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
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.
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.
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