Monday, 9 January 2017


It's a brand new year! From now on I can start saying "this year I am going to walk across Scotland". It really has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

To able said walking across Scotland I have indeed made some vital preparations. First and foremost I have begged my boss to let me have three weeks of my four week summer vacation in May, despite all the happenings and general hassle at work during that time, and she has, a bit reluctantly, said yes, after I promised to update our company Instagram with awesome Scottish scenery a lot.

Vacation time secured, I could then get to the pesky tasks of bookings. After having spent considerable time browsing the internets for cheap flights, and giving kudos to the profession of travel agents that I have not deployed to the task, I finally managed to book reasonably priced (194 euros including the hold luggage) flights to and from Edinburgh. Local logistics at this end will require me to first take a taxi (30 euros prebooked) to the bus station at an ungodly hour, then a 2-hour bus ride (27 euros) to the airport (train would be quicker and cheaper, but also more unreliable), followed by a flight to Edinburgh via London Heathrow. After finally landing on Scottish terrain for the first time in my life, I will spend one and a half days and two nights in Edinburgh before continuing towards my Challenge starting point somewhere on the west coast. Probably Mallaig, Morar oc Lochailort. A big hand and hallelujah to that allows me to book several accommodation with a free cancellation option up to just a few days before, so I don't exactly have to be 100 % sure where I'm gonna be at which time just yet. I have also booked a bed in a hostel in Dundee for the evening of the finishing party in Montrose. Might swap that to an Airbnb room, though, since there seem to be a few attractive options in Montrose. Staying there would save me a late evening bus/train ride to Dundee.

Update: I did indeed manage to book a lovely room in Montrose via AirBNB, so party all night, party all night it is (quite possibly up to 10 p.m. after which I probably fall asleep).

Up next: route planning.  I have the big lines covered, and a bit more specifically than just "from the west coast to the east coast", now. My plan looks like this: from Mallaig/Morar/Lochailort to Stonehaven/Dunnottar castle/Inverbervie/Johnshaven/St. Cyrus. Not exactly ready to submit the route sheet to my vetter yet, am I. Well, there's still time... I'm sure there is a bunch of experienced challengers who balk at my procrastination skills, but it really isn't that simple and easy to plot a 14-day-walk through a land that might as well be "there be dragons" sort of uncharted territory.

The route shall go somewhere there. Maybe. Possibly somewhere else.

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