Anyway, to get to the Shetlands teams have to take a ferry from Aberdeen Scotland. And to get to Aberdeen they have to catch a train from Oxford. So all the teams, no matter what time they leave the pitstop, are waiting at the train station for the early morning train. Except for the Cyclists, Kym and Ali. Instead of hanging at a boring station in the middle of Oxford, they go in search and find a pub. That's exactly the kind of thing Gord and I would do. I mean why be on a race around the world and wait at a train station for six hours when you could do something interesting? An English Pub would be a great thing, spend a bit of the race money on a couple of pints, meet some folks (who might even spot you another pint) and have a good time. Because of this, the Cyclists are now my favourite team.
And on another note, one of the firefighters takes a fall on the way to the station, turns his ankle and has a massive bruise. He's limping pretty hard so it doesn't look good for them. Even so, it hasn't looked good for these guys since the beginning. Despite being tough firefighters, they've struggled.
So the teams head to the Shetlands Islands and after some searching and driving around getting useless clues, they finally hit a Detour: Pony Up or Light My Fire. Really? That's what you're going to call them. Can't even think of a clever rhyme or anything else. Oh well. In Pony Up, teams must dig out 50 cakes of peat, loads them onto a Shetland Pony and then have the pony carry them up to a farm. In Light My Fire, teams have to build a viking torch according to very specific specifications and then light it on the dock with a bunch of Vikings. This reminds me of a literary festival I attended in Vancouver. I was doing an event with three Scottish crime writers, including the famous Ian Rankin. When I first the writers in the green room, I mentioned my family came from the Shetland Islands so I was sort of Scottish too. Rankin turned to me and growled, "You're not Scottish, you're a bloody Viking."
Anyway, Gord and I would always shy away from a task with animals so we would have picked Light My Fire. But even though Pony Up seemed more physically demanding and the ponies were sometimes rambunctious, all the teams that did that task were done before everyone who chose the torch one. That's because the Viking judges were tough buggers and you had to do each of the three steps of the tasks exactly. But in the end, most teams get it done and set things ablaze. Save for the Wrestlers. These guys may be extremely outgoing and kinda fun, but they aren't the brightest. They have no idea how to bend a nail. No idea. And like the Firefighters, the Wrestlers may also be physical but they've also struggled.
Anyway, once all the teams get the Detour done it's off to the Berry Farm where they have to herd a herd of sheep between three rows of fences and then into a corral. Only then can they move onto the pitstop. All the teams struggle in some way with the task cause, you know, animals. They don't always do what you want them to do. But it's the Dentists who get done first and win the leg. They're a bit smug and cocky, especially Jim but it's early. Something may happen to knock the smugness away from him. The Surfers are second followed by the Nashville and the rest of the teams. Along with the Cyclists, I'm also liking the Sweet Scientists. They are unassuming but smart.
And we are left with the Firefighters and the College Sweethearts Tim and Te Jay. The big boys get the task done first, despite Keith's bad leg but instead of getting a typical clue, all teams are given a silver piece of treasure and told to go where it was found. The Firefighters head to a bar to get info and think maybe they should go to the foundry where the thing was made. So the barflies send them to a foundry in the wrong direction. And this mistake allows Tim and Te Jay to get to the mat before them. And in the end, the Firefighters are out. And it has little to do with the injury; these guys have had trouble from the beginning, misreading clues, doing tasks wrong, getting lost. It was only a matter of time before they were gone.
Next week, or on Friday, Copenhagen. Nice place, another great location for beer.