Saturday, 2 August 2008
And so what of the challenge itself? Well, we're still taking it all in, but it seemed to be a remarkable success overall, with all four peaks accomplished on schedule, and plenty of money raised (many thanks to all - and it's still rolling in, so if you still want to make a donation you can do so here). We all agreed that the four peaks had very different characters, and that the locations were noticeably different in many ways, but the one similarity (other than the height) was the beauty of the surroundings. I know we've said this before, but we were very lucky with the weather and the views we got. There are some more photos now up at www.extremecello.com/peaksgallery.htm.
So, what next? Was this challenge extreme enough for Mr Clarkson, or do we need to go further still? Ideas on a postcard (or via the comments option on here) please. Oh don't worry, we have some of our own... we're just exploring all the options for now!
Thursday, 31 July 2008
We were completely covered in cloud on top, so the pictures aren't as spectacular as they might be... however, I've posted three below to show what it was like! We did the whole lot, including the top, in seven and a half hours - not bad, we thought. At the summit, we gave our shortest performance to date (one piece only) because the cellos were getting a bit wet, and then had lunch, with a spot of champagne to celebrate (thanks Stefan!). We were greeted on the way down with some clearing weather, and spectacular views resulted - meaning we got decent views from all four mountains in the end - quite a result!
Needless to say, we celebrated last night with a pint of Guinness or three over a meal (before James and Jeremy both got thrashed at pool by some local 12-year-old), and slept very soundly! And so, we have a spare day to contemplate future possible endeavours... keep in touch with www.extremecello.com for details as time goes on!
This is not quite the final word on the tour - there will be more pictures and reaction to come, if not later today then by the weekend for sure. But thanks for all your comments, thoughts, suggestions and donations - all very much appreciated!
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Today was spent mostly travelling, with a stop in Limerick for an interview on RTE Lyric - actually going into the studio, which made a nice change. We've just had a pasta meal in preparation (with James having a go at some chorizo-bobbing), and will have an early night before the final climb tomorrow... will post again after we've done it!
Monday, 28 July 2008
The weather was fantastic - almost too hot, in fact - and we played for a good long while at the summit, along with some TA soldiers at one point (and managed to join in both English and Welsh national anthems with them); we returned to Clogwyn station (3/4 of the way up) to play for 45 minutes, and then played at the halfway cafe on the way down with a cup of tea! All in all, we took nearly 9 hours in ascent & descent, because of the performances and interest.
We finished off the day with a meal in a pub in Llanberis, and somehow managed to win joint first prize in their quiz too! So we'll be returning tonight to spend our winnings on another meal...
Next stop Ireland - we leave early tomorrow morning, have an interview at RTE radio on the way over, and should be in Killarney by late afternoon, ready to tackle Carrauntoohil on Wednesday!
Quote of the day: "You're the famous cellists!" (Random motorist at the start of our ascent - well, we're cellists anyway... not sure about the famous bit!)
Sunday, 27 July 2008
Friday, 25 July 2008
So, we started the walk on Thursday, up England's tallest mountain, accompanied by TV cameramen from three local networks, as well as a reporter for BBC Radio 4 (and a dog!). The climb itself was as expected: hard, steep, but a lot shorter than Ben Nevis. So when we played at the top, we were slightly less exhausted than before and played for substantially longer - as well as doing plenty of TV and radio interviews.
We were really pleased by not only the media interest, but also their sensitivity in dealing with us: no requests to "just come up that bit again", which we had encountered on the Cathedral Roof Tour more than once! So many thanks to the journalists involved.
We had a good evening meal at the hostel, and then a game of French cricket with another family at the hostel! A good day all round. A couple of other photos from the day are below.
Today we did our own things - either climbing some more hills (yes, really!) or exploring Cumbria at ground level. Down to Snowdonia tomorrow!
Thursday, 24 July 2008
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Some more images from the top of Ben Nevis!
In the "group photo", we have: Cellists (front row) - James, Clare, Jeremy; Sherpas (back row) - Ashley, Caroline.
