Today was the end â€“ we got up, packed everything away and cleaned the bunkhouse before working out just how much dirty kit it is possible to fit in a single car. Matthew left early to hang controls for Tour Champs at Claife Heights, just above the shores of Windermere, so when everyone else arrived we could start straight away (or at least, those of us who hadnâ€™t been crippled yet by the weekâ€™s activities!)
Jezza (injured heel) provided a high-quality start experience, featuring a zero-minute call up, no SI and a start list which was stuck to very rigorously. Meanwhile, Paul (sprained ankle) and Pippa (chronic knee pain) went for a walk after deciding against producing an in-depth review of car front seats. Fiona (a bit sick) set out last to collect the first few controls. All in all, we can reliably conclude that this training tour has broken more people than usual.
The course featured some nasty uphills, some nasty green stuff (bear crawl came in very handy here!) and some nastily precise control placement, although our sources in the field suggest that most of the course after control 8 wasnâ€™t that disgusting. An interesting route choice leg all the way back along a steep slope was a good end to the course, with most people choosing to go down to the road and back up, rather than Mattâ€™s chosen route of up to the path and down.
When most people were back, Ben decided to go for a swim â€“ apparently â€œIt wasnâ€™t as bad as lakes normally are in December. It didnâ€™t make me want to jump out immediately â€“ I was able to stay lying down for about ten seconds!â€ Even though she had a wetsuit, Helen neglected to join him, deciding instead to just wash her feet.
When we had eaten our lunch and Fiona had collected all the stolen borrowed cutlery, we piled into the cars one last time and headed down the road to various places. Paul realised much too late that he could have got a lift with Jonathan to Dumfries, and then got a two hour ferry from Stranraer, instead of the eight hour one from Birkenhead, Jamesâ€™s car made it up all the hills, and John didnâ€™t miss his train, so didnâ€™t have to cycle all the way home to Lancaster (I assume).
To round up, thanks to everyone for coming and making it a great week, and have a groovy Christmas!