Andrew’s Solo Tour de Trigs Adventure!

For many years Andrew Fairbairn, MD at White Commercial has set himself physical challenges to promote and/or raise money for charities.  This year, his challenge was programmed for August/September but had to be postponed due to the pandemic.  Instead, Andrew has just undertaken what he suspects is a first – a solo (save for 11 miles when Diddy Hansford kindly accompanied him), completion of a Tour de Trigs route.

For those of you who are not conversant with the Tour, it is a 24-hour, 50-mile orienteering challenge in teams of three which takes place annually over the first full weekend of December.  Weather conditions and limited daylight hours make it a serious challenge and each year a significant proportion of competitors do not finish.  For those that do, it is very satisfying.  For those that don’t, it is unfinished business to return to when better prepared!

Andrew hopes that completing the Tour will help to keep its high profile ready for December 2021. It is a well-organised competition which has been running since the 1960’s, details can be found on www.tourdetrigs.org.uk.  It was originally started by members of the Scout Association and many youngsters have taken part and is an interesting and distinctive addition to their CV.  It demonstrates an ability to work as a team, an impressive capacity for physical and mental stamina as well as an ability to learn and implement technical skills in testing conditions. However, people of all ages take part. So, whatever your age, put it in your diary for December 2021, encourage friends and family to take part and use it as a medium to help yourself and perhaps others (charitable fundraising). But whatever you do, make sure your boots are in a better condition than Andrews (photographed at the top of Crouch Hill)!

Andrew is hopeful that his efforts will also demonstrate that even in these Covid-affected times, people of all ages can get out there and enjoy themselves safely with activities that improve their health. The first recollection Andrew has of a pop single was ‘She Loves You’ by the Beatles.  Born in 1957 and aged 63, Andrew is now in his 64th year so his current theme tune for challenges is ‘When I’m 64’.

Andrew is dedicating this ‘first’ to two people who died earlier this year.  First his father who reached the ripe old age of 91 and who I could not have wished for a more supportive, understanding and loving Dad.  He was a source of great inspiration and introduced Andrew to the mountains.  Secondly, to a great friend, Steve Websdale, who Andrew first met at the age of 11 at secondary school.  Andrew kept in contact, completed the Tour de Trigs and the West Highland Way together, was best man at his wedding and was a great and fun character.

After his retirement, Andrew’s Dad carried out voluntary work for over a quarter of a century for Katharine House Hospice www.khh.org.uk, for whom his Mum was also for a period the chaplain and Andrew’s wife Marilyn is now a volunteer.  Steve volunteered for the Samaritans www.samaritans.org. Andrew is a trustee of the Banbury Sunshine Centre https://sunshinecentre.org which provides critical help to the local community. These charities are particularly apposite given the issues arising from Covid. Whilst Andrew is not seeking to raise money for charity from this challenge, if you feel that you can help any of these charities or indeed any other charity of your choice that is in some way involved in helping those suffering in some way from the pandemic, then that would be greatly appreciated.  This year has been difficult for so many people.

Andrew’s original 2020 challenge is now in the diary for August/September 2021. Having soloed Helvellyn via Striding and Swirral Edges in a white-out and Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis in recent years, it will be his most severe self-examination to date to accept calculated risks as he continues to push his boundaries, but this time in an alpine setting. Watch this space!

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