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Ben wins a massive fish


Ben went to Czechia for a week, because why not spend some time in the mountains. At the end of the week he joined Dan to attend the infamous Kapr event in south-west Czechia. This was the 48th time the event has been held, and all age classes receive a live carp as a prize. The event consists of two fairly low-key races (long then middle).

On Friday morning Ben and Dan travelled to Prachatice to stay in the flat where Dan lived for the first 5 years of his life. Once Dan had done enough work, he decided it was time to go and run a district, arranging for Ben to cycle and meet him at the end, thus allowing Ben to also do enough work that day. However, the road was closed so Dan returned, at which point both drove then walked up a hill instead with a tower on top which had fantastic views of the surroundings. Ben then enjoyed his first go on a full suspension mountain bike to go down, and Dan drove. We then went to a swimming pool/sauna, but Dan decided he just wanted to swim and then decided he should have bought the sauna after all because swimming gets boring after a while. We then tried to go to an Indian place for food, who brought us the menu about 20 minutes after we arrived, than after another 20 minutes came back and told us the kitchen was closed - helpful!

Saturday was Day 1 of the orienteering and the event felt remarkably British. A fairly small event, a slightly muddy grassy assembly field, raining, many people sheltering in their cars. However, it soon became more exciting when an old fashioned fire engine turned up in the car park. Ben thought this was just an runner who had purchased an antique fire engine turning up at the event because they enjoyed the attention of driving around in a fire engine, but once four fully dressed firemen got out of the vehicle it turned out that this was in fact real - the volunteer fire service had come to tend to a car whose engine was suspiciously smoking! There were no exciting explosions and by the time we got back from running the car had gone.

The white parts of the forest were very very runnable and even the green parts were acceptable. In the end Ben finished with a 3 minute lead over 2nd place, giving him a good head start towards winning a fish on Sunday. Members of Prague orienteering club, who were all dressed in slightly ridiculous costumes and were there more for the beer than the orienteering, told Dan he needed to get Ben drunk - at least 15 beers was the request - otherwise it would be an unfair competition on Sunday. Dan failed this task, but instead fed him some wild mushrooms for breakfast the next day - these also seemed to have no negative effect though. Dan didn't feel great during his race so walked quite a bit, but pushed on at the end when he realised that if he wasn't back in under 110 minutes, he'd have first start on Sunday. He saved us from an early start by 1 minute! After the race we did a short walk to an old castle, had fun sweeping leaves off a bridge, and then went back to the sauna. It turned out Ben had missed one of the four saunas available yesterday, one which was outside with a glass wall facing the mountains and a great view, which Dan described as "by view I don't mean the naked guys". After the sauna we tried the Indian place again and were much more successful.

Sunday's race was a chasing start, meaning that if you took X minutes yesterday, your start time was X minutes after base time today. So Ben was being chased down with a 3 minute gap from second place. All was going well until he missed a control out and had to go back - that was 2 minutes lost and the other minute went in small mistakes. So there was a head-to-head race to the finish, except Ben couldn't remember what his competitor looked like so wasn't sure who he was actually racing against! In the end there was 5 seconds in it, so Ben won a massive carp. It is a tradition to kiss the carp on the podium, which is quite difficult when it is slippery.

We realised we had no idea how to get from live carp to edible meal, but handily somebody at the event did the least desirable part of the process and then we just spent a long time in the evening preparing and cooking it! After the race Dan went to run the Pivkovice "beer" district from the car park, and Ben cycled about 45km to a motorway junction where Dan could pick him up on the way back to Prague.

World Cup 2022


World Cup Final

Fiona and Paul went to the World Cup Final in Switzerland representing the UK and Ireland respectively. The first race was a relay held at 1800m where it was cold and wet. Both drongos had reasonable races without anything special.

The next day was a middle, slightly lower down, and unexpectedly less cold and less wet. The terrain was tough and technical, with lots of detail everywhere and some pretty steep bits. Fiona had a 'Really disappointing race', while Paul had a 'slow' race.

