Trek Four

Our resolve finally gave in last night (Wednesday) and faced with another Chinese meal, some of the team ended up in McDonalds. Big Macs, Fries and Large Coke all round, £2.50 each certainly did the trick.

After dinner we went for a game of Ten-Pin bowling. It would be rude and very unfair to mention who won the game - Chris :) - and who was whipped - John :( - but this was a good release after a long hard day. Puppy came 5th and unlike Chris never used the bumpers.

Today (Thursday) we went to the Black Dragon Pool Park where we spent the day trekking past gorges, waterfalls and pools with some very steep inclines ending in wild parts of the wall. It is difficult to believe that we were all walking about in light summer clothing when as you will see from the pictures we were surrounded by ice and snow. We had one brave, or foolish, trekker who dived into the freezing water. Ewan is another 007 in the making. The walk was extremely picturesque with some beautiful bridges and walkways albeit punctuated by some very amusing signs: “No Cyossing”, “Be Cayefull”, “No fires in the Fire Prohibited Area”, “Barter for Boating”.

Another packed lunch today and this was eaten in a Temple in a part of the Park that is not normally open to the public, 500m higher and largely unspoilt.

After lunch we then took a rugged route which took us higher up to wilder parts of the wall.

To give you some idea of today’s 12K trek, which took us over 2000ft above sea-level, typically each of us drank around 2.5 litres of water! This necessitated a toilet stop, this one was definitely one-star toilet!

We were given lessons on the coach today about Chinese Zodiac Animals. You may be interested to know the following about our featured trekkers:

  • Chris McMail - born in the year of the Snake. Wise, Romantic, Charming and Lazy! – Sound about right! (Ed - Guess who wrote this part of the blog?!)

  • Graham Kirkwood - born in the year of the Tiger. Very Straightforward Guy, Kind, Warm Hearted and Stubborn!

  • John McCallum - born in the year of the Monkey. Inventive, Original and Selfish!

  • Stewart Lindsay - born in the year of the Snake. Highly Developed Intituition, Humorous and Jealous!

    Tonight’s meal is supposed to be a better Chinese meal, find out tomorrow whether it was another big mac!
  • Blisters, Snoring and Smelly Feet!


    Good morning to all you folks back home in the UK, sitting with your feet up at your comfy desks or browsing from the luxury of your sofa! Today's main news is that I've a big blister on my front left paw. Any tips?

    As you regular readers will know I'm over here in China with my dad Graham as he couldn't be trusted to go on his own! We're now just over half way there and I cant wait to get home: I'm sleeping at the bottom of the bed, his feet stink, he's been moaning non-stop for days and his snoring is abhorrent. His big pal Chris is just as bad. A poorly Chinese local was scavenging for bottles last night and we gave her all our empty bottles from the bus. However, Chris also chucked in my big Bowl and I'm left eating off the floor now. Some pal him! Worse still, he won't tell us how much he sold them all for...

    I have to say, a tremendous effort has gone into the organisation of my big Dog holiday trek thus far, it's been one of the best walks I've ever been on after last weekends jaunt down Troon Beach. It's even better as all the oldies are just managing to struggle on each day while I'm cruising along and still hoping up the stairs despite my big blister!

    So I thought I better set myself a challenge - can all you generous fans back home help me, Puppy, raise £1000 for the Ayrshire Hospice? Now that's only a measly 1p for each of the steps I have had to climb so far!

    Please follow this link where you can sponsor me: WOOF!!

    The Third Trek!

    After yesterdays (Wednesday) trek we finished the day with a well deserved foot massage, we all went together with 3 female compatriots for an allegedly 40 minute massage which turned into a 40 minute comedy sketch. The combination of our lack of Chinese Language and their ‘apparent’ lack of English combined with the aggressive footwork led to a hilarious time which resulted in us having to carry Debbie back upstairs.

    The evening culminated in a group quiz which we decided to let someone else win. During the night we had what we thought was another medical emergency. Hazels room sharing partner Sandra woke in the middle of the night convinced that she was having a stroke as she had no feeling in her left arm.

    Now I should explain at this point that Hazel and Sandra have had previous nocturnal episodes.

    On the first night Hazel was kept awake by Sandra’s incessant snoring (another snorer, maybe we should swap rooms and her and John can snore together!) The second night Sandra was kept awake by Hazels Gibbering (hmm, maybe rooms should stay as they are!).

    Anyway I digress, Sandra, in the middle of her supposed stroke decides that the best course of action is to waken Hazel (at 5.00am in the morning!).

    She cannot just shout her (cos she has had a stroke), and being a first aider she recognises that as the stroke is on her left side it will have affected her speaking. Now, and I make no apologies for digressing again, I would have tested out this unable to talk theory by trying it but no, Sandra decides that although it will have affected her talking it will not have affected her singing so she decides to hum a few bars.

    Realising that this wasn’t working and remembering that she had been in the doctors room the previous evening (more info on THAT story as soon as I am able to get it!) and that his room number is 212, Sandra decides that if she uses hand movements with the arm that is not asleep to spell out his room number then Hazel will make the enormous leap and know that she is in trouble.

    Yeah, sounds logical to me too!

    Hazel at this point does wake up and glances over to Sandra. She is faced with the imposing figure of Sandra, arm hanging over the bed, saliva slavering from her top lip humming a few bars of “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and doing a good impression of Ted Rodgers (3-2-1)! Not a pretty sight.

    I did remind Hazel about the importance of taking pictures of these events, then again maybe not! These St Andrews Hospice folk are a strange, yet entertaining lot...

    Today’s trek takes us though stunning rural countryside to Mutianyu. This trek will end by climbing 500 steps to one of the Towers on this reconstructed wall. This stone staircase has been named the ‘Stairway to Heaven’, due to the steep climb and incredible height.

    The views can only be described as ‘wow’ and it is difficult to explain how breathtaking it is without actually being there.

    The start of the trek starts with two options a cable car or 1000 very steep steps, obviously we took the steps and have named these, the ‘Stairway to Hell!’ and we have the pictures to prove it. This undulating journey goes through a number of towers before reaching the final stairway.

    There is a definite feeling of achievement and camaraderie as we reached Heaven and there are a number of group photographs taken to the resounding tune of Flower of Scotland! There was a definite feeling of bonding as the final achievers were cheered to the summit.

    Lunch today was alfresco, we were provided with a packed lunch at the outset of the trek and after yesterdays disappointing lunch opened it with a degree of intrepidation. We needn’t had worried, after 3 hours trek to a height of 2500ft in blistering hot conditions in excess of 70 degrees, the lunch was Manna from Heaven.

    Options for coming down were cable car or luige. The luige is a crude form of toboggan down a 1000ft slalom slide at exhilarating speed, except of course if Stewart is in front of you. I suspect that this is one of the only times that there has been a traffic jam on the luige. We enjoyed this so much we decided to take the cable car back up to the top for faster trip with Stewart at the back.

    Mr Jobsworth on the gate insisted that we would have to buy new entrance to the wall even though we were only going on the luige. Negotiations were going badly until we took the bull by the horns and declared ‘No way pal!” at which point he took the approach of least resistance and capitulated.

    It is very obvious that there are vast differences in wealth in China and this was even more apparent today when as we were driving out of the car park, a local peasant woman was collecting used water bottles for selling.

    Over the last few days we have collected hundreds of bottles in the coach. Under threat of mutiny we forced the driver to reverse and we offloaded some of our collection. We left one old woman thinking that all her Christmas had come at once.

    PS Puppy's just been on the 'dog and bone' - the internet connection's down in the kennels at the moment but he's hoping to have a few tour snaps for you all by UK lunchtime!