Saturday, 7 June 2014

Breaking news

Spending endless days in the wilds has had an interesting effect on Dan. He's really got in touch with his creative side. Him and Graeme Patten bonded in the hills and decided to step out into a whole new arena - being a boy band.

Here they are captured at their first gig, last week in the Lakes. Dan on lead vocals (note the fact he still needs a lyrics folder - it's early days), Graeme on beat box and I'm sorry to say I don't know the name of the guy on percussion, but I love his hat! I think Claire's rifling through some bags trying to find a pie for Lord Munro! Glasto here they come!

'Insane in the membrane...'

Monday, 2 June 2014

As the dust settles

Well that's that then. To be truthful right now it all seems like a bit of a blur which I'm sure in time will settle and come into sharper focus. Was it what I expected? Yes and no. The days were no harder than expected but they were quite a bit longer. Spending so many hours in that wild landscape was every bit as brilliant as I thought it would be, as was having the company of so many different people. Emotionally it was harder than I had imagined and the 'Ice Man' did melt on more than one occasion. Physically I was pleased with how my body held up, although my feet took the mother of all batterings and I'm not sure how many more days they could have coped with. I tried a little run last night, 6 days after finishing, and was rather alarmed at how my legs didn't work at all. Think awkward, painful, exhausted shuffle!

I have so many people to thank for making this thing possible. Firstly thanks to everyone who sent me messages and donations via the blog and Justgiving pages. These really spurred me on and motivated me when times were tough, particularly those from kids at school - so thanks! The fundraising tally is approaching £3000.

Secondly I really could not have done it without the friends who came up to help me in so many unglamorous ways. Least glamorous and hardest of all support jobs was undoubtedly being in charge of the motorhome. Spending hours dropping off and collecting bikes and camping gear up endless remote valleys; tidying the motorhome for the tenth time that day; cooking food for whoever is hungry; washing and drying sweaty and peaty clothes; co-ordinating people keen to assist; scrubbing the morning porridge pan.... the list is long with not a summit view to sooth the pain. So thanks Helen, Ben, Christeen, Aled, Sue and Phil for all that you did.

In all more than 50 different runners came up to be with me on the hill and ride with me on the bike. Although I had 6 days on my own completely, for by far the majority of hills I had the fantastic support of a range of people;  some of who were good friends before and some who became friends through spending time with me up there. I was delighted that some local runners turned out to help me as well so massive thanks to you all for the navigating, muling, jokes, abuse, stories and good company.

I also have to mention the fantastic job that Matt Towe and Chris Upson did in keeping the blog up to date. I know lots of people enjoyed Matt's updates and Chris did a sterling job with the schedule and the pin map. If I had a pound for every person who has told me they are at a bit of a loose end now there isn't the tracker to entertain them, I could fund another trip up north (Corbett round anyone?!)

That just leaves my wonderful wife and children. To have their support and them give up so much so that I could chase this dream makes me realise how lucky I am. After years of planning, training and financial pressures, Emma and Ruby keep reminding me that I am now 'all theirs'. And I'm looking forward to that.

In time I may try and pen an article for Fellrunner magazine and will no doubt be boring/entertaining people with pics and talk, certainly at Ghyllside School and possibly one or two other places. I'll post any info on here. I'll leave you with some of my favourite pictures. Thanks for following!

On Ben Hope in the club vest

Summit pic with the family - perfect weather meant the kids could make it

Aonach Eagach day 2

Snow on Aonach Eagach

More final summit glory

Brew in the van before another (probably wet) bike section

Bike in the sunshine with Aled and Lou

Time to celebrate!

Wild camp at Upper Tilt - puffy face again!

Chris, Spyke, me, Rach, Aled and Mark on Ben Lui

Matt Reedy enjoying the sunshine in Arrochar

Through the cornice in Glencoe

Trudgin' on



Thursday, 29 May 2014

A few final words from Matt

I thought I should maybe add a few final comments about the final few days of Dan's challenge. I know that at some point Dan will add his own thoughts so maybe, if you are still checking the blog, keep looking over the next few days.

