Kids back at school…adventure plans are underway! In just under 2 weeks I am going to be doing the first 4 sections of the Southern Upland Way, Scotland’s 215 mile coast-to-coast path. I will begin at Portpatrick on the west coast and finish up over a hundred miles away in Sanquhar. I have never been so excited about an impending adventure or holiday ever.
So, the question is: How do you prepare for a one hundred mile hike? I have spent hours reading and re-reading books and blogs about the SUW, the best I have found so far is: https://ramblingman.org.uk/walks/southernuplandway/ – although it is 8 years old now so I’m guessing some parts might be a bit different (especially around the forestry plantation areas). But reading other people’s experiences of the trail is really helping me get a better idea of what I’m about to embark on!
As far as equipment planning goes…well, I have thus far bought 6 pairs of good walking socks (I spent a rather ridiculous length of time reading reviews of socks on Amazon, which did make me start to wonder what had become of my life), and then I spent ages deliberating over either a 85 litre or a 50 litre backpack, before deciding to travel super-light and go for a 35 litre. My quandary now is that I can’t decide whether to: a) take a 1-man tent b) just take a tarp and ground sheet and build bivouacs in the forests, or c) not take any cover and aim to reach points in the evenings with bothys or B&Bs. There are pros and cons to all options but I need to make my mind up soon – if anyone has any advice, please leave a comment!
My aim is to complete this half of the trail in the same length of time as it took the winning female, Rosie Bell, to complete the entire 215 mile trail at last week’s Great Britain Ultra Run…which means I have just under 80 hours to do it. This self-imposed time frame poses two problems: firstly, it will be bloody tough, and secondly I am worried that I won’t have enough time to properly enjoy some of the beauty spots along the way. I am also aware that there are a number of Covenanter graves and places with Covenanting connections along the route so I’m quite certain I will get side tracked by all this which may delay me. But, due to B&B and family stuff I can’t be gone for more than three nights so really I have no choice other than to do it in under 80 hours. I’m quite sure I will be questioning this daft decision many times along the way!
But I really am very, very excited.