The first reaction is the inevitable 'why', quickly followed by 'what inspired it' or 'where did you get the idea from'? Plenty of questions, and probably plenty of answers too, but lets just say for the moment that I chanced upon the idea about a year ago. Walking the hills is in my blood. And people of a certain age sometimes do challenging things. The rest will undoubtedly unfold as the walk progresses.
But first some statistics:
- The Watershed is about 1,200km long
- Highest point – Sgur nan Ceathreamhnan – 1,151m above sea level
- Lowest point – Laggan in the Great Glen – 35m
- Intersected by:
- 24 `A` roads
- 39 `B` roads
- 8 unclassified roads
- 1 dual carriageway
- 1 motorway
- 10 railway lines
- 2 canals
- 26 forest roads
- 32 land-rover tracks
- 63 marked footpaths
- And the watershed passes through:
- 1 New Town – Cumbernauld
- 1 old town – Biggar
- 3 villages
- 3 open cast coal workings
- 1 airfield
- An as yet unknown number of bogs
- It includes: 55 Munro`s (peaks over 3,000 feet)
- A large number of smaller, but rewarding hills
- And finally, there are no burn or river crossings, lochs or natural water.
Having taken the decision to explore the possibility of walking the watershed, the idea fairly quickly took hold. So I gathered together all of the maps and spent many hours poring over them. Most of the route quickly became obvious – find the top ends of all the burns, and draw a line in the gap between. A very squiggly line emerged. Three areas of uncertainty, the start the finish, and one wee bit near Biggar needed clarification, and this was gladly offered by a colleague. And so the Watershed of Scotland was set.
This exercise was followed by breaking the 1,200km into smaller chunks for planning, logistical support and separate legs of the venture. Having a full time job and family commitments has meant maximizing the use of public holidays, weekends and annual leave. Each leg has a distinctive character, and I will attempt to explore this along the way.
I took a good look at my stock of equipment and its fitness for purpose, and got hold of some new items which will hopefully perform well, and keep the weight to be carried to the minimum.
A map on the office wall with the route clearly marked has offered a good introduction to the walk, for those who will listen. And the explanation of what the watershed of Scotland is, always starts with the phrase `I want you to imagine that you are a raindrop, and its your good fortune to land on Scotland ….` . The interest show in the venture has been very encouraging.
Planning is important, of course it is, but then the time comes to get going; to make a start on the watershed of Scotland. An epic journey of discovery.