A 325km off road adventure from Glasgow to Wester Ross, Scotland
23 – 29/30 Apr 2023
Over 65 years ago my parents moved from their Highland coastal villages in Wester Ross in North West Scotland to Glasgow for work. Many thousands of Highlanders have done the same migration. Glasgow was where I grew up. However I spent many long and happy summer holidays on Scotland’s north west coast. Often meeting with cousins and other relatives. It left fond memories of that time of life. Upon their retirement my mother and father moved back there to where they had grown up.
From 23 – 29/30 April 2023 I have set myself the challenge of doing an off road 7-8 day trail run/ fast hike from Glasgow to Aultbea, Wester Ross in the North West Highlands of Scotland. The idea has been in my mind for several years but have kept putting it out of my mind.
It’s not an immediate yes. It takes a while for all parts of me to get onboard. I may even dance with the idea for years before I finally commit to it.Nimsdai Purja, ‘Beyond Possible’
Finally deciding to do it now feels like a kind of pilgrimage. Travelling to my family roots on two feet. Other feelings include fear, anticipation, excitement, a sense of impending adventure and the unknown, all in equal measure.
The plan is to take 3 days from Glasgow (Milngavie) to Fort William following the 155 km of the West Highland Way. This route is familiar to me, and is a marked trail. After Fort W. the next 4-5 days will be partly on the Great Glen Way, Cape Wrath Trail and my own variation. A rough estimate of the total distance from maps is about 325 km (203 miles). As the terrain is rugged in the second half the route planned may have to be adjusted.
From Fort William it will be all new territory with several sectors of it trackless. Think bogs, moors, hillsides, valleys and streams in off grid, remote areas. Trying to go around mountains rather than over. For me this will be the first time doing several long-distance days in a row and resting during the nights. Weather conditions could be a factor. It will be very different from the 24-36 hour continuous runs I have been doing previously. It requires an additional skill set in addition to endurance.
‘Accommodation’ along the way will be a mixture of several nights wild camping (bivouac), staying in at least one bothy (basic remote shelter), maybe youth hostel and even a bed and breakfast. Idea is to travel as light and fast as possible. Trying to pick up food along the way and/ or eat wherever it is possible. Aiming to carry no more than 6-7kg. I am deeply grateful to Cammie Kennedy, a regular running buddy, for being willing to accompany me for the 4-5 days from Fort William to the end. His experience and skill in mountain running and wild camping is much appreciated. He has helped me to keep focussed and think through practical and mental issues. At Fort William and at the end my wife Elisabeth will also be helping. A consistent encourager in all my endurance endeavours.
Related blog – ‘The Highlander’s Return’ -Preparation
As with previous endurance runs I want to fund raise for Starfish Asia. They help disadvantaged and impoverished children from mainly Christian families in Pakistan get an education. A solar panel system for an average school costs about £2,000. It would be great to raise enough for 1 school, but if 2 (£4,000) that would be fantastic. For most of the Starfish schools a lack of power is an increasing problem. Solar panels being installed would provide stable electricity, especially for lighting and fans during the summer. There is a dedicated fund-raising page set up with Starfish for this purpose. If you would like to help you can donate here or scan QR code below.
6 thoughts on “‘The Highlander’s Return’ – Vision”
Allan, I can feel the excitement and trepidation rising in tandem as you write! I think this is a fantastic idea and will be life-enhancing. We are happy to support such a worthy cause and will be praying for all aspects of your health during the run, and even the weather.
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Thanks for your and Ian’s support and prayers. Having experience cycling the length of Britain means you and Ian know more than most what is involved.
Travels of a Teuchter? Hope all goes well and it works out as you’ve planned. The country you’re traversing sounds sublime.
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😄 thanks Neil.
What a challenge -I am sure you will attain your goal -looking forward to reading all about it -and using your talents again to raise funds for Starfish Asia -well done in advance
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Thanks for your encouragement Linda.