So I'm going to walk the length of Scotland via the mountains this winter, during the coldest months of the year, along with my best animal pal, Haggis. Haggis is a big, floppy, cuddly labrador who adores all people and who was obese, unfit and very under confident when I re-homed her two years ago. The first hill day I took her on was a five hour jaunt up into the Pentlands, when she stopped to lay down exhausted several times. She now loves running around in the hills and is very fit, but she does also sleep a lot, which makes me wonder how she will cope with being awake all day, but I'm hoping she will adapt as quickly as I will have to!
My motivations for completing the expedition are...
• To gain fitness and suffering as part of my preparation for an expedition to Antarctica in 2017: http://jencrook.com/the-big-one---antarctica.php
• To raise money for my two chosen charities:
• To give Haggis the time of her life
• To get other people out into the hills safely this winter
On January 16th, we will start in Gretna Green and walk north through Scotland, taking in the mountains of the West, then the East and eventually finishing in Cape Wrath (a more detailed route will be posted in due course). I expect that we'll occasionally grab some morale-boosting respite in local accommodation or any vans that people are willing to park for us, but mostly we will be camping out in the often atrocious Scottish winter conditions, all in the name of adventure, of course!
The route will be over 550 miles long, plus a lot of ascent, and I hope to complete it in around two months. Walking low level, we would be able to do it in six, but we want to take in as many of Scotland's beautiful mountains as possible, so are allowing a bit of extra time. We will leave mid January and finish sometime in March, when it will be absolutely baltic - perfect Antarctica training! I will have to carry a lot of weight and I also expect to get very good at pitching my tent in horrific conditions.
I'm lucky enough to have a small team of amazing people helping me out, http://jencrook.com/The-Expedition-Team.php, including Becks, who is helping with PR, Media and Fundraising beforehand and Logistics during, Lucy, who is helping with Logistics and Planning and Holly, who is helping with the behind the scenes work of fundraising. Sarah Outen is all a personal sponsor of the trip and has agreed to sponsor me nutritionist Rin Cobb Julie Jones, an NHS Physiotherapist who previously helped me through a very bad and persistent climbing injury has also offered her time to help with general conditioning, fixing my broken bum (another climbing injury) in preparation for the walk and giving advise on any niggles during the expedition. We are also lucky enough have Rab, Lowe Alpine, Ruffwear, Mountain House and Eat Grub UK (yes, I'm eating bugs on my trip) on board as expedition sponsors:
http://rab.equipment, http://lowealpine.com/uk/, http://www.ruffwear.co.uk, http://www.mountainhouse.eu, http://www.eatgrub.co.uk
WHAT WE NEED!
Since May this year, when I first committed to Antarctica, I have been juggling my time, sometimes fairly precariously, between real work and planning. I have used some savings to keep existing during this time and am contributing the final few thousand I have to the Scotland expedition next year. In short, I am paying for as much of it as I possible can but by the end of it, will be approaching zero and beyond fast!
If you are able to make a personal donation, it would be hugely appreciated and, ultimately, will lead to raising more money for charity since we will have the resources to make more noise along the way! More info on my two chosen charities and on other ways that you can get involved can be found on my website http://jencrook.com/Charities-and-Fundraising.php or on their own home pages http://www.internationalanimalrescue.org, https://www.soidog.org.
For donations of less than £25, you will still be included in our wonderfully fantastical prize draw, which we are working hard on gathering an array of brilliant prizes for from local businesses and elsewhere. Winners to be announced on reaching our target and prizes to be announced in due course!
Many many thanks,
from J&H and The Team!