There are 322 people enrolled in The Great Outdoors Challenge (hereafter TGOC). The demographics skews sharply to the retired and near-retired by the look of the list. There are only eight walkers under 30, but 32 over 70, three over 80 and one 91-year-old man who will be making his 20th “crossing,” as it’s called.
There are 142 solo walkers, one of them me. I learned of the hike a couple of weeks before the application deadline and couldn’t round up someone else to come along. But my advisor Roger Hoyle, soon to be an eight-time “Challenger,” assures me I’ll meet lots of people along the way. I’m sure he’s right. Forty-six people are starting from Mallaig, where I will, and 86 will end up at St. Cyrus, where I hope I will also.
There are 42 couples, four father/son teams, one father/daughter team, one mother/father/son team, and a pair of brothers.
Eight countries besides the United Kingdom are represented: the Netherlands (16), the United States (10), Austria (2), France (2), Germany (2) , Denmark (1), Oman (1) and Nigeria (1).