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Shap Ahoy Challenge Diary - UK, France & Spain

This is an account of Nick Capron and Tim Lovatt's journey from Cumbria to the Gambia during the 2006 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. It is based on notes taken along the way, their photos and their memories. This page covers their journey from Cumbria, through France and Spain. Use the links at the top of the page to see other parts of their story, or to return to the Shap Ahoy Summary Page.

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Sat 17 Dec Cumbria to Beauvais (France)
Sun 18 Dec Beauvais to near Toulouse
Mon 19 Dec Toulouse to Murcia (Spain)
Tue 20 Dec Murcia to Sotogrande via Granada
Wed 21 Dec At Sotogrande, too windy for ferry, trip to Ronda
Thurs 22 Dec At Sotogrande, waiting for good weather and ferry

Day 1 - Sat 17th Dec (Starting mileage 93,845km)

At 7.30am,Tim, Arlene, Nick & Jenny meet up at Westmorland Services on the M6 for a fry-up breakfast and send-off. Tim's sister Ruth & husband John also came to wave 'bon voyage'.

Leave Services just before 9am with a full tank of petrol and 2 loaves of frozen corned beef sandwiches.
Uneventful journey to Dover. Some time spent sorting, positioning & testing various gadgets, of which Nick seems to think there are an alarming number of. Tim checks contents of Nick's music collection & considers consequences of 'losing' Meatloaf CD.

At 4.30pm we leave Dover for Boulogne, France. Spot a couple of other Challenge vehicles, 'Team Pullin' Power' (huge Toyota 4WD), and 'Air Freshener' (Mitsubishi Gallant).

On leaving the ferry, we meet up with Bret & Sanjay (team Air Freshener), they decide to follow us out of the port & travel down through France with us. After about 400 yards we manage to loose Bret & Sanjay. To meet up again in southern Spain! We make it as far as Beauvais for an overnight stop.

After removing our bags from the car we both agree we've got too much stuff.

 


Day 2 - Sun 18th Dec


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Last night was Tim's first experience of Nick's 'interesting' snoring patterns.

Mile munching (or kilometre killing if you prefer metric), right through to the south of France via Paris. Tim entertains French motorists by using flash of digital camera in tunnels through Paris to imitate a speed camera! This accompanied by the horn on the car causes much amusement.

Into the sun all the way. Lots of road tolls on the Peage.

Lisa and Richard (friends of Tim's) put us up for the night in their 'Chateau', Castillon Massas just west of Toulouse.

Thanks to Lisa, Richard and Jasper for their hospitality.


Day 3 - Mon 19th Dec (95,450km)


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Frosty start to the day, heading east past Toulouse and then south down the coast, passing the Pyrenees, through border and into Spain. More road tolls.

Turn the heater down to 'half' setting while passing Barcelona (11C). The frozen corned beef sandwiches prepared by Nick run out at this point!

Pull in at Murcia for our overnight stop. Hotel walls are covered in Bulls heads and photos of Matadors. Nick concerned about (lack of) 'movements'. Rough 'Brandy' consumed after evening meal.


Day 4 - Tues 20th Dec (96,559km)
 

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 Destination today is Sotogrande, near Gibraltar.

Wash car and take a diversion via Granada to visit the Alhambra Palace. Spend the afternoon there, very impressive sights & history, good 'audio tour'. Nick disposes of some of his clothes, notably the ones he's worn since leaving home.

 

 


Day 5 - Wed 21st Dec (97,121km)


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Staying at hotel Las Camelias, Sotogrande, uninspiring but functional. Buy some fruit & wine.

Very windy, hear that all ferry crossings to Africa are cancelled. Decide to head off inland and north into the mountains and spend a few hours looking around Ronda. Unfortunately the famous Bull Ring closes for visitors as we arrive at 1pm, but there was an up side to this. We met Elvis!__. well actually just a very poor impersonator, posing with a cassette player from which emanated 'I can't help falling in love with you'. How Bizarre!

   

Tim buys stick-on Velcro strips to secure gadgets on dashboard, which is also used to stop Nicks extra strong mints from rolling around the Toyota interior.

See many challenge vehicles arrive at hotel for rendezvous. Meet up with Air Freshener again who by this time have had the rear of their car re-arranged in a Spanish 'Coming together'.

Day 6 - Thurs 22nd Dec (97,310km)

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Still very windy, sea wall nearby has huge waves breaking across it. No ferries.

Drove down to Algeciras & port for a look. Hung around hotel meeting others from group 1, watched many people repairing & 'tinkering' with their cars. Felt a bit left out so Tim decided to adjust headlights, which, due to our load, were doing a good job of lighting up the sky.

Group briefing in evening.

   

   

More Team Shap Ahoy Information

Plymouth-Banjul Challenge 2006 website gives a great deal of interesting information about the Challenge, and there is a Shap Ahoy Team Page on this website, and an archive of SMS messages sent during the Challenge.

The 2005/6 Challenge Page gives more information about other teams who took part in the Plymouth-Banjul 2006 and Amsterdam-Dakar 2005 Challenges, and the Saloum Nursery Page tells more about how Shap Ahoy and Pageant are helping Saloum Nursery in The Gambia.

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Shap Ahoy Summary

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