The last day was a long, which we got a cablecar up to the start of, promising a nice net downhill (although the courses still had a decent amount of climb). Courses started off on steep and technical slopes, before gradually returning through the less-steep middle terrain to the finish. Fiona had 'A better race' and Paul 'couldn't cope with the terrain'. There was a cutoff at 2.5 hours, with people taking longer getting timed out, which annoyed Paul because it made him look closer to the end of the results than he really was.

In the evening the organisers put on a 'light dinner and heavy party', most of which was outside in the street because Paul's teammate's large bag of cans provided cheaper beer than the restaurant.

The next day Fiona stayed for a training camp, and Paul got 17 hours of trains to get home.

October Odyssey 2022


To celebrate the start of October, some DrongOs went to the October Odyssey orienteering near Newcastle. When a special non-linear weighting factor is applied this was the most heavily attended DrongO trip of the year.

John and Phil (DrongO(hon)) arrived by car from Edinburgh after heavy winds brought the railway to a standstill on Friday evening; Helen and Sophie (DrongO(sib)) arrived from Newcastle; Jonathan arrived from wherever he lives. Helen had also persuaded, bullied, bribed or blackmailed one of colleagues, Lizzy into attending. Uninvited by ourselves some members of JOK had also turned up.

The courses went down and up a strip of sand dunes and some concluded with a lap of the lake. There was a lot of running and not so much navigation. This suited Phil so he decided to win the course. Other factors such as no one being able to run as fast may have also played a small part.

Helen and Sophie took John to Newcastle. John got the coach back to Edinburgh because the railway is broken and the train drivers think they aren't being paid enough money. Phil went to visit his relatives, and Jonathan went back to wherever he lived.

On Sunday, just Helen went to the urban race in Morpeth. She reports that there was some nice woodland, some steps which had a poem on, and warnings of highly dangerous slippy cow-poo which might be encountered on the course. We've heard that Helen manged to avoid the excrement but was running too fast to read the poem.

Mourne Mountain Marathon 2022


As it was the third weekend of September again, it was time for DRONGO's annual trip to the closest thing to a foreign country that isn't actually one. This years MMM saw a good contingent of (10+1hon+2future) drongos descending on the Pružina house on Friday evening for prerace food and floor space. Pippa accidentally said she was arriving 45 minutes after she did, and James made the mistake of thinking he might be late, meaning they didn't get picked up by Luke at a sensible time, but instead had to come on the trip to pick up Helen at (Bedtime + 1) o'clock, finally arriving at Very Late Indeed.

On Saturday morning we all got up very early to drive down. One of the cars stopped on the way to pick up Pippa's partner Laura, who miraculously and unexpectedly was staying only 100m off the direct route. We arrived in Newcastle, went through kit check and then all waited for ages because the buses were going wrong. Apparently none of the drivers knew 1) where they had to go to or 2) how to get there. Eventually we all made it to the start at the Deer's Meadow and got out on the courses.

All the courses began with a mega cluster of 6 controls, but the only real choice was to go clockwise or anticlockwise. We started off to the west of the Road, which meant bog and tussocks for large parts, but after the cluster we crossed the Road into the drier and easier areas for some bigger routechoices and bigger climbs.

The campsite was at Silent Valley, which is a very nice sheltered lawn beneath a reservoir, perfect for comfy sleeping. Despite Paul having been asleep for the entire day, Phil managed to drag him round to finish 20 minutes ahead of James and Luke, who had lost 10 of those minutes on a silly routechoice. Helen and Heather were also 1st on the elite, with Dom&Sarah, John&Jeremy Pippa&Laura and Helen&Zuzka 6th, 7th, 9th and 25th on the B.

After everyone had tucked into their luxurious multi course meals (except for James and Luke who just ate an entire bag of couscous), it was time for bed, and we settled down for sweet dreams of big hills.

The next morning we were all serenaded to life by the traditional rendition of The Mountains of Mourne, and gradually emerged from tents into a bright new day. Pippa and Laura set off early in the hope that Laura would make it back in time for her boat from Larne, while everyone else was slightly more relaxed. Paul found that his gas ran out just as his porridge-water was boiling, proving that his choice of half-empty gas canister was perfect. Luke and James finished off the rest of their couscous, and even John and Jeremy made it out on time after a heavy night of special sauce.

