This weekend saw my second walk of the year (shocking really!) to start the preparations for this year's TGO Challenge walk across Scotland. Being a sociable sort of chap I thought it would be nice to invite a few more Challengers over for a spot of lunch before girding up our loins and heading out into the wild flatlands of Cambridgeshire.
So Lord Elpus, Miss Whiplash, Farnborough & Bottisham assembled in good spirits to empty a few nice bottles and then nip round to the Oli Cromwell for a well-deserved halfway pint. The weather was clean and bright with a soft cold wind over the river meadows.
A good start to the campaign. Lord E tells me that he is well on the way now into his thirteenth stone and so I have asked Miss Whippy to carry on carbo-loading his meals so that I stand a chance of keeping up with his racehorse-like physique across Scotland. He has been out twice a week for months now, notching up nearly twenty miles a week! My old racing-snake figure has slithered away leaving a bit fat iguana in its place, all coiled around my midrift. Still - I am still shy of twelve stone so I am not in too bad a shape.
Our Challenge route was essentially finished a couple of weeks ago, after a few deliberations, and Phil has now tweaked it and laid it out on the electronic vellum to send off to the vetters. Its a little masterpiece, with lonely bealachs and a fine ridge-walk or two with a few Munro's popped in for good measure. We also have a few FWA'a pencilled in (in our case, 'fine' weather alternatives rather than 'foul') that will knock off a few more mountains. It's a southerly route that still manages to take in Braemar and Stan & Bill's.
Even in it's most basic shape it comes out at just shy of 200 miles across Scotland, with an average of 2000 feet of ascent a day - so reasonably do-able to this ageing pair of flat-landers. There are a few big hill days in there in new terrain for both of us, so we are really looking forward to it. There are eleven possible nights of camping, some of it remote: It should be a blast!
It's great having finished it. We can sit back & relax now and await the vetter's mauling!
When all the routes are officially 'in' to the vetters I will publish the possible venues of the Cheese & Wine parties.