Archive for the ‘Camping’ Category

So I was having a think the other night about how in my position as Team Scotland blabberer I could help make all the other participants be more at ease with the task they are about to undertake. I decided the best way to do this was bite the bullet and get down there for a little reccy myself and see what the fuss was all about. So here’s a little video I took of the beautiful scenery we’ll be taking in on our ramble in the brambles:

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The big question is… which one of us is going to be Jon Snow?

Just an interim shout out to some friends and colleagues who have made a difference to this challenge in the last couple of days… A full, and frank mission briefing will be given at 09:00 on Monday morning.

The big man (Gavin) was obviously feeling very generous this week due to the absolutely STUPENDOUS, STONKING AND FANTASMAGORICAL performances that have bestowed Real and Smooth Radio in Scotland this October – as such, he dug deep into his own commission for the month and donated us the princely sum of £100. Thank you so much, makes a huge difference.

Also, massive thanks to Ross Williamson, Vic Paterson, Karen Hodgson, Sue Donaldson, Michelle Hextall, Suzanne Waters, Lisa Wilkinson and Ali Bally Bing Bong for their kind donation to the cause (every single penny counts). If you haven’t already donated… please make it your priority to do so: or text REAL66 £x to 70070

Oh, and all my family and friends too… but this post isn’t really aimed at them!


The guys at CHAS really need your help – they do such amazing work and even a donation of a fiver can make all the difference.

However, that’s not where the good work ends. I would also like to give a huge bit of encouragement to the guys around the country who are raising money for the charities that are so close to their hearts. They are Noah’s Ark Childrens Charity in Wales: When you Wish Upon a Star in the North West: Zoe’s Place in the North East: and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance:

And that leads me on to the next part…

… wait, I’ll have to leave that till Monday – my new equipment for the walk has just arrived from Go Outdoors!


balaclava Crampon Flare Gun goggles pick

Note how I’ve changed the title from Team Scotland Blog to Team Five Peaks Challenge? I think we can all now officially say that we were a 46 person strong team that undertook this challenge on Friday. Not the seven from Scotland or however many from all the other centres.

I’m lucky in that I already know quite a few people from Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle – but it was great to finally put faces to the names of a number of others from around the group I hadn’t had the privilege of meeting yet. I’m sure I’m not the only one who took this great positive away from Wasdale Head campsite.

APART that is, from my colleague and friend, James Stephens’ who may very well be cursing me for my lack of help! Not only did I pitch up an hour late and laugh at him and everyone else being like drowned rats from putting the tents up in the rain – I also got up and buggered off 2hrs before him and left him to take down the tent by himself… again, in the pissing rain! Sorry James… pint on it’s way to you soon, I promise!

I’m not going to dwell too much on the ins and outs of the challenge itself, as it’s covered in far better detail elsewhere… I’d rather concentrate on the feats of mental strength and camaraderie that people showed on the day and talk about that – as these to me were the real challenges that some had to overcome.

So let’s start with dinner on Thursday night. I got thrown in at the deep end to a group of 4. Imagine me, Helen Walledge, Jamie Griffiths and Callum Marks trying to make haute cuisine from some pasta, dolmio sauce, frankfurter sausages, sweetcorn and a tin of mushrooms (in brine). In Scotland we would use a certain word to describe the result of our hard work…


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It got to the stage (particularly after we had wedged a tin open with a pen knife) that Jamie and I were seriously beginning to hatch a plan to kill, skin and slow boil one of the little lambs that were gamboling so playfully nearby. But we decided against it – but only because Helen is a vegetarian. Damn you.

I have to single Helen out for praise as without her I wouldn’t have made it through the challenge. She made my lunch rolls you see. And mighty fine ham and cheese rolls they were too. I was so impressed with her roll making ability, that I even offered to share my hot (tepid) chocolate with her at the top of Scafell pike, and anyone that knows me… knows that I don’t like to share! Thanks Helen 🙂

Next up is Gemma Mainprize. We found ourselves bizarrely whistling and singing the McDonald’s theme tune more than once throughout the day – not entirely sure how this came about – but at one point… going down the third peak, it stopped me from going every so slightly mental. So, durra da da da! I’m lovin’ it Gemma!

I also have to mention the kind soul (whom I cannot remember) who came to my aid with painkillers somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd peaks. Those that don’t know, I’ve had a number of issues with my knee in the past and it can give me some real pain on occasion. I didn’t have any painkillers, and the UTD team weren’t allowed to hand out – so thank you for passing them to me. Probably couldn’t have finished the challenge without them. I have a feeling it was Dan or Alex in the digital team – but as I spent most of the day staring at their footwear I’m not entirely sure. Help me track down the kind soul!

Speaking of the digital team. It was great to meet you all. Dan and Alex – you guys were helpful for the motivation of keeping up – I’m sorry we only got to finally chat in detail in the pub later! Kat… well, it was all going so swimmingly until you beat me at an arm wrestle… I’m not so sure I want to talk to you anymore… sniff. Ha!

But, before I finally say well done to my own team I want to finally name check a few of the guys who made a significant impression on me at the challenge due to their determination and sense of adventure. In no particular order:

Charley Dwyer, Julie Hainsworth, Linda Bailey, Steve Dunbobbin and Michael McIntyre.