Today's course featured half the controls in the first couple of k, followed by a mega cluster on the elite, and a slightly less mega routechoice for the B. Paul wasn't asleep today, allowing him and Phil to catch up with James and Luke about half way round, allowing for some nice variety in conversation.

After a few hours of nice hills we all made it back to Newcastle where there were tasty sandwiches, yellow teashirts and lots of tae. It was nice and sunny so good for sitting around watching people finish. None of the results on the elite changed from yesterday, but John&Jeremy and Dom&Sarah swapped places, and Helen&Zuzka moved up one place on the B.

The people on early flights rushed off quickly, while some of the rest of us went for a quick swim in Strangford Lough on the way home. Sarah took the bus to Belfast to get to the closest evening Mass to Comber, while everyone else had tasty dinner to refuel before the arduous boat journey the next morning.

As always the courses were nice and weather was great (it never rains in Ireland). Everyone should come to the Mournes next year.

Mini trip to Pembrokeshire


A last minute DrongO trip to to Pembrokeshire happened as Tom D announced he had two spare spaces in his car. So Ben and Zuzka joined, along with Himmy and Jason from London.

After a lot of hours of travelling during which Ben gained Tom many Waze points by reporting petrol prices, we arrived in the far west of Wales. Having correctly paid for the national trust car park, we headed off for our starts at Stackpole Warren, a brand new sand dune orienteering area, which was quite nice, but also quite brambly in places. Some people had more fun and some people had less fun, and one person even didn't get beaten by Meg Carter-Davies.

After the orienteering Tom D gradually submersed himself in the sea followed by a quick swim, and everyone else decided it was too cold for that. Then we went for a walk to see a chapel and did some clambering around rocks and caves. We also saw "Hunters leap" - a very narrow sea inlet. Luckily none of us were hunters so we didn't have to leap over it. Himmy got his feet wet whilst trying to put only his hands in the water.

In the evening we drove to a youth hostel via Aldi to buy dinner food. The hostel was Mexican themed and made Mexican food which made us slightly disappointed we'd already shopped for dinner, but pasta and sauce was good too! The Mexican theme originated because the owner was in Mexico at the time when he purchased the hostel, having been travelling around the world for about 20 years. There was a wedding happening next door and we tried to deduce the age of the couple based on the music. We don't know if we were right. Tom and Zuzka managed to have hot showers while the others failed to figure out how this was possible and made do with luke warm ones. Zuzka made two apple strudels, one with sugar and one without, which was largely irrelevant since the custard we had on top was very sweet anyway!

On Sunday morning we went for a short walk up to a ruined castle then drove into Tenby for an urban race. This exceeded expectations with the start/finish on the beach, a control in a coastal cave, contours to think about, and lots of route choice throughout the courses. In a big leap for DrongO since yesterday, both Ben and Tom were faster than Meg, finishing 1st and 2nd on men's open. It was a brilliant event but it was ruined for Tom because there was no paper left in the splits printer.

We helped to collect controls afterwards before Tom went for another swim and the others went to get lunch from a tasty bakery/pasty shop. A shivering Tom then joined us and we went to see a rock in the sea. Himmy got his foot wet again by not concentrating on the waves behind him. Zuzka, Himmy and Jason then went to the visitor centre on the rock, while Ben and Tom went to see an RNLI lifeboat and build some sandcastles/dams for the incoming tide. Some small children also helped us to build, which their parents enjoyed very much.

As the tide came in it started to encircle a massive rock, which Tom and Himmy went round by water, Jason and Zuzka by climbing, and Ben by both methods. On the way home we spent a while working out where the cheapest diesel could be bought, and then tried to break with Wetherspoon tradition by visiting a Toby Carvery instead - but the queue for that was 45 minutes, so tradition it was in the end.

London City Race 2022



It started on Friday evening with a park race around Morden Park. Everybody started quite close together but nobody ended up in a train due to some clever gaffling by the organisers where there were A and B variants of the course. Everybody had fun running around the park, nobody slipped over in front of other spectating DrongOs, and Phil probably won having done a 4-day taper. We don't know if he actually won because there don't seem to be any online results yet.

