OK, so the bad news is that I have had to withdraw from the TGO Challenge this year. To those of you not familiar with the TGO, it is a coast to coast walk across Scotland organised by The Great Outdoors Magazine every year. The beauty of it is that the route is down to each hiker to plan and then execute over about 12 days.
I was looking forward to it immensely, meandering across Scotland has been an ambition for some time but it will have to be another year. The reason was simply finances, something had to give because I’m trying to fund my next big hike, and it is a biggie . . .
I’M HIKING THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE TRAIL IN 2014 !
The Continental Divide Trail, all 2,600 to 3,200 miles of it depending on your route and inclination is the last (or first, or second depending on your order of importance) of the 3 big hikes in America and completion means I will be a Triple Crowner. I’m not much for awards, prizes or certificates so the name and status doesn’t mean much to me. However, it will be suitable reward to finish and bathe in the knowledge that I walked around 7,850 miles to get there. Hopefully a sterling cast will assemble for this marathon hike with a few familiar faces from the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010. A book? Yeah, of course.
Talking of books, my Appalachian Trail adventure has not been started yet. I get the odd question so this is from the horses mouth. I want and need to spend much more time on this one than I have done on my 2 previous books. More time affords me the luxury of hopefully being able to write what I hope will be a better book. I put down words easier when I don’t have a deadline. The hike in itself was fantastic, the cast as always on a thru-hike was priceless. The scenery was majestic, the elements kind (we were lucky with one of the best summers on the AT), and the woods truly were all I had hoped they would be.
I have an excellent illustrator who is turning photos and ideas into beautiful sketches which will dot the occasional page and we have exciting ideas for him to produce the cover. The characters I hope will weave a great story that engages the reader and of course a healthy portion of humour and sarcasm will come along for the ride.
I might even get cocky and do a hardback. Anyone want a hardback? Anyone? Anybody? Bueller . . . ?
DOWNLOAD THE JOURNEY IN BETWEEN ON KINDLE FOR ONLY £2.05 / $3.08 FOR A LIMITED TIME !
As a thank you to everyone who’s coughed up a little hard earned money to buy The Last Englishman I thought I’d give you all a hefty discount on my first offering – The Journey in Between. This details my 1,000 mile hike on El Camino de Santiago and is usually priced at £3.95 / $4.99. For a limited time you can download it for only £2.05 / $3.08 ! Click on the book below for details, reviews, how to order and read the first two chapters for free:
This year? Nothing huge planned although I am cycling from John o Groats to Lands End with a few chums early August. Its something like 1000 miles in 7 days which could prove painful but we have a powerful secret weapon – Udderly Smooth Udder Cream and a new pair of chamois. Training at the moment on a feisty new Italian steed I have christened Janet. This is after Janet Street Porter, I should say the bike is a lot better looking but does share some similarities. Namely, she’s a bit lively, doesn’t take any shit from me and always has an opinion even if it’s not wanted.
I like not having a load of plans, it leaves me free to ponder other ideas but more importantly be ready for some spur of the moment adventures when I get to Thursday and see a great weather report for the weekend. There’s something rather cheeky at starting the week with no plans for the coming weekend and then doing a quick pack and overnight drive somewhere, waking up with a bad back because let’s face it, cars were never meant for sleeping in.
UPCOMING GEAR REVIEWS
I’ve got reviews coming on the Sawyer Squeeze Filter, a promising new tent from a British manufacturer called Survivakit which looks exciting, RouteBuddy mapping and navigation software and a new insulation system from Hennessy Hammock as yet still being tweaked.