – Earth, Wind, Fire and Water which were, well, pretty odd. Earth involved carrying fertiliser to the top of a Tor in teams of five (I had Russell, Glen, Woodsy and Charlie) and back again, an event we dominated thanks to the afore-mentioned carrying skills of the South African sounding Englishman.

Wind was another jog up a tour to fly a kite, with one member in a Gorilla suit – we had a proper shocker here going across some private land and getting screamed at by some angry people. We also failed to get a bonus point for this as the photographical evidence required did not have all of us in the picture…due to yours truly lagging somewhat.

Fire involved cooking two fried eggs at the top of another Tor. Yep, stove, chair, tables and apron were all packed and while Russell again picked up all the heavy stuff I got off pretty lightly with just two eggs – and even managed to keep them safe. Well done me. I think we came second in this one.

Water was the real killer and due to our team being a man up after Kiwi was sitting the day out I decided to take the magnanimous step and sit out of carrying two massive buckets or water up another absurdly steep hill. Due to my brave sacrifice my team came in first by some distance, thus grabbing a share of the spoils as all three teams finished level on points. Well done us and thanks for the weekend Jamo, one that’ll live long in the memory for a special brand of chat and plenty of rambling and walking. I won’t lower the tone by discussing the amount of methane that lesser beings may not have survived.

And so to the weekend just gone. Severe weather warnings and falling shards of ice may have put off less hardy souls, but even the closure of the Severn Bridge could not stop 12 hardy Everesters heading to Cardiff and on to the Brecon Beacons for a weekend of snow, waterfalls, curry and a cricket pavilion…with no electricity.
Saturday once again had an early start and after sharing a floor with two Kirtley’s and a Butler I think all four of us were ready to get out of there! A rather twisty drive later and we’d found Kinsey, just the 90 minutes after we were supposed to, and after planting a few snowballs on each other we began our walk up Fanny Big(I don’t know if we actually were on Fanny Big, which is I am sure spelt more like Pen-Y-Bigg, but it caused many an immature chuckle so I've thrown it in). As the pictures show we were often waist-deep in snow and while one part of the walk was absurdly steep, it was also great fun and we all made it up and down without too many problems and again the boots held out and stayed dry over the ten miles or so. Definitely one of my best UK experiences.

Saturday night arrived and after an unconvincing win in the rugby and a shocking defeat in the cricket my misery kicked in, especially when Chelsea drew with Hull and I decided the best course of action was to sink God only knows how many pints of Brains, bottles of Magners and Tiger and Cobra, eat a curry and then make Kirt do some Jaeger Bombs with me. I must add that I’d been told that the walk on Sunday was going to be a: “nice scenic walk around some waterfalls” and was not expecting the six hour hike that actually took place!

I did feel like I’d dodged a bit of a hangover and only cringed slightly at showing off my Lightsaber feature on my I-Phone while everyone was in bed (I should point out that I don’t even like Star Wars). So off we went - again picking up Kinsey more than an hour late -with Dave and BJ manning the maps and a very pleasant walk began. We started to become a bit unstuck when faced with a river to cross. After 45 minutes of getting nowhere we decided the best option was just to run through it.

Two and a half hours and very wet feet later we got back to the start, and nobody died – which is perhaps our biggest achievement, although being the perceptive man I am I could sense that Mr Butler was beginning to lose his sense of humour. This suspicion was aroused by his response to being asked why he wasn’t wearing his hat being: “Because the fury building up inside me is about to explode through my head, so I don’t need one.”

So all in all the expedition is going very well, although I could use some more sponsorship – the link is above know you want to. Throw in the launch that we had two weeks ago and a few other bits and pieces that are brewing and we’re looking rosy.

So to my addiction. Despite being barely able to see straight last night as I was so tired from Wales I still decided I could get a quick game in. When I nearly beat Zimbabwe with my first effort I decided to persevere and it was all worthwhile. Dave K registered his first hundred and Blade got another a few games later, although neither were in the winning causes. Instead it was skipper Glen with a fine 98 to vanquish the Africans while BJ, recalled to the side, struck a marvellous 50 from number 10 to beat the Irish after splendid 70s from Charlie BN and yours truly. Bangladesh are next – real Test oppo, I reckon I’ll dispatch them in no time.

So I also had an interesting text exchange this morning with my mate In Japan Right. He tells me The Everest Test has quite a following over there, which is marvellous news. I was particularly impressed with Robert Swan and Anthony Willoughby. The former being a bit of a legend and the first man to have walked to the North and South poles, while the latter is a founding member of The Cock Up Club, although I’m sure he has done several more newsworthy things as well!

So thanks Darrell for spreading the word, please continue to do so, and if you’re reading this from some far flung place do let me know!
Until next time, good evening.


  1. mate - is our stick cricket live now then?

  2. Big pats on back to all, Brecon Beacons down, Everest to go! Piece of cake. Japan following every footstep!


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