Week 20

Imagine spending a whole week on the top of Ben Nevis and you’ll get an idea of how the peacocks have passed the last seven days! They’ve walked through terrain that has steadily risen and have just passed through the city of Erzincan, which is around  1,200 metres, or 3,900 ft,  above sea level. The summit of Ben Nevis  is 1,345 metres or 4,413 ft so you’re more or less on the top of Britain’s highest peak! 

The Pontic Mountains, Turkey

But don’t imagine you’re on top of the world just yet – if you look to the north you’re gazing at the Pontic Mountains, which reach heights of nearly 4,00 metres, and if you look to the south  you’re very close to Akbaba Tepesi, at 3,400 metres – so be glad you’re going through a valley and not over the tops!! Unsurprisingly, it’s a region of Turkey famous for it’s beauty spots, and one of the most visited is the Girlevik Waterfall, close to where you’re stopping for the night. It’s the image at the top of our diary for this week.

We don’t hear too much about Turkey in our news normally, but sadly, it does hit the headlines because of earthquakes, and Erzincan was the centre of a terrible earthquake in 1992. It’s not had a major earthquake since then but amazingly it’s had 1 earthquake in the past 30 days and 16 in the past year. So, dear peacocks, please don’t hang about too long…

The yo-yo journey that our wee monkeys and snow leopards entertain us with each week goes on as usual, with the wee monkeys dropping behind a bit this week after doing quite a leap-frog last week. But there’s nothing in it, really, with the snow leopards only 17 miles ahead. Given that both teams are nearly 2,500 miles into the journey that’s pretty remarkable!

Lake Abant, Bolu

They find themselves either side of the market town of Bolu tonight, somewhere we know already, being the place where Niamh reached her 1000 mile mark. Bolu, like Erzincan, is quite high up in the hills – 742 metres above sea level, so hopefully cooler than other parts of Europe at the moment. As with most mountainous areas, beauty is the main attraction, and for Bolu, it’s Lake Abant that steals the show. If our teams prefer to stay in town it seems the main thing to do is… eat! The web lists many restaurants for Bolu! But there are of course wonderful mosques to visit, such as Sarachane Mosque, and there are the  historic Orta Hamam Turkish Baths, as well as the town museum.

Ultravox, with Midge Ure in the exact shirt and tie I used to wear…!

In Austria, meanwhile, the tigers have now reached Vienna, a city full of wonderful places to visit and things to do. The high culture of Vienna is plain to see and that’s what I should be highlighting in this diary. Sorry, though, I’m going to lower the tone now, and amazingly, link our tigers to Vienna by way of the fabulous Ultravox! Ultravox, as anyone of my generation knows, recorded ‘Vienna‘ – in reality a poem but also a powerful song that had a great video (if you like that sort of thing) – take a look! And read this from The Guardian about how Vienna came to be written. But did you know, the band Ultravox started life as the band Tiger Lily…! Those tigers…! They get into everything! 

Saifidin of the 1000 Mile Club!

Going back to Bolu for a moment, we’ve already mentioned that it’s where Niamh clocked up 1000 miles. Well, would you believe it’s also where Saifidin will achieve the same great feat of entering our 1000 mile club! To be honest, though, I hesitated whether to feature it this week or next week. You see, technically, he’s not reached 1000 miles yet. But take a look at this…! A half a mile to go…!! That’s a stroll to the end of the street and back! So Saifidin, CONGRATULATIONS!! Maybe Amir and Najma can be persuaded to tell us some stories in WhatsApp? Or you yourself of course, Saifidin – tell us about some of your long walks and  runs.

So there we are, the end of week 20 and another great marker reached. This week our teams completed 351 miles in total and we added £25 to the fundraising. Well done to all our teams and have  great week ahead.