Archive for April, 2010


Never mind training – I need a packing spreadsheet…

April 4, 2010

Up until now, all of my Caledonian Challenge related fears have been to do with the actual walking.  I have worried about my fitness level, about footwear and how best to combat blisters, about managing to walk in the dark without falling over… This evening I met with my team mates and, over chai lattes, we began to worry about the logistics.  It began with a discussion about the type of vehicle we should take (minibus or people carrier and, if we go for the people carrier, will we also need a trailer…?) and then we began to talk about packing.

Now, the Challenge is split into five sections by four checkpoints.  At three of these checkpoints our support team will meet us and feed us.  They will give us clean socks and snacks and anything else we might need for the next stage of the journey (e.g. head torches for the sections walked in darkness).  And herein lies the logistical complication – how will we ensure that we can get what we need for each section easily with minimal hunting around?  The answer seems to be that we all pack multiple bags – one for the start, one for each checkpoint and one for the end.

My poor brain can’t cope with packing.  I can’t do it without a list.  But this requires more than a simple list.  When I went to Africa I had a packing spreadsheet.  It was colour coded and had sub sections.  I was mocked… but I didn’t forget anything.  I feel another packing spreadsheet is needed for the Caledonian Challenge.  This one will have a master list broken down into sub-lists for each checkpoint.  I will once again colour code, I may even use hyperlinks… It will be an organisational masterpiece.  And then I’ll get back to training…


The Lammermuir Snow Dunes

April 2, 2010

Today, I began the four day weekend by heading into the hills.  It was a beautiful day, sunny enough that I now have some freckles I don’t remember seeing this morning.  Thus far, Scotland has been kind to me weather-wise.  Whenever I go walking, the sun does its best to shine and the rain falls somewhere else.  Long may this continue.

Today’s walk should have been a fairly gentle stroll up to the summit of Lammer Law and then back down via the Hopes Reservoir.  But, as you may be aware, it has snowed a bit in the last couple of days.  Snow makes walking a bit tricky.  Snow is unpredicatable, one minute supporting you, the next letting you plummet straight through it so that you suddenly find yourself thigh deep in the stuff.  It made things a little more challenging than anticipated.  One thing it made easier, though, was traversing fences and gates – you can just step over them:

Up atop the hills strong winds had obviously been blowing, producing patterns in the snow that reminded me of sand dunes:

Woe and alas that I forgot my camera.  I could have happily snapped away for some time up there.  As it was, I had only the capacity to capture a feeble image or two on my phone.

It’s hard to believe that this is Easter weekend.  That this is a time to be revelling in spring and new life.  But it is.  And here are some slightly out of focus lambkins to prove it:

I don’t think they liked the snow.  They were complaining loudly about it to anyone who happened to be close enough to hear them.  I don’t blame them, poor poppets.  If I hadn’t been wearing waterproof boots, I wouldn’t have liked it either.

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