After the race those without anywhere worse to stay went to James's new flat, where we discovered one of his walls was incredibly neatly wallpapered with an OS map of the whole of the Lake District. We cooked some pasta and sauce, and then gazed at the map wall a bit more.


In the morning we rose not that early, but early enough to take a look at the map wall and have some breakfast before leaving. We recommend cinnamon bagels for all future breakfasts. We took the train into the centre and walked to assembly, where several other DrongOs also gathered. The organisers made the (in our opinion) excellent choice of not only allowing us to pre-select our own start time, but also to view the start list and subsequently modify our start time to any available slot. As such, many DrongOs started in quick succession.

Dan planned his start time to be a bit earlier with the aim of getting to the finish at about the same time as the fastest DrongOs. It turned out to be a great decision, since most people didn't quite catch him. However he also made the poor decision of running full speed into a tree branch (like a ****) very soon before the finish and came back with blood all over his face. At the hospital, a scan of Dan’s head revealed many abnormalities. As none of them were new, the doctors decided to stitch the cut closed and send him away.

Meanwhile, after visiting the somewhat plush showers at PhilS’s office, everyone else had walked a short distance across London to the pizza restaurant. Ben decided he couldn't eat an entire pizza, although PhilV said he’d finish the pizza if his family were at risk of harm. After the pizza we were all quite full and went for a walk along the south bank of the Thames.

Harriet found the collections on display at the Tate Modern most thought-provoking and promptly returned to her mobile phone. Phil told us we weren’t allowed to go to the ice-cream van because we’d get salmonella; so we went to the supermarket instead. Back at James’, after admiring the map wall, the party continued with a barbeque in the garden. When it got dark we went inside, sang along to ABBA and played orienteering themed articulate.


After Tom had told us the most cost efficient way to travel to the area, we headed off. John slipped down some steps in the tube station (like a ****) and injured his knee. The race was rather less exciting than Saturday and involved running round various rectangular streets. Fastest "DrongO" today was Phil, with James, Tom and Ben less than a minute behind. After the race we went to the Canopy Market at Kings Cross and sat on the grass to eat lunch. In the afternoon we went for a walk along the canal to Regent's Park, enjoyed some sunbathing and threw lots of sticks for Ada.

In the evening some people went to the theatre to see a dramatisation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Zuzka said it wasn’t as good as some of the big West-End musicals but to those of us who don’t live in London it seemed good. At James’ we ate veggie chilli and further ogled the map wall.


On Monday a “work-from-anywhere” party took place at James’ flat. John and James preferred to work from work and went to their respective offices. In the evening we invited ourselves to DrongO HQ and invited Matthew to cook us a meal; both of which he graciously accepted. Due to some route choice errors, Phil arrived very late. Whilst Phil's dinner was presented to a standard worthy of Michelin-star restaurants, it was a somewhat smaller portion that he normally consumes.

Burton Dassett OD Local Event


Challenge: more photos than words in report (these words don’t count). Please read the news story in the picture captions

DrongO on the Isle of Wight


In the first week of July, three DrongOs went to stay with Ben and Zuzka in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight for a work-from-home-whilst-feeling-like-you're-on-holiday week. There might have been two more DrongOs, but Miranda was busy exchanging her dining room table for the third time, and Jeremy was busy with an unspecified boring but necessary task. It was pretty much sunny for the entire week with no rain at all!

On the first Saturday we set out for a walk to Ventnor and went to some sort of summer fayre, during which we guessed musicals based on a single letter from their logo, listened to some live music and of course ate ice cream. We then moved on to have lunch in a cafe right at the water's edge. We walked back by a different route - the major event on the way back was an actual size brontosaurus-shaped labarinth pained on the ground. It would have been wrong not to have a race to the middle. Harriet initially thought it was wrong, bit then realised she was a DrongO after all and took part. So each person was carefully timed with the following results:
Tom 68.12s
Ben 68.65s
Richard 80.21s
Zuzka 84.00s
Harriet 88.82s

