We set out from a secret location - deep in inner-city Dublin at approximately 0530
It was most definitely not the pub.
For those of you who haven't been paying attention, General Du Gourmand and I put aside our deadly rivalry for once and pledged to walk to the site of the Battle of the Boyne for the Kathryn Casey Memorial Fund.
We also promised to adapt our favourite game of Command & Colours: Napoleonics to the Lace Wars and write a Battle of the Boyne scenario. We definitely did not do this while drunk and we certainly knew exactly how far it was.
Thanks to the Irish Games Association and those generous folks at Gaelcon, we raised €3,000 in sponsorship and then set to training.
Unfortunately, a tumble from my bike two days before D-Day in July knocked us off schedule. My doctor told me that trying to cover thirty miles or so on a bruised femur would end poorly for all concerned and in retrospect, she was absolutely right.
So we only actually got around to the walk on the 21.10.2012.
You can learn a little bit more about the Kathryn Casey Memorial Fund, you can read about it (or donate) here.
On our trip we passed through many strange places.
Notice this picture that Capability Savage has cunningly photo shopped
Neither General Du Gourmand or I would be so grossly irresponsible as to walk along the verge of a Motorway for several miles due to a screw-up in route planning. Take note chaps of how Capability Savage has carefully edited out all our high visibility safety gear. I hope this has been a lesson to you all.
Both Du Gormand and I are metropolitan creatures through and through, the street lighting in the country leaves a lot to be desired. We also became aware that they have yet discovered the footpath in Meath, which meant that we spent a significant portion of our walk dodging into ditches to avoid passing cars.
A spot of celtic mist at dawn
We arrive in Ashbourne and meet up with Dad who was our driver for the day,
checking the route ahead and carrying extra water. We tossed our kit in the car and set out in search of a fried breakfast. We were about eleven miles in at this stage, a third of the way.
Locals who communicated via strange inscriptions
Meath is inhabited by strange and terrifying beasts.
Many of whom took an instant dislike to Du Gormand. I later realised that
this is probably because he has eaten so many of them.
I got Du Gormand a great discount on a wooden overcoat - fortunately he was able to return it. We were about 23 miles in at that stage.
All down hill from here - we liked this stretch of road as it was
comparatively easy to jump out of the way of cars
Only a few miles to go...
Battered, footsore and utterly cream crackered, we arrive at the Boyne Visitor Centre at about half five in the evening. We promptly leave again as we have to play a game and we weren't sure if they'd lock us in our not.
Just before the battle - Du Gormand took the Jacobites
while I mounted a white horse to play William III
Note, due to a logistical issue, only two types of cheese were available for the cheese board. Damn poor show really. For those of you who might be interested, we played this game using miniatures on a C&C Napoleonics board. These figures were painted by Old John of 20Mil Nostalgic Revival and Krisztian Takacs. Old John also supplied some of the figures and I recommend getting in touch with him if you'd be interested in getting some.
These figures, there are about a hundred of them, are fully painted and will be offered for sale at the award winning Gaelcon Charity Auction, which will be at the D2 Hotel in Dublin next weekend. Gaelcon is organised by the Irish Gaming Association without whose generous assistance this would not have been possible.
You can see more pictures of the figures here.
I ponder the board, while Du Gourmand launches a dastardly attack. The battle was to six points and though I took an early lead, he managed to get his Jacobite cavalry across the Boyne.
Those damn Jacobite cavalry!
Sadly, those damned horsemen managed to roll up my left flank and though I punished him severely, routing several crack French regiments and wiping out all the Irish infantry on the right, the horsemen took the sixth point and we finished the game 6-5. A close battle and hard fought. Well done to General Du Gourmand!
Once the battle was done, we packed up and Dad transported us back home. We arrived back to discover that Mrs Kinch has laid on a surprise party for us and all our friends were lying in wait to clap us on the back. Fortunately we brought some souvenirs to show them...
This I believe is what is known to the medical profession as an "owie."
Soaking our feet, with good company and a glass of the medicinal close at hand - splendid!
Ed, Aoife & Kathryn
As you may have gathered neither Gorman or I are particularly good at taking life seriously nor are we men to whom exercise is a pleasure. The walk was long, hard and at times, both nerve wracking and painful.
But, the pain of a parent who has lost a child passes all understanding. It is difficult to bear for those of us on the periphery of that tragedy and who know that though she is gone from us, she is somewhere better. Though Ed & Aoife have that same consolation, I do not know how their hearts bear it.
Kathryn may not have lived to take her first steps, but I think for a little while at least, when we were blistered and bleeding, sore and sick at heart, she walked with us.
We couldn't have done it without her.