The Mystery of the Missing Multipla
|Date: 9th June 2004
Submitted by: Pete Smith
Have you ever lost your car keys? You put them down in a safe place and then just can't remember where they are? Well spare a thought for poor Peter Cooper who put his Fiat Multipla somewhere safe (!) and then searched a whole mountain before finding it again. He said he knew exactly where it was on the map, but the map was in the car and the car was... well.... somewhere safe.
The Colmciller trip to Crockanaffrin started off in a rather unpromising manner when a sunny, breezy day gave way to a sudden rainstorm just as we left Derry. Alan Tees and I met Donna Ryan at Bridgend and the rain was bouncing 6 inches off the road. With typical optimism we spotted a bit of blue sky to the west and set off. On arrival, the rain had abated, but the nice breeze in Derry had disappeared and the midges soon found us in the sultry conditions they love. We changed quickly and walked for 20 minutes or so to reach the crag.
Peter Cooper was already there, having left Derry at 4pm. He was parked somewhere else. Donna quickly claimed Alan as her climbing partner for the night and Peter took me to the "Upper Crag" where he had spotted a couple of new routes begging their first ascent.
We managed to get a short hard severe climbed (I suggest the name should be the same as the title of this report) before the rain came back. Alan, by this time, had bolted to meet his brother who was over from Scotland for a few days; so Donna, Peter and I stood under a shelter stone debating the likelihood of getting any further climbing. Eventually, we agreed that the routes would be too wet even if the rain did stop, so we packed up and headed for the car...Donna's car.
This is where the mystery starts. Why, you may ask, did Peter come to Donna's car? For some reason, they hatched a cunning plan between them: Peter would come with us and then Donna would drop him at his car before we all met Alan and his brother (and their respective wives) in a pub in Rathmelton.
We arrived at Donna's car with water dripping off us and our feet squelching in our boots. "I'm glad I'm not going out into that again," I said, as I threw myself into the car, chased by 10 million midges. Little did I know.
So then started the search for the missing Multipla. We sought it high, and we sought it higher. We sought it low, left, right, east and west, but never that motor did we espy. "I don't recognise these roads," said Peter. "I'm running out of diesel," said Donna.
After 20 minutes of searching, Peter hit on a brainwave. He decided that he could find his car if Donna left him where her car had been parked. He would walk back towards the crag and then, on recognising the lie of the land, he would, unfalteringly, retrace his steps till he came to his car. But he had no moby and no torch, so I went with him, after changing back into my wet clothes. Donna was to drive to Rathmullan and meet us there, but she was getting worried about petrol and her lack of means to pay for it.
Credit where it's due, Peter did lead us directly to his car. I suppose it was about a mile away over a wet hill, and he decided that my paunch needed reducing, so he ran. Once again I fought off the midges as I changed back into my almost-dry clothes, then we drove to Rathmullan to meet Donna.
Meanwhile, in Rathmullan, Donna had become so worried about her diesel situation that she stopped a staggering alcoholic, who was having difficulty preventing his stout from spilling in the road, and asked him for directions to a petrol station. He informed her, majestically, that he was Lord Mayor of Rathmullan and hopped aboard the jeep. He directed her to a closed petrol station, and between the two of them they managed to sweet-talk the owner into opening a pump and lending Donna 20 Euros of diesel until such time as she is in funds and back in the locality.
Donna then gratefully thanked her new pal, Slim Jim (the Lord Mayor), and offered him a lift home, which he accepted. Unfortunately, he felt that more gratitude was his due, and attempted to kiss Donna goodnight before inviting her in for coffee - an offer she politely declined (she says).
When Peter and I arrived, Donna alighted to meet us, only to be accosted by Slim Jim again. He had thought better of retiring for the night and had, instead, decided to weave his way back down the road to renew his budding friendship with Donna. He was still clutching a dangerously swaying glass of stout, and asked us 37 times if everything was alright now.
Not surprisingly, Alan and his party were not in the bar in Rathmelton by the time we arrived, so we had a pint and drove home.
All this for one 15 foot route!