Sunday was quite a packed day, starting by driving to the Needles. Ben and Tom got out just outside Newport and ran the full length of the fantastic 21km long ridge leading from there to the needles. Richard and Zuzka did a slightly shorter loop along the clifftops from the needles car park, and Harriet also went for a short run before going on a boat trip to see the needles up close. Once we were all back and hungry we went back down to the beach for a picnic and swim, whilst hoping that the kids next to us climbing on the unstable cliffs wouldn't die. In the evening we went down to the seafront to play an 18-hole dinosaur-themed crazy golf course, which was led by Tom for a long time before he got tired/hungry and started missing, leading to a win by Richard. We then walked a short way to the Steamer Inn and ate some tasty pub food there. Tom went swimming whilst we were waiting for food and just made it back before his food was cold. Ben forgot to order Zuzka's meal but fortunately the kitchen were nice and made it anyway even though they'd already closed.

On Monday the DrongO offices were set up and were very successful. Zuzka, Harriet and Richard went for a morning run along the waterfront to Sandown pier and back. Harriet had decided that work from home week was better used by taking holiday, so she went off cycling along the red squirrel trail, starting with an excellent cafe breakfast. After work we went to play the second 18-hole crazy golf course which was pirate themed. This one seemed more difficult/more imaginatively built than the dinosaur one. Harriet championed this one and never took more than 3 shots to get the ball in, proving that cycling 40km is better for your concentration than relaxing in a chair all day. Here are the overall scores for the two-day tournament:


We then wanted to have fish and chips but it was about 19:45 and the seafront chippy was already closed! We found another one on Google which closed at 8 so by a combination of running home and Ben jumping on a bike while Richard caught up by running all the way, we got our order in in time and Harriet got her battered sausage which she was very excited about.

On Tuesday Harriet went ti the beach and hired a deck chair to lounge on, whilst the DrongO office did their day of work. After work Ben and Tom went for a mildly nettly run and then we all had a barbecue on the beach for dinner!

On Wednesday Richard, Tom and Ben took most of the afternoon off and along with Harriet went stand up paddleboarding. It started well, but by the time everyone had fallen in at least once, less dry games were available such as can you balance on one leg, can you do a tuck jump, and can you swap boards. After this we went to Godshill to see the model village, which involved various Isle of Wight locations fairly accurately modelled, usually at 1:10 scale. One such location was Godshill itself, meaning that the model village needed to be included in the model. This recursive modelling greatly appealed to us, and appeared to last for about 5 levels before getting too small. Harriet then went home, Ben and Tom did a bit more work, and in the evening we drove to St. Catherine's point for a walk and sunset view. Zuzka went searching for a toilet spot at some point, but came back having discovered an excellent tree for climbing.

On Thursday it was Tom's last day so Ben and Tom had an extended lunchtime walking along the beach to a hidden cave, followed by another swim. In the evening Tom then went home and Ben and Zuzka went dancing then met Richard for an Indian dinner.

On Friday Ben and Richard joined DrongO circuits at 7.20am, while Zuzka went back to sleep. There was then the final day of work, and in the evening Richard cooked a chilli-like dish, then we went out for a short walk and played some games.

Saturday was the last full day, and it started with everybody running the "horseshoe" - the second best ridge run on the island. In the afternoon we went to Tapnell Farm water park which involved lots of inflatable fun. This was followed by a last minute plan for another barbecue, so we bought the stuff and walked down to a fairly secluded beach, staying there until the sun was almost set when we headed home to pack for an early departure tomorrow.

On Sunday everybody left the island in Richard's car to go to London to see Titanic live at the Royal Albert Hall. It was a film screening but with the soundtrack performed by a live orchestra. Ben S had organised this and dedicatedly travelled down from Edinburgh for it!

Saunders MM 2022


One DrongO team, several part-DrongO teams and one part-honarary-DrongO team competed in the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon - which this year started in Eskdale. Pippa was running with younger brother Dom; and John with Bowland-runner James. Phil was running with big-dog AliT; and Elizabeth was also in a team.

The overnight camp was located in some fields on the shores of Waswater and near Wasdale Head. At the end of day 1 most of the DrongO teams were in 2nd place; Phil/Ali by 25 minutes, John/James by 50 minutes, and Pippa/Dom by 7.5 minutes.

