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Sunday, 14 November 2010

The 2010 Challenge, day 8: Kinloch Rannoch to Blair Atholl (1)

The day started with a few kilometres on the road East from Kinloch Rannoch to Tummel Bridge - but what a road that is!

As you walk, your ears are assaulted by the roar of the River Tummel in the valley below; and when there was a chance to scramble down to the water's edge and see it frothing and foaming its way across the rocks, well, I didn't need asking twice!

And as I walked, my mind returned once again to a song I had been trying to figure out ever since my first Chellenge in 2000. Having come up with some words to sing to "The Praties They Grow Small", I began to wonder whether "Cavalilly Men" (a 17th century Royalist song) might also provide a suitable tune to which to set a Challenge song. The only problem was, I'd got as far as the first two lines (So here we are, another year / We've crossed a country to be here) and the final line for each verse (Great Outdoors Challengers!) - and there it had stuck. No more words would come, and it had been teasing me, taunting me, mocking me for the best part of 10 years now.

Finally, as I walked along beside the Tummel, a whole verse finally came together. I sang it to myself, adjusted it, refined it, and sang it again and again until I was happy that it was as good as I could get it. And here it is:

So here we are, another year
We've crossed a country to be here
From West to Eastern shore
O'er mountain top, through valley floor
In Feshie Glen, on Rannoch Moor
Great Outdoors Challengers!

Alas, the next verse would not come ... nor any intermediate verses. But a triumphant, final verse to round the song off sprang to my lips almost as soon as I began to think of it:

And if it be, as well it may
We ne'er come back another day
My friends, the fact remains
That o'er this land we've all roamed free
So come what may, we'll always be
Great Outdoors Challengers!

The song is not complete at two verses. It needs an intermediate verse or two. Three at most. But, it's getting there. Give me another ten years, and who knows ...

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