First there was the Ben Nevis Challenge, then there was the twin Munros of Driesh and Mayar before finally the tortuous Lairig Ghru.
This year, in addition to this stroll in the park hehe, I did the Dundee Kilt Walk (25 miles in aid of Andy's Man Club (a male suicide prevention charity - https://dundeekiltwalk2019.everydayhero.com/uk/i-must-be-mad-to-do-this-4)). I will need to find another long walk to make up the 65 miles for charity I intend to do this year.
Seriously though, Macmillan Nurses are a fantastic charity. Most families, sooner or later, are affected by cancer and Macmillan Nurses are there to provide the support you need when you need it.
At 65 years old, I arrived, along with 2,500 others, at the starting gate to do this 26 mile walk in Scottish weather. In the space of a text message, the excitement and anticipation gave way to a great disappointment as the event was cancelled due to the atrocious weather. The culmination of the previous two to three weeks of rain was torrential rain lasting a full 24 hours.
Strathyre was flooded as was a number of camp sites. All of the Macmillan Nurses pit stops and medical centres were flooded. Toilet and food facilities were flooded and, on parts of this walk, landslides are a possibility. The final nail in the coffin was when the emergency services said that they may not be able to reach hikers if they found themselves in difficulty.
The rational side of me totally understands the decision to cancel the event but the emotional side remains gutted. Even the small groups of intrepid hikers who strode out alone without support turned back after five miles - the weather was that bad. Macmillan Nurses, because of the damage done to the equipment and short timescales cannot stage the event later this year.
You can only deal with the cards that life deals you so it is always wise to have a Plan B to hand. I have chatted with a mate (Kris, a professional dog hiker) who has agreed to come along as witness to ensure that I now walk 28 miles to cover Jock's Road from Glen Doll to Braemar and back. Jock's Road is a walk designated as "Hard" and the ascents as "Strenuous"; to do it twice, a return trip, well, let's just say it isn't going to be easy. I am just finalising the date which will be the end of September / beginning of October.
Thanks for everyone who has / will donate to this brilliant cause, I pray that you never need their services.