Dom cooked Pippa an impressive five-course dinner which included a soup course, sausage and gravy casserole, dessert and hot chocolate. Dom doesn't believe in dehydrated ready-meals and had been to his fine-dining wholesaler of choice Aldi to acquire meal ingredients for the princely sum of £1.29. Pippa was very disappointed the following morning when breakfast consisted solely of porridge.

The second day started with some heavier rain showers. Kirkfell course headed anticlockwise round Waswater whilst the other courses went clockwise back to the finish, exploring some terrain on the flanks of Scafell. Phil and Ali put in more effort, and moved up into first place. John/James remained in second although managed to complete day2 in a similar time to the winning team. Dom/Pippa also remained in second place, but were first mixed pair.

Great running by all teams consisting of a (hon)-DrongO member - hopefully even more DrongO teams next year!

James celebrates being 5 years off being an M35 with a trip to the Lakes


To celebrate James Hoad's 21st birthday, DRONGOs James, Natalie, John O and Jeremy, Honorary DRONGO Phil V, and unregistered DRONGOs Jess, Paddy, Becca and Bowers headed to the Lakes for the Buttermere fell race.

On Friday, everyone based in London met promptly at James' house at 8:30. Jeremy definitely didn't think the pickup time was 12hrs later, and therefore didn't need to be picked up from the M40 instead, as this would have been very stupid. Other things that didn't happen on the journey include:
• James missing the turning and having to pay to use the M6 Toll
• James having lots of fun with car in "envigorising" mode on the M40 and the M6
• This and the bikes on the roof meant James's car could play a fun game of which would come first: the car arriving at James's selected petrol station, or the car running out of petrol. Jeremy and Paddy wondered what would happen if petrol station was closed, which Jess didn't find very funny. Thanks to drafting behind a caravan at 50mph for the last motorway section, over the 325 mile journey the petrol station won by 8 miles.

Once we had arrived at the YHA with no drama whatsoever, the Londoners decided to make use of the sunlight to go for a run and swim. James declared the run to be 4km, so complaints will be written to the multiple GPS watch manufacturers who's gadgets said the run was 8km.

John and Bowers arrived suspiciously just as dinner had been cooked. Unfortunately personal alcohol is banned in YHAs, so many trips were needed to James' room to top up coffee mugs with 'latte'. Some very red looking tea was also 'brewed' in a teapot.

At Jess's recommendation, pudding started strongly with some Cartmel's sticky toffee pudding. It then went quickly downhill with some Eton Tidy, which Jeremy had entirely deliberately dropped on the floor to make Eton Mess. This was bottomed out with some very dense Booths own brand Cheesecake.By this point John and Jeremy had had enough 'latte' to decide that late night dip in Buttermere lake was needed. Unfortunately they managed to choose a spot with a stonebank, and had to walk a long way out to get deep enough to swim.

Just as Jeremy was going to bed, Phil arrived, which was fortunate for Phil as Jeremy could show him where his bed was. Less fortunate was Becca, who's unregistered DRONGO "friends" had failed to tell her the room number. After wandering the corridors and trying to call people with no phone signal, she decided to sleep in the lounge with a camper who's tent had blown away and had smelly feet.

Saturday was James' big day, so he was presented with a card made out of an old Amazon parcel, his broken Garmin charger and some shoe tape that he'd left in Finland. Jess also gave him a “Birthday Boy” badge so everyone at the race would know he was a big birthday boy.

Once James had sufficiently enjoyed his gifts, we drove to the start of the Buttermere fellrace. Whilst getting out of the car, James's bum bag didn't like the sound of 35km with 2500m climb, so promptly split open just before race start. As it was his birthday, he was quickly rescued by John's spare after only a small amount of laughing at him.

The race started with a difficult to hear cheer for James' birthday, followed by a mumble that we should probably go. Phil missed the start because he was in the portaloo like an idiot. Fortunately he was able to catch up by the first hill. Unfortunately his map remained at the start, because he is an idiot.

