Richard Maxey from Perth

Reading the reports after the event, and speaking to people in Montrose, I felt like I’d had a very different Challenge to many. I got some poor weather; but having started at Portavadie on Friday, I seemed to have avoided the horrors suffered by those further north.

I even suffered a bit of sunburn, possibly one of the few who could claim that. This was my second Challenge, and after the restrictions of Covid I was looking forward to seeing more people, and perhaps even some I had met previously.

Yet I saw just four Challengers in passing on Day 8, a couple in the pub on Day 11, one in passing on Day 12, and no more until I was about half a mile from the sea at Kinnaber Links. But social media was brilliant at making me feel included in a big event we are all in together.

As last year, my route combined  something well-loved (West Highland Way), something new (The Cowal Way), something familiar (Highland Perthshire), something on the wish list (Glen Tilt) and something adventurous (remote country at the back of Glen Shee). 

For the first time, I logged each day on a GPS watch, and was surprised by the large distances covered. I find I can push myself further on my own. The downside to this approach is the odd moment of doubt.

Bashing the tarmac for mile after mile down a sunny Glen Lyon I found myself in a mood: hot and bothered and wondering if it was all really worth it. An encounter the next day with a horse and rider travelling John o’ Groats to Land End (now that’s a coast-to-coast!) convinced me that it was.