Tag: westhighlandway

Use As Directed (Andrew)

“Stick it where the sun don’t shine!” is a threat, not an instruction. Top tip: do not confuse the two – you will regret it!

Let me explain.

Around 10 years ago I was taking part in the Caledonian Challenge, a 54 mile walking challenge from Fort William to Loch Lomond and following the West Highland Way.

I was walking with three team mates. It was our first challenge of this type and we had no idea what we were doing.

We’d barely trained. We’d walked 20 miles along the Fife coastal path and, while using walking poles to help us get used to using them in action, we were spotted by a local gang in Kirkcaldy. “Oi, yous!” They shouted, “‘ave yous lost yer skis?”.

Which was very funny – if you’re not the prat trying to keep his dignity while walking with walking poles outside a chip shop in Kirkcaldy.

After that, we let training slide and we thought we could just turn up at Fort William and wing it.

Big mistake.

But not our biggest.

Our biggest was not reading the instructions. If we had, we’d have spotted that long distance walkers wear tight fitting cycle shorts and not, I repeat NOT, ordinary boxers.

Why?

Let’s just say one word – friction – and leave it at that.

Or, if that doesn’t help, let’s just say one phrase – don’t let Tarzan swing free – and leave it at that.

Okay, okay, let’s just spell it out. If you don’t have tight fitting shorts then there’s a whole lotta rubbing going on down there in a 54 mile walk. The kind of rubbing that a boy scout could use to start a fire.

By mile 40 we’d realised our mistake. We were the bow-legged walkers. If you’d seen us you’d have shouted “Oi, lads, ‘ave yous lost yer horses?”. We looked like cowboys, felt like pillocks – until one of us had an idea.

“We’ve got sun-cream!” He said.

“So?”

“It’s a lubricant, isn’t it?”

“Is it?”

“Well, it’s wet.”

And, with that rigorous debate over, three of the four us were hiding behind a bush, trousers round our ankles and applying sun-cream to areas that frankly the sun had only ever shined out of.

Five minutes later, no longer bow-legged: “This is BRILLIANT!”

And it was.

For five more minutes. Then the first cry went up.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH”

The second cry went up.

“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK”

The third cry went up.

“JAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYZZZZZZZZZZZUUUUUUSSSSCCCCCCHHHHHRRRIIISSSSTTTTT!”

Then we all fell down.

It was agony. It turns out sun cream is not a lubricant at all. It was chilli oil. There was heat and pain in places that only a Mexican who’s followed on a red hot burrito will ever experience.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH”

But, it wasn’t the worst thing to happen that day.

It turns out one of us had an even smarter (dumber) idea. He’d said he didn’t need to use the cream however it was only after the race that we found out why.

He’d wrapped zinc oxide tape around his toes to prevent chafing and blistering. Then, in a move that only the Darwin Awards can truly appreciate, he’d decided he should use the leftover tape on other parts of his body that might be subject to chafing.

He, and, well, let me be delicate about it, had wrapped, um, Tarzan’s hanging baskets in tape.

And it worked. He didn’t feel a thing for the entire race.

He was very smug… until he got home.

Then he realised that the only way to take the tape off was to rip it off.

And when it was ripped off, it took everything with it. Every little and not so little hair.

He spent three hours in the bath hoping the tape would soak and fall off naturally.

It didn’t.

He had no choice. He had to let it rip.

He had smooth toes.

And Tarzan was bald.

“AAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!”

He never used zinc oxide again.