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Conquering Mount Ashey
to win the
Grand Island Snowball Fight

At exactly 10.50 this morning, Wednesday 6th January 2010, Revenge of the Lawn became the first Island band to conquer the treacherous East Face of Mount Ashey and plant a flag at the summit.

They had been planning the expedition to climb the so-called "unclimbable" East Face of Mount Ashey for well over half an hour, but had not taken into account the driving blizzards that they eventually encountered at the top.

"We knew we could expect hostile conditions at the top, but the team were unprepared for the blistering weather chaos that they found at the summit," said the band's Planning Officer. "We were lucky we didn't need to use the oxygen tanks, but the team were otherwise fully kitted out".

At the top of Mount Ashey, the team sprung into action to fulfill the second objective: to win the Grand Island Snowball Fight. Only three other teams actually made it up there: outfits funded and equipped by B & Q, Albany Prison and Wightlink.

Preparation is crucial in an expedition of this magnitude.
Revenge of the Lawn expedition check their equipment.

The team vehicle took them as far as it dared - Tescos.
Here the team are setting out to walk to Mount Ashey.

The roads were totally unpassable
and the thick slush can easily been seen here on the main road to Sandown.

The team took small country lanes to reach Mount Ashey.
That way they were more likely to avoid ambush.

The first glorious sight of Mount Ashey from many miles off.
One member of the band even shed a tear.

Bastard Team B & Q leap out from behind a hedge and ambush us as we near the foothills of Mount Ashey.
We forgot they had John "Goliath-Arm" Pearson, whose abnormally strong biceps meant that he could wield a deadly 18 kilo snowball with one arm. It certainly made our 2 kilo balls look pathetic. We ran.

At the foot of Mount Ashey, the blizzard started. Having run away from Team B & Q,
the team eventually stopped crying and got on with a kit check.
Here they are about to start their attempt on the East Face.

Half way up, and the blizzard continues to worsen. The radio was next to useless so we couldn't radio base-camp. Turning back meant walking into the face of a snarling blizzard and certain hypothermia, so the only way out of it was up.

Even the legendary bulls of Mount Ashey are surprised to see humans in that blizzard, and, fearing our plucky intrepidity, they decide not to gore us but to beat a hasty retreat up the mountain.

Visibilty is down to twenty yards. Navigation is difficult. The team captain lost the map hours ago when blizzard gusts ripped the guts out of our team and the map from his hands. He couldn't read it anyway, so it didn't matter. "Just keep walking with the wind" is his mock-confident answer. "It's blowing west". This was the really treacherous steep bit, where many a previous expedition had turned back. We did slip a few times, but by cunning walking in each others footsteps, we passed this unconquerable slope ... and we didn't even have to use the rope once.

Soon the whinging started and it took all our team leader's courageous encouragement to stop us curling up in the snow to die. And then ...

... out of the near murky skyline emerged the erect grandeur that is Mount Ashey Seamark. How we cheered, firing snowballs in the air in delight.

At 15.00 precisely, the snowball contest started. The only other three teams to make it up there were Team Wightlink, Team Albany Prison and Team B & Q. This laughable trio of mountaineering light-weights came up the laughably infantile west face after driving up there in 4 x 4s.

The first fight ended in a quick victory for Team B & Q, who snow-ploughed through Team Albany Prison. Here John "Goliath-Arm" Pearson hurls the fatal snowball at a cowering mass murderer from Team Albany Prison.

Team Wightlink bring down the winning 10 kilo "Old Testament Judgement" snowball down on the fragile back of Team Albany prison, which snapped like a twig.

However, outright winners were Revenge of the Lawn, who took out all three teams, physically as well as on points. The team gained big points for combatting in the nude. However, with no clothes on, Revenge of the Lawn were noticeably more nimble, agile and quick. There was also room for molesting opponents with a thrust or two of the immediate parts, although this is normally strictly forbidden in Grand Contests.

The final was between Team Wightlink and Revenge of the Lawn. Here, Musician (BA Jazz Hons.), wielding a 3 kilo ball, looms over a fallen Wightlink player, who pleads for mercy. It's a serious and deadly game, with no room for sentimentality, so Musician [see inset picture] rises up on his two hind legs to reveal his genital splendour and then brings the snowball crashing down on the other player's shamefully bowed head. It's what his opponent would have wanted.

The contest is brought to a close with a snowboarding demonstration by the B & Q Symmetry Snowboarding Display Team.

Team Revenge of the Lawn leave the summit by the west face ...

... and bid a welcome farewell to Mount Ashey summit.

Looking down the west side of Mount Ashey, where Team Albany Prison have broken down and haven't yet sussed that we put sugar in their petrol tank.

We quickly head off back to Ryde, past some alarming skid marks,
made by the team monocycle of Team Wightlink.

A last look back at Mount Ashey, pleased to be off her wild, inhospitable summit ridges but content in the knowledge that we, Revenge of the Lawn, had tamed her, the flirty, little minx.

And so the team head off, back along country lanes to a victory celebration in Ryde as 2010 Grand Island Snowball winners, but missing one team member. Musician remained running around naked up on Mount Ashey for another six hours.


Team Revenge of the Lawn were severely reprimanded by their manager, when it was discovered in a Team debriefing that they had forgotten to plant the flag on the summit of Mount Ashey. As a consequence, the team was ordered up onto the slopes of the mountain a day later to finish off properly what they had started on Wednesday.

And so the team set off again, along the ridge of Mount Brading.
Snow can be seen drifting across still in the strong winds.

Ashey Seamark on the summit of the mountain in clear conditions [
compare with earlier blizzard picture].

The flag is planted and the mountain is rightfully claimed in the name of Revenge of the Lawn.
The trumpet froze to the lips of the player, so we hummed the fanfare. It was a touching and moving moment.