So, the Challenge is the TGO Challenge, to walk across Scotland, West Coast to East Coast, in a specified fortnight in May each year.
I happened upon this completely by accident and was intrigued. The more I investigated, the more fascinated and obsessed I became. Now, I've got to do it.
There are currently a choice of 12 starting points, between Ardrishaig and Torridon. I have decided to register in Mallaig. You can finish anywhere on the East Coast between Fraserburgh and Arbroath, but ultimately have to report to Montrose.
I used Memory Map and my vague knowledge of some footpaths, General Wade's military roads and the like and came up with a route that I could work on and improve, Mallaig, ferry to Inverie, Sourlies, Glendessary, Kinbreak, Tomdoun, Invergarry, Culhachy House, Corrieyairack Pass, Laggan, Kingussie, Cairngorm Footbrige, Lairig Ghru, Braemar, Lochcallater Lodge, Jock's Road, Clova, Tarfside, Edzell, North Water Bridge, St Cyrus. Roughly 180 miles.
I found numerous blogs about this and have found quite a few 'first timers' who have done this or a very similar route, so this has given me confidence in my planning so far.
I'm now onto kit and have researched, found, compared and ordered our new technical sleeping bags and a self-inflating mat for David. I already have one!
I'm also making a huge effort to get back into walking regularly and will build up distance gradually. I've allowed myself 20 months to plan this, so can take my time! I walk too fast naturally, which on my regular walks is fine, but it just means I will allow a slower speed in my planning and rely on the weight of my pack to slow me down.
Did I mention I have to carry all my own kit, I'm not allowed to get someone to take it ahead for me in a car? Oddly enough, I'm not devious enough for that to have crossed my mind.
Ofcourse, as there are a limited amount of places available and a pulling out of the hat way of picking participants, my first hurdle will actually be to get picked! However, I want to be ready should the time come, so I will continue with the preparation.
Anyway, I shall keep you posted as to how I go on. If you're interested, drop by from time to time!