torsdag, december 27, 2012

Royal Air Force 2 Day March 2012

Vikings came to the Midlands - and were drowned!

Cold and wet, but with bling. Photo: Karsten
Everything - absolutely, totally everything - worn by the Danish marching contingent was soaked. The time was April 2012, the place was Cosford, the Midlands, England, the United Kingdom, and the weather would have made Noah make for his ark. Fortunately, the innards of the unfortunate vikings were also kept wet with substances such as Guinness and port. Further, we experienced amazing hospitality from a pub owner along the route of 2 times 25 miles.

Picture report by Thorbjørn Hein

Additional photos by Karsten Riis, Jörg Ruckert, Lene Madsen, and Michael Haarh Thyregod. Used without permission.

On our way in bus for the final stretch from Birmingham, Friday 27 April. Photo: Lene
In Birmingham, we'd had an absolutely fab time with my good friends there. The pub owner at Scruffy Murphy's donated viking helmets to the visiting march contingent. Maybe because we worked hard at clearing out his stock of beer. The mood in the bus at this time was animated. Photo: Lene
On the road, Saturday. The rain hasn't started yet. Yet! Jörg in the foreground representing Sweden.

Tormod in high spirits and tall build.

Yours truly naturally carried Dannebrog for the whole of the march. Photo: Michael

So many younglings at this particular marching event.

Like we did, the young RAF cadets use the march as a qualifier for the Nijmegen marches.


We always (this was my 4th time at the RAF 2 Day March) walk past Rest Area 1 (and all the other rest areas, by the way) to halt at a stone wall nearby. Here, Michael upholds a fine tradition ... Photo: Lene

The tradition is: we salute our fallen comrades with a glass of The Royal Life Guards, Denmark, Port. Photo: Michael
After that, we have a glass of port sending thoughts to our comrades currently deployed in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Finally, we probably have a glass of port to clean up! Photo: Lene

The canal. A long, straight stretch. Some would find it monotone. I kind of like it!
At the end of the canal part of the route, there's this nice pub (The Bridge Inn) where we have some lunch and energy drink (beer). Michael borrows my flag. Photo: Lene

View from bridge.

Photo: Karsten
Photo: Michael
As far as I remember, there are approximately 1,200 participants. 1,100 of these, would be my guess, are the young cadets. Here at breakfast.

There is a world of difference between the stuff served during the march in the weekend compared to the food available Monday morning for the regular personnel, we found out on our day of departure. 

A pub along the way. This was The Seven Stars where the landlady came out in her night robe to see what was going on outside her pub. Thing was, we were so completely soaked that we'd taken temporary shelter in her semi-closed shed in the morning. Many hours till the pub opened, but we had cans of beer in our bergens. She promptly invited us in! 

Dry! Warm! No wind! This is heaven!

The landlady was by law not allowed to sell us us anything at 8am, or whenever it was in the morning (we had been up since 5am, mind you), but invited us to drink what we had brought ourselves. She even offered to let us use her tumble dryer! So friendly. Thank you again, ma'm, if you ever read this.

As can be seen, we got special treatment.
I changed socks, since my boots squished with every step. And had a look at my inner soles. They were so wet that foam had formed. But on the other hand, "at least" it was almost storming, with wind/chill factor going through the roof ... Photo: Lene
I have no idea what phenomenon lies behind this - the soles have never been exposed to soap. Photo: Lene

Medals received, time for hero photo. There was no party when we arrived (shortly before closing time of the march, because of the many pub pitstops). The youths and girls were done for, absolutely done for. I can't blame them; we were a hardened collection of walkers and WE felt spent for the day. On the Facebook group "Marchgruppe DK" (click and join) some people were more than sceptic when told that this was the wettest and windiest, and thus coldest march, like, ever. But, those people whom I can't remember the names of, you can just believe it and put a sock in it ;-) And one of my socks from the march, actually; you'll be hydrated for a week ... Photo: Karsten
SJLR Marching Team are very good friends of the Beagle Boys, or at least of Beagle Boy Yoda (third from left) and me. Thank you to Lene and Tormod for the trip - including the ridiculously good time at Scruffy Murphys on Friday. Photo: Karsten 
Monday, waiting for the bus. The trio in the pic flew from Birmingham whereas I took a train to London. There, I had a few hours of picnic and hung out with an old friend from university and the embassy. I walked a lot and fast during that day in London, with 30 kilos of bulky gear making it a bit tough. Pictures here.


Closing remark
A THOUSAND thanks to the guys and girls from Birmingham with whom I enjoyed myself immensely Thursday and Friday plus a couple of hours Monday. Always a great pleasure seeing you - you know who you are.

London march
I walked quite a bit on the Monday - London Reminiscence Spring Strolling 2012


Name: RAF WARMA 2 Day March, day 1
Date: 28 APR 2012
Route: The day with the canal
Distance: 42.5 km (what we walked, with pub detours)
Time: 9:19 hrs
Average speed: 4.6 km/h, including rests
Note: 11-15 kg of backpack weight, diminishing as the beers got drunk.
Training status 2012: look here.

Name: RAF WARMA 2 Day March, day 2
Date: 29 APR 2012
Route: The day when the heavens opened
Distance: 42.8 km (what we walked, with pub detours)
Time: 9:26 hrs
Average speed: 4.5 km/h, including rests
Note: 10-13 kg of backpack weight, diminishing as the beers got drunk.
Training status 2012: look here.

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