Saturday, 11 January 2014

Just a bit of fun... Big Dave vs Frodo Baggins

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
For those of you that didn’t already know... “One does not simply walk into Mordor!”
That being said... actually... that’s what the whole Lord of the Rings series can be boiled down to... a bloody long walk!
If you have long walks on the brain that is... which clearly at Big Dave’s Little Stroll we do! J

So we thought we’d indulge our inner fantasy nerd and compare the walking exploits of our favourite furry footed adventurer... and Frodo Baggins of Bag End.

The Contenders

Frodo Baggins
Approx. 4ft
Big Dave Redmond
Approx. 6ft

The Walk


According to Karen Wynn Fonstad, author of The Atlas of Middle Earth, Frodo travelled 458 miles from Bag End to Rivendell (where the Elves live), another 462 miles with the Fellowship of the Ring from Rivendell to Lothlorien (the forest realm of the Elves),  then 389 miles through Moria in a boat (!) down the Anduin until they reached Rauros Falls and lastly 470 miles on foot to Mount Doom with Sam.

Total Miles:  1,779 miles
Time taken:  184 days

Pros:    Has a big group of armed companions with him for a third of the way; has the use of a frickin’ boat for 389 miles and horses at various points along the way; has his best friend (minimum) with him as a companion the entire journey; has in his possession enough elven bread to see him to Mount Doom (seriously light but fills you up – think of his pack weight advantages; lastly, but most importantly, there is no mention of midges anywhere in the book.

Cons:   Okay so there is the fact that Sauron, Saruman, Golem, the Nazgul, Shelob, Balrog... some of his own companions... basically everybody and his mum seem to be actively trying to do this guy in; he’s not wearing any boots bless him (although that may actually be a bonus); he’s got an evil ring hanging about his neck, weighing him down and sapping his life away from him... other than that he kushdy.

Big Dave:
Big Dave will travel alone, on foot, and according to Mapometer and the good people at OS maps, will travel through the mountain regions of the Scottish Highlands, along the Great Glen and across the border regions of Scotland. He will then turn south and climb the Pennines snaking his way down the backbone of England. From there he strikes out for Wales where he will traverse the phenomenal Offa’s Dyke before crossing the great River Severn. Still trudging ever further south he will wind his way through the hills and gorges of southern England, striking out once more across three different mores before clinging to the rugged Cornish coastline until he reaches the Lands End.

How do you like them apples Middle Earth?

Total Miles:  1,127.5 miles
Time taken:  Expected to be 50 days

Pros:    No one is attempting to kill Big Dave (as far as he’s aware); his journey isn’t going to end with a fiery pit at Mount Doom but hopefully with a smooth pint at the First and Last pub in Lands End; Great Britain is beautiful and happily holds no significant threat of mauling by wildlife (although conceivably a badger, startled by the site of a bearded rambler, could give him a nasty nip... also see previous posting about Beast of Bodmin, Loch Ness monster etc.)

Cons:   Big Dave isn’t going to be jumping into a boat for 389 miles or riding the occasional horse... in fact he’s prohibited from doing anything other than walking or wading – definitely no transport; he’s also unlikely to be resting up with elvish folk for a few days here and there; elvish bread doesn’t exist; he’ll need to deal with blisters; calf and thigh strains, cramps, and horrifically outdoor toilets (by which we mean trees/holes in the ground not Reading style chemical toilets with a queue back as far as the beer tent); and finally he’ll be on his own and unsupported (although to be fair if Big Dave had to put up with Samwise Gamgee’s bleary eyed pleading 24/7 they’re be no guarantee that the ring would be the only thing left at Mount Doom).

The Verdict:
Well, if you take off the approximate miles that Frodo spent using boats and horses, then the route lengths are pretty similar – Frodo probably can claim to have done another 150 miles further than Big Dave – but they’ve both gone further than Bilbo ever did (967 miles... pah! Wimp!).
Frodo takes nearly four times as long as Big Dave expects to take, however he is a good 2ft shorter
Frodo also managed to get a fair bit of assistance along the way, he didn’t carry all his own kit and he received magical remedies and grub... BUT... to be fair Big Dave won’t have to deal with orcs, goblins, crazed wizards and a freaky schizophrenic wild house-elf with an unhealthy love for yellow gold jewellery... on the other hand... Big Dave is in fact real... and so will his blisters be!
When you factor in that the future of an entire world isn’t resting on the success or otherwise of the chunky Dunstablian... then Frodo probably edges it... just. J
If he were real, our advice to Mr Baggins would be that he may want to cut back on his pipe-smoking, put up his oversized hair-covered plates of meat and donate a few quid to Big Dave’s Little Stroll.

Can you spare a few quid in support of the MS Society, Macmillan Cancer Support and Help for Heroes?

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