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.


  1. It felt like the end of the Truman Show when Dan reached the summit of Ben Hope. We had all been following our hero for the past 6 weeks, wondering which way that little line would go, and when the tracker would spring back into life, and when Matt would post another quirky update filling in some blanks, and suddenly it was all over.

  2. And a massive thank you to you, Matt, for writing such gripping stuff on Dan's blog and for keeping us all updated on his progress.

    1. Thanks Graham. Like I say, a pleasure.