Three pairs of boots, a camel and a wigwam

13th-15th May 2016 – Gairloch

I have never actually said how all this came about? The concept of doing something different – for me – and then for charity? Well, it all began way back in January of this year when my friend Susan says she’s thinking of joining a trek in the Sahara being run by an Inverness company for a Women’s Aid charity next year as part of her “get fit for 50” goal.

Notwithstanding the need to get to a level of physical fitness, but also the thoughts of camping in the desert, with toilets you are probably best to avoid and all the hygiene risks we fear when away from proper washing facilities. A concern shared by us all of course as we laughed (often) at exactly how you go “behind a bush” if took short in the middle of the desert.

But toilets aside – we still had the task of convincing ourselves (Susan and I that is) that we could reach the fitness we needed. Only one way to find out – walk!

We have done a couple or so local walks. Now it was time to test the sleeping bags and do a couple of days walking back to back.

Gairloch on the west coast has a great coastal campsite with “wigwams”. Not the “cowboys and indians” type wigwams I remember from childhood but a wooden structure with rudimentary bunks and a countertop, pretty much. So more glamping than camping really, but it’s a start.

Fast forward to Sunday evening and we have managed just over 20 miles across the two days. Two very different days – one a road walk from Sands to Rha Reidh Lighthouse – the other a circuit route around the lovely Loch Kernsary before continuing up to Inverewe Gardens to grow those steps.

And the camel? Well, he was our honorary mascot. The original goal was all about the desert, so “Humpy” was to travel everywhere with us. Now my own challenge has grown boots and involves a whole lot more. Time will tell if he will take that big bird with us? Will he need a passport?

Back in Britain though and that was another 45000 or so steps on my barometer.

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