More used to boring starts as a road runner, Paddy showed true pace from the start and ran off the front. The top fell runners were somewhat confused as to who the weird man dressed in pink was. Unfortunately the go-faster pink wasn't fast enough on the descents for Paddy to hold off all the fell runners, so he had to settle for 2nd on the 21km "short course". John O came in next for a very lonely 3rd, 10 mins behind Paddy and 5 mins ahead of 4th. Becca, Jeremy and Jess all followed in with the pack, happy to have completed the course with relatively little incident.

On the long, Phil was first DRONGO back in 8th having been mostly successful at guessing where the course went until the end where he went to the carpark before the finish to let a couple of people past right at the end. James and Bowers both managed top 20 finishes, with James looking sufficiently worn out on his 21st

Thankfully, this being a Lake District Fell race, James and all the DRONGOs were soon revived by the smorgasbord of pies, cake and brews served at the finish by the friendliest volunteers ever, and included in the £8 entry fee(!) Jess was particularly proud to be affectionately referred to by the locals as "duck".

After some swimming, the party headed to a pub. Then it headed to another pub because the first one wasn’t big enough for 9 of us. This was good though because the barman at the second pub turned out to be fellow orienteer and lakes local Spenny. This meant:
• Informed food recommendations based on portion size
• Permission to eat Pam’s cake
• Provided with birthday candles for aforementioned cake
• Free drinks for following the pub on Insta (or Facebook if you’re a Grandad who doesn’t have Insta)

Bowers drank a pint very fast and then went to challenge a hen party to a boat race, but ended up just giving them free cake. James looked tired after his big race so was fed Jagerbombs to revive him. Somehow this turned into everyone drinking Jagerbombs, which is appropriate as it was a 21st. Because we had such a good time, we left a nice tripadvisor review. Hopefully Spenny gets promoted because of it.

The next morning it was raining, and some legs hurt, so the DRONGOs drove to Honistor Pass for a shorter low level walk. Upon arrival, Phil was first to discover the car park was £5/car, which seemed outrageous. He therefore spent £10 in petrol driving between other car parks (which also charged £5/car) unsuccessfully trying to find somewhere cheaper to park.

The key feature of the walk was the rain - in the words of the world's best runner:

"We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin' rain... and big ol' fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath." At the end of the short walk, it was still raining and everyone was now cold and wet, so we headed to a cafe to warm up. However the cafe wasn’t very warm and the butties advertised as being served on “Artisan rolls” were actually served on white hovis loaf. After everyone had enjoyed a hot chocolate (or other hot brown liquid), it was still raining so we drove into Kewsick to another cafe. This time less brown liquid but more brown food was ordered. Jeremy was quite full so ordered a side of chips, but this backfired when the plate was bigger than the mains.

At this point it was still raining, just not as heavily, so John, Natalie and Jeremy headed back to Lancaster where Natalie discovered the Ockenden snake. Phil went for a run on his own because nobody else wanted to come with him, possibly because it had lots of climb, or possibly because he has bad chat. Everyone else went back to Borrowdale YHA where James couldn’t hack the spice level of Bowers’ curry and didn’t finish it because he clearly isn’t a spicy boi.

Keen for a warm up cycle, Bowers did a double Honister pass climb to go back to previous YHA when he remembered he had left some of his stuff there. Other exciting athletic achievements included a spectacular black ball pot by Jess despite still having multiple balls still to pot on the table. Becca performed an elaborate stretching routine to provide a moving obstacle for the pool and table tennis players. James & Jess sat in the cold river by the hostel and drank beers - this has been proved to be 110% more effective for recovery than elaborate stretching routines.

On Monday morning Natalie left early for a train back to London to do things to rats. John and Jeremy had an excellent work from Lancaster party, featuring lots of tea, meetings and yawning.

Whilst serious amounts of work happened in Lancaster, more fun people continued their weekend with a "gentle" cycle around the Lakes. Whilst the author wasn't present apparently this included James being repeatedly dropped by Bowers & Paddy on every hill (which seems unkind to do to the birthday boy) and being rained on on every descent.

Luckily lots more DrongOs will probably be turning 21 soon so we will have excuses to go on more fun trips!