Posts Tagged ‘Climbing’

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…


IMG_2016 IMG_2017 IMG_2018 Ummm






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 🙂

Stardate 08.05.2013 – see what I did there? (The big boss called me a lanky, geeky so and so* this morning… can’t think why!)

I’m awfully excited about the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness. So much so that I have arranged a “man date” with my buddies on Friday night. This consists of train into the city centre after work – beers, food, more beers, then a 21.30 showing of 2D (none of your 3D nonsense) Trek at the Grosvenor in the West End. For those of you that don’t know – the Grosvenor is an independently run cinema in the heart of Glasgow University territory – you can hire couches and have drinks delivered to your seat! Ideal! Oh, did I mention we might have a few more beers after it? Hmm.

Think that officially means my last weekend of training before the 5 peaks challenge is out of the window… d’oh. I don’t think I’d be exercising much this week anyway. Got a pretty yucky eye injury at my first Cobra’s game of the season on Saturday resulting in my eye ball getting a cut on it and me being unable to wear my contact lenses f or at least a week – sigh. The girls must really love the Harry Potter meets the Walking Dead impression I’m sporting this week!

Anyway, I digress. I’m here to give you an update on Team Scotland. First and foremost we are currently at 73% of target and have raised a nice sum of £775 – with plenty more to go on there. We are having our Team Scotland lunch tomorrow so hope to raise an extra £100 or so quid from that. And a few of us have still to get donations in from family and friends. We’re not worried :o) Again though – the team has been working really hard on this (in particular Rob and LP, gracias) and deserve our thanks and praise at not only their fun(d)-raising efforts but also their determination to do this challenge.

That leads me onto LP. On this blog I’m singling her out in particular for a bit of praise. Not only has she been working her backside off tirelessly for fundraising efforts, she also managed to climb Ben Lomond on Bank Holiday Monday with the minimum of fuss (on the way back down!) after some pretty strong initial resistance. I think my Mr. Motivator-esque techniques have managed to convince her she’s more than capable of doing this challenge. (Actually, I promised her I’d don a multi-coloured leotard and chase her up the damn mountain if she didn’t get her backside in gear!) Anyone who’s a friend of mine on Facebook will know that I’m not shy with these things (see Mankini) and it’s not a pretty sight. Here’s LP & James quite early on in the walk…

…this is definitely worth a caption competition (zoom!). Answers on a postcard to @_keithcrane on Twitter or via email.

Pic 4

Well done LP – you managed to scale a peak that is a mere 2 metres shorter than England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike.

Bank Holiday Monday. What can I say. Ben Lomond must have been the only place in the UK that had completely rotten weather this bank holiday. Whilst you were all basking in the Sun and the beer gardens – we were soaked through and climbing through mud, snow and other assorted nonsense. See a few of the attached images.

We also met an axe murderer on the hill. He gave James and LP a row for straying off the path and a lecture on the delicateness of the wilderness and so on. What we didn’t know at the time was that right behind the ranger was a spade, a bucket, some tarpaulin and what can only be described as a burial ground for unsuspecting walkers who questioned his judgement. (A human sized mound covered in freshly layed turf). No. I’m not kidding. You’re laughing, right?

I wasn’t. Well, maybe manically.

So there you have it. We climbed 3,196ft and we’re all officially confident about the challenge now.

Even Alison got out and climbed Tinto yesterday. You can see details of her jaunt on her own blog, here:

She was doing it on her own so I gave her some advice and my contact number in case she got into difficulties. Here’s a selection of what she said:

“I’m not gonna lie, it seems apt that your number ends in 911..”

“It’s so lovely and peaceful! Although I AM going to die doing this five times over…”

“Removing walking boots at the bottom is almost as satisfying as removing heels after a night out:) ”

I asked whether or not her feet were sorer after the climb or a night out… she told me:

“Hmm, tough to say… head is definitely less sore though!”

There you have it. All 7 members of Team Scotland five peaks are raring to go and are already in the final planning phase for next week. Do we take beer or cider, wine or spirits? Hmmm.

One final thing a massive WELL DONE to the midlands team, in particular Mummy Dunbobbin for having a happy trigger finger and being so generous with the donation. Oi, Mrs Crane, you reading this?? Steve and the team’s blog can be found at 

Charley Dwyer’s amusing anecdotes for Tîm Cymru can also be found here: 

And, this week we have a newcomer to blogging from the North East! Welcome Pete Casci and David Cellini: 

As always, comments appreciated and Retweets enjoyed @_keithcrane

Please donate now if you haven’t done so already.

Or text RSSC50 plus your donation amount to 70070 (i.e. RSSC50 £10)

*so and so used under creative licence

It’s been almost a week since my last blog post – something which I hope will (in vain) entice you to read this with more interest. I made a conscious decision not to bore you all with text about the colour of my boot laces, what I’m eating for lunch or how much I am bricking it about the upcoming challenge…


Now… Team Scotland – AKA Team Mountain Goat… how can they be scared I hear you cry? There’s a very good reason. More of which will be revealed below. But, before that I’ll have a quick recap on the performance of everyone else in Team Scotland and what we have planned for the week ahead.

First:  Me. Got to be honest, not been doing much this week. Played footy a couple of times, eaten my own body weight in Nando’s, Viva Brazil and Chinese Buffet and generally had well over my RDA of alcohol each day. One of those weeks. But I’m back on it this weekend – the start of the BAFA Season which I’m playing for my local team, the Cobras (British American Football Association). Again, don’t ask. I’m lanky, I can catch and I’m quite fast – so they seem to think I’m decent at it, go figure.

Karen: Now on day 21 of her 30 day squat challenge – this means she is now doing 150 squats a day and is beginning to feel the benefits of it. She has also been given an exercise regime by a client of hers who represented Wales at boxing.

LP: has been frantically buzzing away with practice and fundraising, helping me out no end with ideas

James: Has been keeping up the regular exercise

Ali: Has walked round her garden three times, and then fallen over from fatigue. I understand she is planning on scaling the biggest peak at Real Radio Scotland HQ (the stairs to the first floor).

Rob: Running to and from work as always – except this week he’s been doing it with weights on his back. And generally ranting so much the sweat is causing him to lose weight.

We have a Team Scotland outing on Bank Holiday Monday climbing Ben Lomond. This is 974m (3195ft) tall and is the 184th tallest of 282 Munros. Ben Lomond is an almost identical height to Scaffell Pike, England’s tallest mountain. The forecast ain’t great, but we’ll get there 🙂

Some pictures attached of what we’re doing:

Ben 1 Ben 2 Ben 3 Ben 4


Beautiful huh? And barely 30 mins drive from Glasgow City Centre 🙂

Now getting back to the point in hand… why Team Scotland are a tad nervous about the upcoming 5 Peaks challenge. Please have a look at the pics below… and remember this is from a magazine that is written by experienced hikers, for experienced hikers:

Climb 2 Climb 3 Climb1


This is a guide and walk information for the FIRST TWO of the five peaks. Yes, FIRST TWO. ULTIMATE LEG BURNER – 5 out of 5 strenuousness and 4 out of 5 technicality? Hmmmmmmm.
Every single person that completes this challenge deserves a damn medal!





See you next week for another exciting installment of Team Scotland blog! Happy Bank Holiday weekend folks – and stay safe on the hills.