Good morning folks!
I spent a night in the sidings at Holyhead, which is where the train was stabled. We returned to Bangor at 04:30 this morning to pick up the weary climbers who ticked off Mount Snowdon in dry but gusty conditions whilst the traincrew had cleaned the train, ate and managed a couple of hours sleep.
All the teams made it back in time for the train bar two people who’d picked up injuries. They’re being looked after by a member of staff who’ll escort them (by train) to Ravenglass where they’ll rejoin us so that they can be reunited with their gear. Right now everyone else (bar the traincrew) are grabbing some sleep before their next exertions. It’s a beautiful morning on the North Wales coast, which makes a pleasant change from some of the previous trips. Not that many people will be appreciating the view as sleep, not sightseeing is the main priority now!
Whilst the teams sleep the traincrew are busy. Because this coaching set doesn’t have kitchen cars we can’t serve the same standard of food as in past years when Chef Ian Joesbury and his team would have been busy cooking hundreds of eggs to go with an English breakfast. Instead we have pots of porridge laid out ready to go. Other crew members have been kept busy assembling and packing over 200 sandwiches for people to take with them onto Scafell. Once the main batch is stowed away all surfaces and utensils are meticulously cleaned before the gluten-free sandwiches for coeliacs are prepared. It’s a slick operation.
The train’s sprung back to life. Some folk have managed to grab a little sleep before the crew began to serve breakfast. First course was coffee and a croissant followed by porridge. The train stopped at Preaton where 200 bacon or veggie sausage rolls (donated by Avanti) were loaded aboard. They were then microwaved in the two buffet cars before being distributed throughout the train.
Apologies for the gap but phone reception is poor to non-existent where we’ve been today. Having arrived at Ravenglass the teams swapped trains for a trip on the ‘Lal Ratty’ – the narrow gauge Ravenglass and Eskdale railway to Dalegarth. From there we all walked up over Eskdale Moor for the 5 mile journey past Burnmoor Tarn to Wasdlae and the start of the ascent of Scafell. The weather’s been sunny but extremely windy with some very heavy gusts. Sadly, the top of Scafell Pike was covered in cloud but it didn’t stop the teams.
Afterwards, minibuses took us all back to Ravenglass, where we are now. An evening meal of jacket potatoes or rice with chili was supplied by the R&ER cafe. Now most people are having a drink at the pub on Ravenglass station before the train arrives at 19:30 to take us North. I’ll blog more when I’m on the train, right now I’ll leave you with a picture of Scafell taken from Wasdale just before we left.
We’re now over the Scottish border and most people on the train have crashed out. Many of them are exhausted after their exhertions. I’d hoped to have blogged about the journey but I got roped in to helping steward on board the train. Added to my other duties it left no time for keyboard-bashing. It’s a shame as we had a stunning run along the Cumbrian coast line in picture perfect weather – especially as the wind had whipped up the waves to send them crashing along the beaches. Instead, I’m sat in a darkened coach with bodies all around me as I enjoy a glass of wine and the dying light whilst I charge up various devices ready for tomorrow – which might present challenges of a different kind. The weather forecast means it’s extremely unlikely the teams will be able to summit Ben Nevis. High winds and rain make that too dangerous and people’s safety is paramount. But, who knows? The weather’s capricious and a decision will be made in the morning, which in our case will be around 03:00. Stay tuned…
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