It’s that time of year again, the dog-end of the walking calendar – the wet, windy, grey and ‘orrible trough that sits between the halcyon days of summer and the wonderful biting, frosty days of winter. It’s the time of year that my thoughts turn to the long distance path I want to walk next year. It seems also that I’m not the only one. October is the month that sees the TGO Magazine release the entry forms for next year’s TGO Challenge – a non-competitive walk from the west coast to the east coast of Scotland – undertaken by about 300 people each May.
The blogosphere is currently alive with walkers publishing their planning and route thoughts. It makes for great reading and at some point in the future I’m going to apply and try and have a crack at the event. For the time-being however I’m happy to read the blogs of others and listen to the accounts of last years walk from Bob and Andy.
My thoughts about next year’s walk have been unfocussed and adrift – this year’s Pennine Way was absolutely stunning – a truly great experience and one that was going to be hard to follow, but I have to put something in the diary. I thought about the Coast to Coast again. I’ve done that twice in recent years – in 2006 on my own and in 2009 with Tex Gore, so it wouldn’t be a new experience. The “Bradbury effect” is also in full swing – the walk is incredibly popular now and it would be hard to find time to yourself on the hills amid all those other folk.
So my compromise is to walk the C2C again, but walk it backwards. Obviously I don’t mean walking backwards, I mean doing it counter to the usual direction – I mean walking east to west. I still get to walk the best long path in the UK and I have the added benefit of being part of a very, very small minority of people who walk it in that direction.
Planning is in full swing as I write this and I’ll post some more as I firm up an itinerary and then with some of the route options that I’m considering.
The walk is having to be pushed back a month or so from its usual slot in the first week of May, due to other family commitments I can’t walk until mid-June, which does give me the chance to see the route in a new light, but also means a greater chance of wet weather.