In some ways 20 months seems a long time. A loooong time. Then you start thinking about the entry deadline, which will probably be mid-October next year, so that brings it down to twelve months. Our plans involve doing a four or five day backpack during the 2011 TGOC, in order to get a feel for conditions, terrain, kit, our level of fitness and to hopefully meet up with 2011 Challengers, for brain-picking purposes. (That sounds a bit Zombie-esque, but you know what I mean!) That means we've got six and half months. Eek.
So, it's time to get moving. What have I done so far?
Well, I've started posting on the TGOC messageboard and the TGO community forum. I have to say I have been really impressed by how willing people are to offer help and advice. And not just snippets of advice, but really well considered (and lengthy) missives, that are full of useful nuggets and tips. Thanks in particular to Colin Tock and John Jocys who got in touch with encouraging and informative emails.
I dropped an email to Nicki Strouts at Cotswold Outdoors in Brecon. Nicki sorted us out with some brilliant kit and deals when we did S2S and wanted to hear if we ever did anything crazy again. Here's hoping we might be able to get some Spa2Summit Old Boys discount!
Pete and I started our training on Saturday, by sitting in the Bath Tavern drinking Doom Bar, and looking at a map of Scotland. Man, it was tough. In between sips of ale, we came up with a lot of questions, and some answers. Overall, we felt very positive about the whole thing. There are kit issues to be sorted, but we feel fairly confident we know what we want and further message board posts should clear up any other queries there. We also feel very motivated to get out walking. Everyone's schedule is different, but we're trying to do short walks most days, with something longer once a week (maybe eight miles or so), and then at least once a month getting together to head for the Brecons or Exmoor, or maybe Snowdonia, to push ourselves a bit harder. We have planned a simple overnighter in April to fine tune kit and routines before we head up to Scotland for 4 days in May to watch Challengers in action. Further Scottish backpacking in September will hopefully see us as a lean, mean camping machine...
Twenty months.... I wish!