In the last few months, I have become infatuated, maybe even obsessed, with the idea of walking across Scotland – either on my own or hopefully, if accepted, in the TGO (The Great Outdoors) Challenge. This annual event in May organizes a two-week crossing of the Scottish Highlands for around 300 folks. They keep the entrants to a mixture of about half new and half returning walkers.
I can’t pin down one reason this event has captured my interest, but realistically it is a combination of multiple factors:
- Interest in going back and hiking some of the areas I walked with my grandfather in distant memories growing up in Scotland.
- The passing of my Scottish mother last year, leaving me as the last Scottish-born member of the immediate family.
- My love for high, open country and walking in all sorts of weather.
- The descriptions of the hiking including bog and stream crossings, that I have “trained” for all my professional career slogging through all types of wetlands.
- Vague memories of towns and vacations in the highlands coming back stronger when I look at maps of Scotland.
- My enjoyment of single malt Scotch whisky and good Scottish food (especially breakfasts and pies!).
- Turning 50 in 2018 and hoping to celebrate with the walk through my birthplace in the highlands.
I’ll try to document my progress in researching, planning, applying, and (hopefully) going on the TGO Challenge from the start. There are many excellent blogs associated with the Challenge, including some from newcomers. I’ll add those to the links page as well over time as I read through more of them. I am looking forward to this journey in a way I have never felt about any other backpacking trip!