Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The March to the Boyne

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. 

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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. 

We arrive in Meath - Du Gormand adopts a cunning disguise and blends in seamlessly with the locals

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. 

French infantry 

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."

Further "owies."

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.


  1. Conrad Kinch,

    You both deserve a pat on the back for undertaking this journey for such a good cause.

    Well done ... and I hope that you both recover as quickly as possible.

    All the best.


    1. We're fine. Gorman, the mad swine, went to work the following day.

    2. Respect gentlemen, a toast to you both.

  2. Hi CK,

    A splendid and worthy effort and I hope the blisters abate swiftly.

    Very well done to both of you,

    All the best,


  3. God bless both of you gentlemen.

  4. My dear Kinch:

    Heartfelt congratulations to you and General DeGourmand on an epic and creative achievement. Very proud of you chaps. Bravo zulu to you both.
    Be proud of those blisters.

  5. Well done sirs.

    Milk the owies for all that they are worth.


  6. I salute both of you gentlemen for an enterprise well undertaken and completed.

    -- Jeff

  7. Well done both of you. An heroic deed.

  8. You've gott'a watch those fridges...especially after the witching hour.

    And a fine sum raised, not easy this sponsorship lark, two fine men - I doff cap...but watch those fridges!

  9. An epic journey and a noble cause. Well done the both of you.

  10. A virtual toast from across the Irish channel to you both and money given to the fund.

  11. Congrats on a brilliant effort, well worth the blisters, wish i could have joined you (in support car), will buy you and General Gorman a few bevvies when i come over next Friday and will certainly make a few bids at the auction
    cheers Old John

  12. Hi, I've never thought that on a wargame blog, I will be shocked with photo of ill toes! :-)
    I salut your great marching!

  13. Thank you all for the kind congratulations

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  15. Well done lads - you've done us (wargamers, Irishmen, humans...) proud.
    You deserve a pint of something after your efforts (blood probably!)

  16. Congratulations Gentlemen - style in Adversity!

  17. What an excellent post! A great achievement for two chaps who do not appear to be natural athletes, and a wonderful cause, the last photo brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations, I bet that bottle of Port went down a treat :-)


  18. Nicely done guys - I'll raise a glass in your honour this evening....

  19. Well done there, that was a hard slog and just looking at the sweat on your T-shirt showsthe effort


  20. Congratulations on this feat (feet!). What a clever idea to march to a battlefield and play a portable game for charity and write it up and illustrate in such a great way. Thank you for your endeavour and for entertaining your followers so well.

  21. Splendid and honourable job gents.

  22. Guys, I just have to commend you on that Sterling effort. Well done and good luck with the charity.

  23. Epic! It would all have been much less impressive without the Wargame at the end.

  24. A fine and noble effort, sirs, for which a heartfelt commendation is due. Good on you, mate!

  25. I've gotten my own blisters for Temple Street over the years. I'm looking forward to playing your C&C game at Gaelcon if possible this year, but if I don't grab you there come find me at the Battletech table at some point and we'll discuss this further.

  26. A most noble venture - every blessing to you - Gentlemen both

  27. A fine tale well told and with a heart-wrenching twist at the end!

    Well done.

  28. A fine tale, beautifully related and with a heart-wrenching twist at the end.

    Well done.