Day 27 – ‘From peaky to Peak Tor’

I really must learn that I can’t rush this. It is however incredibly frustrating, the level of ability to what I have previously enjoyed.

Mentally the last couple of days have been a real challenge, some things act a trigger which tip you into a downward spiral of depressive moroseness (is that a word?) that trigger was the news that Stephen Fry has cancer. News like that just seems to take the wind out of my sails.

I like Stephen Fry, for me he is up there in in the pantheon of national treasures along side Richard Attenborough & David Jason. So hearing that yet another person I admire has ‘succumb’ to the big C just drags me down.

An incredibly intelligent and articulate man Fry’s insights into many subjects are insightful and very logical. The news about his diagnosis reminded me of a very famous interview he did a couple of years ago with Gay Byrne (Ireland’s version of Michael Parkinson) during the interview Byrne questioned him about his faith and his belief in god. He response is legendary…..

Stephen Fry questions God

I also learnt yesterday that alcohol is no longer my friend. Oh no sir, definitely not.

Sneakily last week I ‘snuck in’ a crafty little half a shandy with my evening meal. Sweet baby Jesus and all the orphans did I pay for that. Within 30 minutes my digestive system was gurgling, churning and making me pay with cramping spasmodic pains that lead me to pray for forgiveness from a supreme being. Little Simon was equally as unimpressed, and as soon as dinner had reached him (if not sooner) it was spat out in a stocato fashion along with the shandy during my viewing of ‘the men’s half pipe final’ .

Undeterred I though I would have another go last night, this time abandoning the hop in favour of the grape. ‘It was the gas, yeh must have been the gas. Let’s stick with wine, that will be ok’.

Utilising the same tactic a glass of ‘Ned’ was downed in a respectable timescale alongside my evening meal.

Twenty minutes passed without event, ‘we’ve cracked it’ I thought. I was to speak too soon.

Thirty minutes in and once again my digestive system decided to throw a double six, this time not content with simulating a washing machine on a heavy load my eyes became heavy and burdened. Making my way to a comfortable chair I fell asleep. Nighty night.

Alcohol is decidedly off the menu.

The current spell of cold crisp weather has motivated me to want to climb one of the nearby Tors. I was contemplating it the other night whilst I lay in bed, thinking through both the feasibility and the risks associated with undertaking the walk. I am currently up to walking a mile a day, but this is on the level around the neighbourhood, not exactly Olympic challenging to that extent but nevertheless exhausting for me.

I kept my powder dry with MrsC as I new what the likely response would be if I decided to ‘float’ the idea at the wrong time. Eventually after breakfast I came out with it “I wouldn’t mind climbing one of the Tor’s today”

The expletive ridden response was not largely supportive, undeterred I decided on the ‘well I’m going to do it anyway so nuhhh’ approach.

Other than when we are sleeping this was the longest time when no verbal communication had been exchanged between us. We even managed to leave the house without the usual pleasantries of “have you locked the doors” and “who has the car keys”.

The car journey was torturous “if you collapse I’m not calling the Dartmoor rescue”….. “If you rupture your abdomen….” and so on and so forth.

I was more worried that little Simon (who was dutifully emptied before we embarked) would either fill up rapidly, or detach himself on the accent depositing excrement down the inside of my thermal trousers.

We parked up and exited the vehicle. We were expecting it to be cold but , wow , this was another level. Even cold would say it was cold. An unusual biting easterly wind added to the excitement.

High up in the distance I could see the the top of the Tor. ‘What have I done’ I thought.

We set off climbing through the gorse strewn landscape, every footing inching higher up the Tor.

Within minutes I was falling behind, even at a snails pace I was clearly not ‘match fit’

MrsC was deliberately slowing and turning back “you ok, do you need to go back?”

“No, I’m good” – what a bare face lie, I’m suprised she can’t hear my heart beating, I am so short of breath I can hardly get the words out.

At the half way point we pause and I turn to face the view. This welcomed rest buys me time and gives my heart and lungs time to compose themselves for the big push to the top.

On reaching the top I parked my bum on the rocky outcrop and felt rightly pleased. It was beautiful, a classic winters day, when the sky is crystal clear and the 360° view something to behold.

Taking stock of any ‘aches and pains’ I determined that I was ‘ok’, nothing too painful at the moment, bag in place, nothing leaking into my boots. All good.

We planned the decent (which was decidedly easier than the accent) and as an added incentive I suggested that we reward ourselves with a ’99 flake’. I mean what else would be appropriate in the sub zero temperatures?


Day 25 – ‘Faith,drugs and rock & roll’


Day 28 – ‘Adjustment’


  1. Steve Boot

    Hi Simon and Ali, we missed you yesterday; we should have known it was alcohol related 🙂
    Well done for climbing the tor, a great achievement (but you really need to listen to Ali). That said, I can tell by the great big grin on your fizog that it meant a lot to you. Yes, it was cold today. I went to Yelverton Golf course today and younger, fitter men than you were walking off the course in tears they were so cold. It occurred to me you can’t celebrate properly at the moment so, being the nice guy I am, I am having a glass of Yellowtail Jammy Red Roo for you right now! Remember our genuine offer to help if you need anything. Big hugs from both of us and kisses from Marie!

  2. Mark Bullard

    Amazing effort Simon climbing the Tor. Well done. Also to Alison for the support she gives you.

  3. Steve Boot

    Hi Simon, I have just watched the Fry interview at your link. I am also a off Stephen Fry fan but have not seen this before.Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. Rosemary and Francis Polglase

    Well done Simon…what an inspiration you are..listen to your lovely wife’s advice too tho! Xx

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