We're having a rest day today, mainly in Fort William - this morning we went into Nevis Radio, a wonderful small independent local radio station, to do an interview and play a couple of pieces. We were delighted to find a large picture of ourselves on the front page of the Press & Journal, which we are told is the major paper in the north of Scotland!
And so our thoughts look ahead to Scafell Pike... the weather forecast looks good (in fact, perhaps a little too hot for ideal conditions), but we're well aware that can change pretty quickly so we're not counting our chickens just yet. We travel down tomorrow - there may or may not be a blog entry on arrival in the Lake District, but there'll certainly be one (with some pictures, hopefully) on Thursday!
Monday, 21 July 2008
It's fair to say we're all hurting somewhat. Clare says in particular that her shoulders hurt, her back hurts, her legs hurt and her feet hurt. I doubt any of us could say honestly that we do not share the same feelings!
We'd like to say a particular thank you to our two sherpas today - Ashley and Caroline. Ashley will be with us throughout; Caroline was just here for Ben Nevis (we'll have others at the other mountains); but they both made things so easy for us. Well, I say easy - speaking relatively of course! I don't think anyone would claim climbing a 1,343m mountain was easy at any time, let alone with a cello on your back...
We'll post some more photos of the first leg tomorrow hopefully.
Quote of the day: "Are we nearly there yet?" (James, after we'd been going for about 20 minutes...)
Got up here about half an hour ago, played for a while for a big audience with good weather and about to have lunch!
We'll say more when we get down later - thanks for all your support!
(N.B. You can make the picture larger by clicking on it.)
Sunday, 20 July 2008
The journey up was largely uneventful (apart from Jeremy missing a diversion after the M1 was closed!), and we got here in time for a delicious sausage pasta meal, followed by James' attempt at flapjack bobbing...
And so, we steel ourselves for the 1343m climb tomorrow - I think it's fair to say that we're all a bit apprehensive now, especially as we can see Ben Nevis from our hostel room. All being well we'll blog again tomorrow evening to let you know how we got on - and post a picture or two!
Saturday, 19 July 2008
All was fine until we went to collect the minibus yesterday. Aston Students' Guild had very kindly agreed to lend us a minibus for the duration of the challenge: this was great, until we went to fill it up with fuel. As we unlocked the bus after filling up, the key snapped in the lock (possibly from the shock of the price of diesel these days?)... fortunately we were still close to the University, and they had a spare key! Less fortunately, although the key would open the doors, it wouldn't start the engine. For a number of reasons that I'm not going to force myself to recall, we spent a couple of hours trying to get breakdown assistance but to no avail...
So, we had to abandon the minibus and have decided to take two of our own cars instead... it'll be a bit of a squash, but we should manage it! I should add that the staff both at the BP garage on Watery Lane, Birmingham, and at Aston Students' Guild were exceptionally helpful and supportive... and at least it happened there, rather than somewhere in the Highlands on Sunday afternoon!
Oh well, off to Scotland tomorrow... here's hoping the weather forecast for Monday is right, as it's looking better now! Ben Nevis here we come...
Friday, 18 July 2008
The weather forecast for Monday doesn't look too good - although we're well aware that the weather in the Highlands can often bear little resemblance to what's going on nearby, even on the next peak along! So we'll just have to see what we get.
Thanks to all for your support so far - we'll keep you updated as we go along.
Comment of the day: "We've all got big ones!" (Clare, on one of the local radio interviews...)
Thursday, 10 July 2008
We’ve decided to introduce a blog to enable easier updating while we’re on the Four Peaks Challenge this summer - it may prove easier than trying to update our own web site directly, and gives people the chance to leave comments too!
If you’ve happened across this by accident, and don’t know anything about the Extreme Cellists, take a look at www.extremecello.com to discover more…
And if you see any press articles or any other media stories about us over the course of the tour, please let us know about them by posting a comment. We've found that when on tour, it's quite easy to miss these, but it's nice to know about them anyway!