In the far north, an empty, bleak yet beautiful landscape Dan finally brought the whole thing together and got it done. It was a privelege to be there, and be a part of the dramatic finale.

Monday saw Dan ticking off the long bike ride up to Inchnadamph in a super quick time, led out by Astrid and Lou. Helen took the opportunity to show Emma and Ruby the little church on the loch where Si and Dawn Stainer were married, and the sun came out!

Dan was well supported yet again as he set off up Conival and Ben More Assynt; Mark, Tom, Martin Bagness, Sue Wood and Sam Hesling, all were there to lighten his load and lead the way. By 1.30pm he'd trudged his way over the fells and found a mountain bike hidden at the north end of Loch Shin (thanks again to Lou and Astrid) to ease his way north east, back to the road. He then set off south east, on his road bike, again with Astrid and Lou to pace him. An awkward ride in the wrong direction was completed in super quick time, Helen, Aled and I only made it to the right layby in the nick of time, and at this point Dan decided to tick off Ben Klibreck. So Mark and Tom redonned their trainers and led Dan out on his penultimate Munro. 2 and a half hours later they were back.

Tuesday was something else. After a night camping outside the Crask Inn (surely the only pub in the United Kingdom on the AA road map - only marked because there's nothing else there!), the entire team, including 2 very sleepy children rose at 5am. Dan, Aled and Lou made short work of the bike ride north to Ben Hope, as Helen, Dick, Ben, Christeen and myself tried our best to get the girls ahead of their Dad. We were caught about a third of the way up by Dan, Aled, Lou, Mark, Astrid and Tom, and Mayzi of course.

And the rest is history. Dan summited at 8.22am - 42 days, 23 hours and 52 minutes after he set out. A stunning achievement. Champagne (thanks Bilbo) and Talisker (thanks Uncle David) were sipped and the group of us drank in the view. North, south, east, west; a stunning day, a rarity over the last few weeks.

The rest of Tuesday was a blur. Many thanks to Mike and wife (sorry!!!) of the Crask Inn, and those staying there at the time for your hospitality (between 11am and about 8pm) and your patience and tolerance thereafter, there was much to celebrate.

And now everyone is home. I'll leave Dan to do the thankyous, but I'd just like to thank Helen and him, for dragging so many of us into something very special, something that isn't trumpeted about by the mainstream media (except Radio Cumbria and the Wezzy Gezzy that is), and something that by many is considered foolish or mad. It has been a delight to keep pace with Dan's experiences, adventures and achievements and in particular to be there at the end in a very special, remote place, far from the stresses of daily life.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Radio Interview

Share the news...Dan on BBC radio Cumbria for interview at 5.15pm today (Wednesday). Sorry for late notice. Rach

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Confirmation - Mission Complete!

Rachel again...just had the confirmation phone call from the summit of Ben Hope, reached at 8.22am. Big Cheer!!!!!  Champagne and Whiskey in glasses (probably plastic) and a list of people (I asked them to cheer as proof). Dick, Aled, Mark and Lou Roberts, Tom and Astrid Gibbs, Ben Evans and Christeen Taylor, Mayzi the dog, the remarkably supportive wife Helen Duxbury, Emma Duxbury (7) and Ruby Duxbury (5) (didn't they do well to climb up there!), Matt Towe blogger extraordinaire and of course the main man, our man (aren't we proud) Mr Dan Duxbury. Mission Complete! Well done team. We look forward to newsy update from Matt or maybe Dan (about time we had an entry from that lazy so and so).

Looks like it's done!

Rachel here...Anyone else out there been watching that number 1 this morn will have cheered like me that it looks like the job is done. No official confirmation but looking good. Huge dot to dot complete and Ben Hope reached by that blue line before 8.30am. All those left at home like me, relieved to have the blog and tracker to keep us a part of this fab adventure can raise our orange juice glasses over breakfast this morn. Well done Lord Munro and your team of merry (exhausted) followers. We await the official update and blog entry to feel complete.