We’ve done it!
Over the weekend we completed the West Highland Way Challenge for Breast Cancer Now*. It encompassed all those elements of Scotland that we love – breathtaking scenery, weather aplenty, chat and camaraderie, hearty food and a fair few swallies. It was a fantastic experience and we – me, Grace and Blonde Eleanor – are feeling rather gallus about our achievements.
We set off on Saturday to walk 14 miles from the King’s House Hotel at the entrance to Glencoe, over Rannoch Moor, through to Glen Orchy, with our small team arriving first at Bridge of Orchy. It will come us no surprise to anyone, that I ordered the first post-walk drinks at the bar.
On Sunday, we departed from Bridge of Orchy to walk down to Tyndrum where we lunched outside The Green Welly, before walking to Crianlarich. It was a very pleasant walk with stunning views.
Now, just so we’re clear, I’m not saying it was a piece of cake (although there was plenty of that, thanks to Eleanor’s fundraising bake-off). It was quite a trachle at times. It rained all day Saturday, there were pesky midges aplenty and there were many steep bits – leaving us with many stiff bits.
Additionally, each of us had our own personal handicaps to overcome. Grace had sore feet and had to bind them with moleskin compresses. As the weekend progressed her feet got progressively sairer and she had to call upon the first aid skills of our guide Douglas, who expertly bound them with gaffer tape. (Cue smutty innuendos to Fifty Shades of Grey and foot fetishes). Blonde Eleanor was not chuffed with the rain and midges and 30 mins into the Challenge announced she would NEVER be doing this again. Later on she admitted that she had actually enjoyed it – apart from the walking. I still can’t carry anything on my back, so while everyone else was lugging food, water, waterproofs, lotions, potions etc., I had extreme rucksack envy.
Also, we were a group of over 40 women traipsing many miles through Scotland’s wilderness. Ponder on that for a moment. There were issues – which were helpfully flagged up by chief guide Gideon at our briefing on Friday night. We would have to consider our toileting along the way and this became Quite An Important Topic throughout the weekend. No one wanted to be caught ‘doing a Paula Radcliffe’ and while there were a few conveniences along the way, some of us have become adept at docking leaf detection.
All these challenges added to the whole experience which was in parts awesome, humbling, frustrating, inspiring and bloody good fun. As a group, we’re on target to become the biggest fundraising trek in the charity’s history, which we are immensely proud of and proves the deep generosity of the Scottish spirit.
So what next for me? For the next 24 hours there’s going to be a lot of stretching of limbs – the right arm for the remote, the left reaching for my wine glass and both legs stretched out on the sofa. After that, the maps will be out again and I’ll be back to logging the miles and blogging about my experiences.
If you would like to donate please visit http://www.justgiving.com/Wendy-Smith2015/
For more information on The Challenge visit http://www.breakthrough.org.uk/support-us/find-event/west-highland-way-challenge
*Breast Cancer Now is the new charity formed following the amalgamation of Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Care