Christmas has passed and I hope that you all had a great day! Thankfully work was quiet and I had my meal with my family when I got in from work. As always I received so many fantastic gifts and despite having to work it was a really good Christmas. Hogmanay is this Saturday but I don’t think I will be up to too much due to being back at work on the 1st. To me, Sunday the 1st is the true start. As much as we have talked about doing this and setting out a bit of a plan, the start of the new year to me marks the beginning properly.
Getting started is often one of the hardest things to do. Talking about doing something is pretty easy, but committing to it and putting it in motion is the complete opposite. I’ve spent a couple if months looking into things, picking out the events that I would like to take part in and speaking to people about what I would like to do. Now we have to get going and for me the New Year signals the crossing of that start line. While there is an enormous mountain laid before us to climb, it can be climbed and we will hit that target of £1 million. I know we will.
The 4th of February every year is World Cancer Day and if you can help me promote what I am doing and the incredible work that Cancer Research UK do I would be extremely grateful. Cancer Research UK run a campaign of wearing a ‘unity band’ on the 4th and I will be taking part this year. They have also asked if myself and mum would be happy to be part of an article talking about what mum has been through and what it is I am trying to do. Hopefully that will help earn my challenge a bit more support. I feel that I am continually asking the same people to support me and I know that so many of you have already donated very generously to what I am doing. I’d really like to try and grow the support in the early part of the year and encourage more people to donate a little to Cancer Research UK.
I can’t remember if I had mentioned in a previous blog post about the possibility of going to visit one of the experimental cancer research facilities in Edinburgh, in order to better understand what the money is actually used for and to gain an understanding of the kinds of research that are being done into cancer. I am really keen to do this and meet the people who are doing this amazing research and saving so many lives. I have no idea when that will be but it is something I would like to try and fit in.
I have been speaking with my dad about him supporting my cycling ventures, I know for sure that the last thing I will want to do after cycling 100 miles on my bike will be standing cleaning and servicing it. My dad works as teacher and I will need to try and plan these trips during his holiday periods. But that shouldn’t be too hard I don’t think, it might mean that I have to swap a couple shifts at work but we will get that organised. The North Coast 500 will probably be the first cycling trip of the year and I reckon will likely be around late spring. I have spent this week doing a bit more planning for this trip and realised that google lied to me a bit. It told me that the second day of the trip (Applecross to Ullapool) would be around 85 miles or 136 KM in length, it is, but to follow the North Coast 500 route you must travel via Gairloch (a town my dad used to teach in actually!) which adds quite a bit of distance and climbing to the day. Day 2 of this trip will actually be 117 miles or 187 KM in length. I think this is probably going to be the hardest day of what I am hoping will be a 5 day trip. This will come the day after a particularly hard climb on the road over to Applecross. But it is what needs doing so we will get it done I am sure! I have put the routes for days one and two below along with the elevation charts so you can see what the route looks like if you weren’t sure. I think this trip will definetly serve as pretty good training for John O’Groats to Lands End and I think it will also do my legs good for climbing Kilimanjaro.
I’ve got a trip to Kilimanjaro picked out so booking that is going to be a priority in the coming weeks. It is my intention to get back out on the hills soon, it has been a manic few weeks with lots on and I am conscious that I haven’t managed to get out on the hills as much as I would have liked. The other thing which is now an added issue is that the Scottish winter has arrived and the weather on the hills is far more volatile than usual. I’d therefore ideally only head into the mountains with a climbing partner, purely for safety and I hope you all appreciate that. As much as I want to raise all this money and complete as many challenges as I physically can I’d rather not kill myself in the process! The mountains in Scotland are often a far more dangerous place than people give them credit for and unfortunately deaths are reported every year which are caused by a number of different factors. I love climbing in Scotland in the winter and I reckon we probably we have some of the most pristine mountains in the world, but I don’t love it enough to take massive risks.
“There’s a way to do it better – find it” – Thomas A. Edison
Its just about time to start off the new year and get going proper, I am really looking forward to it all now. I hope all have an enjoyable Hogmanay and get a good start to the New Year. Thank you all for your support, it is hugely appreciated as always!