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All I can say is wow� This is the first time I�ve seen the Caledonian Challenge in action, and it�s awesome. Congratulations to the walkers for their unwavering enthusiasm; well done support teams for keeping your groups going; and congratulations to the event organisers, volunteers, marshals, sponsors, the Armed Forces (namely the Army and Marines), the ambulance crews, the physios, and the catering staff for creating a truly impressive event.

The event is planned to coincide with the height of Scottish summer. For those who�ve never been to Scotland before, summer here means you get to wear your waterproofs and thermal undies slightly less often than usual! However, even the Scottish walkers have been tickled to see snow in June on the highest mountain peaks as they make their way south to the banks of Loch Lomond.

The route of the walk meanders down the West Highland Way, and to punctuate the journey, there are four checkpoints between the start and finish line. Walkers can see the flags marking the rest stops fluttering from afar, willing them to keep going with the promise of refreshments, massage, and (most importantly) a seat!

This is where the support teams can make sure the walkers have everything they need to keep going. Using a text messaging service, support teams are given updates on the progress of their team (who are all wearing electronic tracking chips), so when they know their walkers are an hour away, it can only mean one thing� get the BBQ on.

Over the course of 54 miles, the average walker burns 10,000 calories (that�s four times more than in an average day for a man, and five times more for a woman), so the checkpoints give them a chance to refuel. At checkpoint two, I was amazed to see rather fancy fare being prepared. Veggie kebabs and prime meat burgers were sizzling away nicely on disposable barbeques, and there were pots of chilli, bags of pasta, and lots of sweet treats.

It�s 10.30pm on Saturday night, and the light is beginning to fade. It�s getting on for the most gruelling part of the walk, where everyone is tired and aching, but there�s still quite a distance to go. This is a tough challenge, but all the money the money raised by walkers will help communities all over Scotland. Thank you if you�ve sponsored a team or walker, you�ve made every step they take worth it, and your support is much appreciated by the Scottish Community Foundation and the not-for-profit groups they support.

PS - Some people have finished already! Believe it or not, some participants run the 54 miles instead of walk. Hats off to you and well done, you crazy crazy people!

Posted by Nadine on 14/06/08 10:53

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The RBS Caledonian Challenge

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