Memoirs of Checkpoint 14 – May 2010

Loch Kennard, 92 miles into the Heart of Scotland 100

Well here we all are at about 6.00 pm on Sunday 30th May, all relaxed and happy with about 100 walkers already through and eagerly anticipating a Thames Valley entrant. However 24 hours earlier it was a different story!

The Checkpoint 14 team - Ruth, Graham, Yvette, Dave, Alf, Pam, Pat & Ivan

5.30 pm, Saturday May 29th

The walkers had started their 24-48 hour walk at 10.00-12.00 that morning so were on their way! Where’s our marquee? It was supposed to be at the checkpoint grid reference on Friday evening! Several trips over Friday and Saturday proved unfruitful. Did we have the right reference? Yes. Then it won't work because there's too much of a slope. Where are the scouts? At about 6.00 pm we found them, 300 metres further on and around a couple of bends - on a flatt(ish) piece of ground. Smart lot these scouts - shame they don’t know how to use mobiles!

5.30am, Sunday May 30th

We are all up. Cars are loaded with food (600 pieces of Thames Valley speciality cake) and water carriers and driven up to CP14. There we set up alongside the volunteer communication guys from Raynet and we all sort of fall into our own jobs. Pam grabs the clippers, Alf the paperwork, David sorts out spacers for my paper towel holders, Ivan goes missing as usual and we get some breakfast before the walkers arrive. Reappearing, Ivan is asked to dilute some squash while Pat is holding one of the coke bottles. Ivan asks how many parts of water per one of juice. Just as the first Raynet guys come in Pat replies to Ivan "You don’t dilute coke!", so from then on all the Raynet guys call Ivan Coca-Cola man!

9.30am

Yvette arrives; we now have a full early team. She familiarises herself with the equipment: namely a double propane gas burner (one of which does not work) for boiling huge quantities of water; provisions: cakes, bananas & custard, tins of fruit cocktail, sausage rolls, milk, tea, coffee, sugar etc.; and the layout: one large trestle table and four benches for the walkers, two trestle tables for the food, water, plates and cups etc. Then we are told that CP15 had no tables at all so we give up one of ours, plus (height of generosity) a jug!

10.06am

The first entrant arrives, followed by a steady stream throughout the day. We feed and water them appropriately.

2.00pm

Jeff's son Graham and daughter-in-law Ruth Smith arrive to give us a break for a while. We hear that first Gavin, then Jeff, then Chris, and finally Mathew have had to retire. Martin and Gerry are carrying on!

6.00pm

We have our photo call and Ivan and Alf go off to collect our takeaway supper.

8.00pm

Sometime about now Paul Flynn and John Nickerson (BBN Group) arrive slightly the worse for wear, then Martin 30 minutes later and John Esselmont another 15 minutes behind. By this time we have sent Ivan off to walk to the next CP to help someone make it by carrying his sack for 4.5 miles! We try really hard to get the gas-lights working - thank you David! We are all getting worried about Ivan's non-return and eventually have to send out Raynet to look for him. He of course finally arrives unscathed much later.

The idyll that was Checkpoint 14

10.00pm

Ruth and Graham leave after a really hard shift.

11.15pm approx.

Gerry reaches us and has a rest after the cruel slog up from Aberfeldy. Rocky Road gets him going again.

Midnight-ish

Paul Bobby arrives and after that it’s a bit blurred as we're really busy until 2.30 am when it is lighter outside the tent than in it.

Around 4.00am Monday May 31st

Finally the Sweeps are coming through and we get permission to extend our closing time to 4.45 to get as many through as possible, as by this time it is freezing with not only ice on the cars but Pam and Alf are also frozen and have to resort to thawing out in the car for a few moments.

5.30am

I dish up the last tea and coffee to the Sweeps and helpers and leave to get back to our cottage for some much earned rest. A good time had by all!

Congratulations to Martin for his umpteenth success, Gerry his FIRST - well done! Commiserations to Gavin, Jeff, Chris and Mathew - better luck next year. Huge thank-you's to Pam and Alf, Yvette, David, Ivan, Ruth and Graham for their help as well as the Raynet guys who were really supportive, especially when I had to make a couple of tough decisions. Can’t wait for next year! What an exciting event with a tremendous atmosphere!

Alf and Pam would like to add a special thanks to the Raynet guys Ted, Tony and Brian for their sense of humour which made the tedious task of clipping much more pleasant. And they really enjoyed the dancing which kept our circulation going!

Pat Endacott, Alf & Pam Wheeler