This is not the title of the next Jilly Cooper novel! Sadly, it only relates to our stint at Trailtrekker for Oxfam.
We were on Checkpoint 3 – this is 42 miles into the course. It was in a tiny village in beautiful (but remote) e, in the Yorkshire Dales. Most people were expected through here between 10pm and 5.30 am so our shift was 11.30pm – 6.am!
Still ….we had a free day so we did a super walk up over a large hill and down into the next dale where we hoped to revisit an old haunt – The White Lion…only to find it closed for refurbishment 😦 4 miles later we found the wonderful George at Hubberholme http://www.thegeorge-inn.co.uk/ , which more than made up for it with a great pint of Black Sheep Ale for Chris, and super Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas for £6.95! We then managed a doze in the early evening but then , as we played Rummikub the heavens opened. For 90 minutes a massive storm raged all around, and all we could think of were the 700 walkers out there somewhere.
When our shift started we were told that the walk had been put on hold, with everyone being held at the checkpoints and waterstops because the roads were flooded and the high paths were too dangerous. Then we heard that the river had burst it’s banks so some of the footpaths were underwater. Amazingly – most people at the checkpoint were just getting restless because they wanted to get going again.
Eventually they were given the all clear, but at the stop before us, where the river had flooded the paths, people had to be rescued and brought to us by minibus.
Still, the vast majority wanted to carry on, despite sodden clothing, blisters, aching joints etc. Despite what this sounds like, the safety was excellent, and they were all given the opportunity of medical checks etc. It is a tribute to the organisation of the event that everyone was safe, fed and watered and able to continue if they wanted to. At times, the huge tent felt like a war zone! We all mucked in doing anything that was required – a lot of work with endlessly emptying bins, and teas and coffees (yes you did read that right!), as well as being a mentor, confidante, first aider and general person to lean on! Every team has a support crew that drive and meet them at the checkpoints. The well organised ones have huge boxes of dry clothes, spare footwear, plasters etc. The less prepared ones look on enviously and say…we’ll do it better next time!
We were awed by their drive and determination, and the total event should raise £750,000! That is staggering…. and most of them will be today!
So – 6.30am…. back at Boris… and, like every other vehicle on the field we had to be towed out of the mud! Then down to a car park in Skipton where we managed 2 hours sleep before driving home! Now we are back at Sopers Lane a day early……. so – what do you do in those circumstances…. you change your ferry booking and go on Monday instead of Tuesday!
So – bedlinen is changed, Boris all cleaned and prepared. Yorkshire clothing and maps removed and French and Spanish supplies installed! Yippee! A demain!