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Monday, 28 May 2012

The 2012 Challenge: Getting to Lochailort (1)

I was on strike over the government's proposals to abolish my pension on Thursday 10 May, and this gave me a chance to go into London and make all the arrangements to deposit a suit, some kit and some provisions at a storage place just round the corner from King's Cross. I'd be needing the suit on Wednesday 16th, when I was due to return from the Challenge on the overnight Sleeper to attend my union AGM. I would then leave my laundry behind in store, pick up the fresh kit, and resupply with the provisions before taking the sleeper back to Scotland and continuing with my Challenge.

That sorted, I returned home and organised my rucksack, leaving it to the last minute to compress the down sleeping bag. I had ANOTHER new rucksack this year - a 66 litre pack which would force me to minimise unnecessary clobber - or so I thought!!! It still came to nearly 17 kilos when fully loaded. However, I wasn't too concerned about this. With fewer laundry and resupply opportunities this year, I needed to carry more clothes and food. Next year, all being well, I should be able to get below the magic 15 kilo figure.

Thursday 11 May began with an early alarm (5.15, no less!) and my long-suffering wife drove me to Milton Keynes Central to catch the 6.22 to Glasgow. A wonderful train, this, if a little uncivilised in its hour of departure. The photograph shows it arriving bang on time.

It was raining when we arrived in Glasgow. I had a couple of hours to kill, so I bought myself some lunch bits to eat on the next train, then found an outdoor shop where I stocked up on necessary supplies which I had been unable to find anywhere in London (in particular, boot wax and Kendal mint cake). Then it was on to Glasgow Queen Street for the afternoon train to Fort William and Mallaig.

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