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Trip Preparation update

Things are all going fairly well. Here is a bit of an update:

Gear:

I have almost all of my gear (I’d like a better pair of gloves but will probably have to buy them in Glasgow as I haven’t found anything suitable in Perth). The Bib Track was a suitable test (wet and cold with patches of hot sun) so I’m reasonably happy with all my gear. Everything is clean and dry and pretty much ready to pack. All I can think of that I have left to do is soak my hiking clothes in Permethrin (kills and repels ticks, mosquitoes and midges).

I sent my GPS logger back for repair/replacement because of the short battery life. This took an unexpectedly long time but luckily Steve said that he’d be interested in getting one so if I wanted I could order a new one and he’d take one off my hands later. I’m extremely glad he suggested this as I still have no word on when mine will be sent back. I would be very stressed except that I ordered a new one which arrived a week ago and has been working perfectly. Now that I can see how it was supposed to work I am sure that my original one was definitely faulty.

I have put a current gear list in my “Equipment” page.

Food:

I will have to organise this when I get over there. I did manage to look up the UK equivalent of Sustagen though (Nestle Boost).

Route and Maps:

I have finalised my route, and have managed to upload it to Google Maps. There is a link on the “Plan” page so hopefully you can see it. I have also included a lot more detail about where I’m planning to go plus elevation plots of the Northern sections. Things may change when I get out there but this is my initial plan so, if Mountain Rescue are looking for, this is probably a good place for them to start.

I have my two custom maps (1:50,000 scale, from Ullapool up to Durness) plus am taking OS Landranger 41 (1:50,000 scale around Fort William). I have printed out scaled A4 topo maps (from the UK Ordnance Survey website) for the bits that these maps don’t cover (the rest of the West Highland Way and Great Glen).

I’ve transferred extra information from the 1:25,000 scale maps onto all of these (mainly footbridges, fords and walls) plus some points of interest from www.walkhighlands.co.uk route descriptions and my two books.

I have two things left to do with my maps. One is to trim them to size. The maps as supplied are 102g each. Removing the covers brings them down to ~80g. I can also trim the ~1” border and am going to cut the legends off. The legends are the same for all 3 maps and it will actually be easier to refer to if it’s not attached to the maps. The maps are ~80cm x 80cm so are already difficult enough to deal with. I have copied the magnetic declination information from the legend onto each map. This should bring each map down to ~70g? So a total saving of almost 100g.

I also want to copy a lot of information onto the back of my maps. Things about geology, accom and gear store locations, points of interest, history, flora and fauna . . . all the stuff I’ll want to know when I’m out there but can’t remember!! I don’t want to carry the weight of extra books and heaps of paper, but have almost 3m2 of blank page on the back of my maps!

Travel Details:

My flight is definitely booked for the date and time I’ve been telling people. My passport is definitely valid and I know where it is.

I’m taking a suitcase on the plane since I realised that I couldn’t take tent pegs as carry-on and there’s no way I’m putting my ultralight, fragile pack in with all the other checked baggage. My pack will go in the suitcase, with all my gear and some luxury extras (clothes, toiletries etc) for when not hiking (I have someone to look after this stuff for me so it’s worth taking!).

I have a hotel organised in Glasgow, a place to stay in Durness and probably in Inverness too, so that just leaves Fort William, which I’ll either call ahead when I see how I’m going, or walk into the Tourist Info place and ask them to help me.

I also have a SIM card organised.

Home Organisation Stuff:

A friend is coming to stay at my house while I’m away which has taken the pressure off getting the house secure and maintainable. That takes care of the chooks, the mail, the garden (in case we have a hot spell) and making the place look lived in (so I’m not stressing as much about telling people I’m away).

Merlin is staying with a friend from the dog park who was happy to have him. My housesitter also offered to take him and both mum and his usual sitters would be happy to have him most of the time too, so I know he will be well looked after no matter what. I’ve bought and made enough food for him for the whole 5 weeks (hopefully!).

I have almost everything I wanted to finish for work done (and still a week to go for last minute end-tying), plus I THINK I have dealt with almost all of my bills before I go. Taxes are done (finally!), rates paid, credit card paid in advance, and a multitude of other minor things. And I’ve now given you all an update of how things are going.

Basically . . . it all seems to be sorted! Anything I’ve forgotten?

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