I didn’t notice at the time, but it seems like all the trips so far this year had just been building up to this… and it didn’t disappoint!
In the few days before the trip, the climate in Manchester had slowly been making the shift from arctic tundra to a place where it was almost vaguely acceptable to go outside in a t-shirt. Although not great for river levels, the sunshine certainly added to the growing excitement for the annual MUCC foray across the border into Scotland.
When the morning of the trip finally came around, I spent the majority of it going over the plans to make sure I hadn’t missed anything whilst I packed my usual mountain of kit, including roughly 6million sets of spare river shoes (I should probably donate some of those to Oxfam). I then set off to Manchester Van Hire (via McDonald’s, where I discovered the Creme Egg McFlurries had returned, in one short second altering the landscape of my food plan for the week completely) to meet Nick and Lewis.
I arrived a little late at Man Van to find Lewis stood outside, but no sign of Nick (who was bringing the purchase orders so we could actually pick up the vehicles). The guys at Man Van showed us around the Ford Galaxy and the Van (which was a fair bit smaller than expected) and then we sat down inside to wait for Nick. After a little while, the kind people at Man Van told us we could just take the van and then Nick could give them the purchase orders and take the car when he finally turned up.
So Lewis and I set off for Brookbank to pick up our newly repaired splits (and take another broken pair to be fixed, we don’t have much luck with them…). On the way, Lewis managed to get in touch with Nick, and we found out he’d somehow gotten lost and/or got caught in a time warp (his explanation was so vague that we still don’t know which) somewhere between his lab and Man Van. A few minutes later, we heard from Nick again, this time telling us he’d lost the purchase orders as well as his sense of direction on the same journey. We instructed him to try and find them and if that failed, to go and ask Janet in the AU Office to print out some more and then head to stores once he had managed to finally pick up the car.
In the midst of all this disorganisation, Lewis and I had arrived at Brookbank, so we made the splits exchange and headed straight back to Manchester and to stores. On the way we got a call from the rest of the group who were now there and waiting, but strangely hadn’t seen any sign of Nick yet. He still hadn’t turned up by the time we arrived at stores (even though we’d also been to mine to pick up the rest of my kit), so we just got on with packing the van. Even when we’d packed everything he still hadn’t arrived, so we decided we were going to walk to Scotland… luckily he rounded the corner in the car just as we reached the end of the road up to stores.