You guys in particular inspired me throughout the day. What grit. What determination and well – what a feat! I single you guys out in particular as I know some of you weren’t sure even if you could complete the challenge at certain stages – so I’m so ridiculously proud of you all for doing it.

When it comes to Michael, I’m singling him out because the sod had been pretending he was tired all day – but was in fact keeping a bit in reserve to make sure he crossed the line first in a sprint finish. Hope the cramp wasn’t too bad in the end Michael. And I’m sure you took a huge amount of satisfaction out of pipping Hitler (sorry, Dan) to the finish!

Well done to LP, James, Gerry, Karen and Rob for overcoming the adversity of the challenge and completing it – a huge well done from me.

Last, but not least. Alison McDonald. Poor Aldo. My jumper and shoulder is still wet from all the tears we had at the end when she crossed the line. Her knees were shot, her legs were shot, her emotions were shot. But she went and bloody did it you know. And I think everyone, particularly our own Ewen Cameron should be praising her for a monumentous feat of achievement. To say she’ll be feeling a sense of achievement at this is a massive understatement.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the challenge and sign off with the fact that, as of this morning, we raised an impressive £11,344.80 for Duchenne Now – an amazing charity, one of which I’d love to fundraise for again.

BUT YOU CAN STILL HELP! Donate via or text RSSC plus your donation to 70070 (i,e. RSSC £10)

You guys. All forty six of you, are absolutely amazing. I wish I could talk about all of you who pushed your own personal boundaries, but I tried to set a 1000 word limit and have already failed! Thank you so much to Laura Mather for coordinating this to make such a great trip for everyone. And also to you, Michael, Rob, LP and Tom from London for making such an entertaining trip back to the campsite from the pub on Friday night!






Two days to go.

Team Scotland are having a great week of preparation. We’re covering off a few hundred miles this last week or two – some have been in London at the Sony’s, some are going to St. Andrew’s for a conference, others have spent time in Wales at the boocamp. Problem is we’ve all been driving, train-ing, plane-ing and taxi-ing. In my case I’ve even been on board (in my head) the Starship Enterprise. It was an entertaining mission which was abruptly finished by my alarm clock on Monday morning. Gah.

Aldo hasn’t written anything since the 6th May

She’s obviously thinking we’ll forget to bundle her into the back of the car for travelling down. I can assure you Alison… we won’t forget. Your dulcet tones on the news report on the way into work in the morning is enough to remind everyone that we need to fold you up and put you in the back.

I’m far from convinced that I’m not going to get a text from LP at some point to say she contracted some form of jungle fever, maybe ebola, whilst in London and of course – the hospital won’t be allowing her out until at least Saturday.

Karen. Haven’t seen her in a while – think maybe she’s navigating her way up K2 as we speak. She’s got all the gear – including a bright orange whistle. Rumour has it she found that whilst on a boozy night out at Gatecrashers in Sheffield. Nice. Is that still there? No? What about Paris? Many a good night had in Sheffield!

Rob’s been coming to work with a bag and weights on his back for practice – I’m hoping he doesn’t accidentally cement his feet to his driveway when leaving to come to work on Thursday morning.

James is the organised one and he’ll be there with bells on. Well he’d better be or myself and Rob will have nowhere to stay and will be kipping in the back of the truck. Might pin a GPS unit to his shirt tomorrow so I can find him at all times.

Gerry will need to be told that it’s not going to be practical for him to be carrying his camera around making a 2hr long documentary about the RSL 5 Peaks Challenge for 2 reasons. A. No one will want to watch it and B. No one will want to watch it.

I’m more organised than I’ve ever been – off to a conference tomorrow and thursday am in St. Andrews- so I’ve had to pack all my gear up tomorrow and load it in the car as I’m leaving tonight!What’s the betting I’ll forget something crucial? Like my hiking shoes… or maybe my bag. I’ve even been to Frankie & Benny’s with Ross Williamson at lunchtime today, I’m right into my training me.

Also like to give a shout out to my chums in Yorkshire who have been doing their bit for the fundraising and been updating us all with some good photo’s and tales of car washing, getting boots sunk in mud and walking 20 miles in a day – well done. Looking forward to catching up with you. Looking forward to seeing my NE pals as well when they come along – if anyone wants to cooperate in the spirit of friendship and teamwork then feel free to give them a wee donation to the cause – I’ve just chucked them a tenner 🙂 

Finally – again – just in case you didn’t know. Team Scotland BATTERED their target last week to join the ranks of London, the Midlands and Wales.


HOWEVER. Being a market analyst – remember I’m eagle eyed. I know who has and hasn’t donated and if you don’t want to run the risk of some scotch bonnets in your tea next time, then feel free to stick a fiver down for the cause: OR text RSSC50 plus your donation to 70070 e.g RSSC50 £10 – if we can’t get to £1400 and help our buddies out I’ll be most disappointed. Please please please help this great cause – if you want to know what it means to some people just look at our page – we had a donation of £100 from someone who lives with Duchenne every day… just because we chose that as a charity. It’s a horrible illness and we are all collectively making the most remarkable of differences to these kids.

Look forward to seeing you all on Thursday, but in the meantime… like and share the hell out of this blog and have a click and follow for:

Steve Dunbobbin:
harley Dwyer:

And any others that you have the time or inclination to read.

Thanks so much 🙂