Posts Tagged ‘Scottish munros’

Wet socks and walking poles

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Last weekend I had a sock incident in the Brecon Beacons. I was staying in Ponty Pandy’s only public house complete with bunkhouse attachment, stale nibbles and porcine landlord with pudding basin hair. Now I love a ramble, involving, as it usually does, a leisurely pace, a hot beverage with a Pppppppenguin and, if I’m lucky a wee in a bush. ¬†However, this ramble was a 20 mile Challenge in the company of a bunch of seriously dull council employees. We had a trading standards officer, a couple of widget counters and a man who did something in leisure centres – think Gordon Brittas in waterproof trousers. The day didn’t get off to a good start – the pub had no muesli, no stewed prunes, not even any Rice Crispies. It was a Welsh-all-in or nothing, so I had a slaver of black pudding on a slice of 5050 (that’s brown bread that’s been bleached white but doesn’t taste of either) then it was check you’ve got your whistle, your survival bag and your sandwiches – more slices of pig on 5050 – and we were off. From one rain-sodden tussock to another we leapt whereupon I discovered my waterproof boots weren’t waterproof at all. We then chucked up the hugely steep and perilous Pen Y Fan. En route, we passed a woman with a handbag and a shawl, and, most peculiarly, a man with strange rubber shoes with individual toes in them who’d lost the plastic end of his walking pole and had walked all the way down to the bottom to find it, saving himself, oh I’d say about 50p. Meanwhile, the council boys, fuelled by their morning sausage, had chased each other to the top and were now eating bananas and laughing like drains at the impossibly named adjacent peak of Fan Y Big. The view was lovely but on the way down, my ultra chunky wet socks started to chafe and friend A got the urge to wee. With no bushes in sight, we could either form a human shield around her with the council bores, or she could hold it until the next check point (whose facilities turned out to be a bucket in the school stationery cupboard). By this time, we’d hooked up with a Scottish Munro bagger and a building inspector from Neath who for the next two hours, regaled us with tales of altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro. By tea time, our ordeal was over. Back at the bunkhouse, we fought over the shower and who was going to have the Welsh faggots – and then we went to bed. Tidy.