“Life is a Journey
Seize the Day
Look out of every Window
Live your Dreams
Dwell on Possibilities”
Just over two and half years ago (20 April 2008 to be precise) we had the notion to do something special – an adventure perhaps – whilst we were still fit and able to undertake something quite challenging.
As we are both keen on outdoor sports such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing and mountain biking, we decided that our adventure should try to include some of these activities … and the idea of climbing all of Scotland’s mountains higher than 3000 feet was conceived. As many of you may already be aware, “The Munros” is the term used to describe a definitive list of all mountains in Scotland that stand 3000ft or higher. We are, therefore, pursuing a “Munro Bagging” odyssey!
However, we also enjoy the more relaxing things in life: like visiting new places – cities, towns and villages, enjoying the local fare from coffee & cake shops, restaurants, breweries and distilleries, and meeting new and interesting people. Finally, we also want to do some island hopping – hopefully touring many of the Scottish islands on our bikes.
As this adventure could not simply be “completed” over a two-week holiday (or several for that matter), a much longer duration was required. And so a year-out seemed like the ideal solution.
Taking a year-out is a major undertaking in itself, and not something that we entered into lightly. It required us to give up good jobs with a company called QinetiQ (and the associated financial security) at a time when the UK and global economy was (and still is) in the midst of a major recession. However, this “risk” to our financial security was easily offset against another less tangible “risk”, that we can’t buy back time and can’t necessarily guarantee an appropriate level of health and fitness into the future in order that we can definitely complete such a physically demanding challenge later in life.
Despite the headline for our year-out being “to climb all 283 Scottish mountain peaks over 3000 feet (or 914.4m)” a more accurate description is actually “to have a fun adventure and to stay safe along the way”. The measure of success for us will be that we are able to look back over our year-out and feel satisfied and proud that we have achieved the absolute maximum that we could have from our Scottish Odyssey.
To facilitate the freedom that we are seeking throughout our trip we are relying on our trusty motorhome to act as our travelling “base-camp”. We bought our Autotrail motorcaravan (shortened to the ‘van) in April 2009 and have kitted it out to cater for all our needs over four seasons and to carry all of the paraphernalia associated with our outdoor pursuits.
As well as the physical demands of our outdoor adventures, running our ‘van over a harsh Scottish winter season will present a number of its own challenges: not least that very few sites remain open from November through to Easter; fresh water pipes freeze a bit too easily, snow and ice blocks roads and hides useful spots for wild camping; and long winter nights play havoc by limiting battery life effectiveness. It will be interesting to see how challenging these difficulties become – especially when it’s blowing a gale outside, the snow is threatening to bury us alive in the ‘van, and the temperatures have been sub-zero for days on end! But I guess that we do appreciate that this is supposed to be an adventure after all.
Our intention is to capture all of the highs and lows of our year-out on our website (www.scotlandinview.com) and to bring our adventures to life through our photography and text. This website will cover a broad spectrum of topics, from our routes on the hills, geology, geography, environment and social history through to reviews of our gear, cafés and restaurants, and not forgetting some great recipes of the food that we’ll be cooking in the ‘van. We hope that you enjoy it and feel inspired to leave us comments when you can.