“Send More Food”

The weather today is dreich with light rain but pleasant enough out. I made my way down to the Bowling Club, on Pipeland Road for the Probus Club talk, today it was a Jim McArthur “Robert Burns – a few interesting facts”. It was not about Burns but the people around him at that time who had the greatest influence on his works. Fascinating stuff, I really enjoyed his presentation.

In two weeks’ time, we have Hamish Brown on “The fall of Singapore” (plugging his latest book) I remember him from my RAF mountain rescue days, and during the time he walked all the Monroe’s in Scotland in one go, he used the same technique as the lads from our group when they walk from the most northerly Monroe to the most Southerly (Ben Hope to Ben Lomond) – I was part of the team that put out food parcels at post offices and small stores and dropped parcels off at remote farms so they had fresh supplies.  Not having to carry heavy stores, such as tins of fruit would aid their progress – I was also doing sorties out in the land rover to meet up and re-supply.

One of the stipulations was that they called in each day – having RAF Mountain Rescue members lost out on the hills or worse would not look good in the national press or on television news. Every time we received a call – it was to “Send More Food” – funds were running low so Chiefy Hind secured a 7 Lbs tin of Strawberry jam and three loves of bread from the Mess and sent them out. The next day we received the daily report – ending with “Send More Food”.  

I did the same trip solo and unaccompanied – I now know just how hungry you get on a long constant walk or cycle ride for that matter. I carried practically nothing with me but a sleeping bag and camping stove. Food was a large bag of porridge oats, (with salt already added) and a few boil-in-the-bag meals – to save fuel I used the water that the food was boiled in for tea. As the gas supplies run low, it was only used to boil enough water for tea – I ate the porridge as brose (meal and water with added sugar, again I simply tipped what sugar I had into the bag of porridge oats). I tried hard not to lose height by staying as close to the tops as I could, and sleeping out in the heather, or if I could find some sort of shelter stone, sheep pens, or wooded windbreaks. Bathing was in streams or naked in the numerous mountain lochs. By the end (sixteen days and 53 Monroe’s later) I could have climbed to the moon.

The worst thing about growing old is remembering when you were young.

Since I am all dressed up and have nowhere to go, I think I will go for a pint.

Stay safe.


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