At Queen Street Station in Glasgow you can identify fellow Challengers. They’re the ones wearing no cotton waiting for northbound trains with brick-dense backpacks at their feet, the smaller the better. Size matters in this business.
I took the train to Inverness, then changed for Strathcarron, a rail stop where you can’t even buy a ticket and where a post office truck comes by twice a week to sell stamps and pick up packages.
There is a village nearby, but I didn’t have to go there because there is a hotel next to the railroad tracks. Next to it is a single street with blocks of houses, some of them empty.
It was drizzly and cool. But this morning, the starting day, it’s sunny. But not likely to stay that way for long.
Here is the route profile of the first day of the hike.
I have an hour to do the final cull and have a small package of rejected items ready for the mail person when he or she shows up at 11. I’ll collect it in Montrose, the terminus, in two weeks, God willing.
Then it’s time (as they say) to crack on.