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Monday, 18 January 2010

The 2006 Challenge: Introduction

The 2006 Challenge saw me planning my most ambitious crossing yet. I was fitter than I had been in previous years, having been spending a lot of time at the ice rink doing some serious training. Good, non-impact, leg-muscle building work which gave me a good cardio-vascular workout at the same time. Just what I needed to get me into excellent shape for a punishing Challenge.

The planning posed some interesting problems, too. I wanted to start from a good, northerly start point, and I chose Strathcarron. But this is not a straightforward start point to use, if you want to keep your options open for subsequent crossings. Stray too far north, and you foul the lines you'll want to use when starting at Torridon. Stray too for south, however, and you get into country that you ought really to be saving for a Plockton start. Balancing the two posed more than a few interesting questions; but I reckoned that I had found the answers, and so I travelled north with eager expectation of a truly memorable crossing.

I took the Inverness sleeper from Euston, and the afternoon train on the Kyle line. The scenery was spectacular, but I could scarcely see any of it. The cloud base was low and it rained incessantly. I scuttled from Strathcarron station to the hotel, and installed myself in the bar for an evening meal and a few drinks. And then, the following day, I would walk ...

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