In 2019 I walked across Scotland under the aegis of the Great Outdoor Challenge. This year I hope to repeat that feat. Last time I was talked into it my my friend Colin. This time he decided to give it a miss, but I will not be alone. I am being joined by friends Ron Duffy, a fellow hiker and sailor from here in Ontario, and superman Peter Goodwin from England (he runs, and not just for the bus, which at our age definitely makes him a superman).
The route I have designed is similar my previous crossing, in that it starts at the same place, Shiel Bridge, and goes via Braemar and Tarfside, but it has less track and road walking, and more ridge walking, ie it’s a bit more challenging, but should get us to some great areas, legs, heart and weather permitting.
I fly to Glasgow May 3rd. Stay in Ayr visiting Colin and my niece Sophie for a few days, and making last minute arrangements (buying uk SIM card, mailing resupply packages, buying camping gaz, etc.) before making my way to Shiel Bridge by train and bus to start hiking on Tuesday May 10th.
One thing that is very different this time is my body. Last time I was. Apart from a slightly annoying right knee, pretty fit. This time I am relying on cortisol injections in both knees and my back to make walking at least feasible. In fact those injections are bloody marvellous, but the don’t come with a time guarantee, so I have to hope their good effects don’t wear off too quickly.
My other problem is Atrail fibrillation which I developed late last year. By its self it is one thing, but the medicines I am recommended to take to stop it killing me is another. Blood thinners, drugs to reduce my blood pressure and to stop my heart going too fast, mean that my work rate is much reduced. Way slower going up hills, and I have some big ones to get up. The first day will be the test. If I can get through that day then things should be ok. Keeping my fingers crossed.