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Introduction

 

This is an account of a Scottish coast-to coast-trek, from Mallaig in the west to Montrose on the east, that I completed in May 2006. I was taking part in The Great Outdoors Challenge along with three hundred or so other walkers. The Challenge is neither a race nor a competition. Walkers chose their point of departure from six or so, authorised, starting points, plan their own routes and have two weeks in which to complete their un-supported walk. TGO Challenge Control keeps an eye on progress, advises of changing weather conditions and offers constant encouragement while never getting in the way of an independent walk.

If you are thinking about taking part in the Challenge I hope you find this journal useful. This was my first coast-to-coast Challenge and I've tried to honestly represent not only the terrain but the emotions that were experienced along the way. Advice and guidance is always on hand from those who have completed ten, even twenty or so, crossings. But as a first timer I'm conscious of the things that I didn't know when I started walking and I hope I can help with your own first time preparation.

I have also catalogued my preparation on my blog and this archive can be found at:

http://www.andyhowell.eu/trek-blog/

There also added some post-crossing thoughts which may also help.

If you have no intention of doing the Challenge, but are interested in walking in Scotland, then I hope you'll find it as equally useful. And for those of you many miles from Scotland and the UK, I just hope you find this entertaining!

Andy Howell
June 2006.