When I first discovered the TGO Challenge, I had every intention of planning and completing the Challenge by myself. It didn't occur to me that David would be interested, I thought I'd just have to persuade him to let me go off and adventure whilst he stayed home to work and look after the children. After all, I've looked after them by myself for weeks on end at times, it must be his turn!
I was surprised and delighted when he said he'd like to come along too, so then I assumed I would have to wait a few years until either Rhiannon was old enough and willing to look after Conall, (they have a very good relationship, so no concerns there) or wait a few years more until he was old enough to look after himself. Just think how much planning and preparation I could have done in that time? I was therefore very surprised again to find that my mum was willing to give up her time to look after the children this year, so that we could do the Challenge together sooner. Obviously, this plan was scuppered. And mum has expressed concerns at being able to 'cope with the catering', having had a practice run when we didn't do the Challenge in May. (Bearing in mind, all the main meals were frozen in foil trays with instructions...)
To add to the dilema, David is back to his studying next year, and really won't be able to afford nearly three weeks off in May for this, then two weeks in July for our trip to Orkney (all booked, by the way, yey!), not to mention all the training required.
So, what to do?
Well, the answer is, I'm back to planning my first solo Challenge. I feel more nervous than I did originally, simply because in the meantime I've got used to the idea of David being with me and relying on his knowledge and experience. Or at the very least his cool and calm exterior and strength to carry on when I've fallen asleep in a corner somewhere, as is my wont.
To allow for my inexperience and to lessen the strain, I've adapted my original route to allow for perhaps shorter days and slightly less climb. For instance, I think I'll give Lochnagar a miss. It's the edges thing again, I'm not going to attempt a hill with even the slightest hint of edges on my own! There's still a bit of navigation required, but not enough to give me nightmares, and I don't think I'll ever truely be on my own on this route anyway, so I'll be able to make like a sheep, bah.
This could make for a very 'sociable' first time route. Not a bad thing, me thinks.