C2C4K - update 4

For those that followed our coast to coast over the 4,000 foot tops... I've been waiting on a couple of publications before I posted anything further. Those are both now out and about in the world.

The Great Outdoors Magazine designer Paul did a fantastic job on the layout, and a nice idea of editor Emily to make it very timeline specific. The July issue is still out at the moment.

The Sidetracked story is the opposite. I got rid of the timeline altogether, tried to talk about the mundanity as well as our own little high dramas... but it's increasingly tricky to write about the latter without crying wolf. I'm just back from OutDoor and couldn't be more alert to over-egged epic and bokeh'ed, vignetted 'moments'. Imitation in marketing is a measure of the magazine's success, for sure - an unfortunate side effect. What words will we use when they've all been sold back to us? Anyway, that sounds way more cynical than I feel about both words and outdoors stuff. Back to the article though: It wasn't all that easy to write but I do stand by it in the main - it's not necessarily how I feel now, but it is how I felt at the time.

Never mind all that. Between us, David and I planned a really bold route that I'm still proud of. Linking the highest mountains with extended boat travel in such a clean line was superb, but I'd be lying if I said it was all great. It was the longest I'd been away from home since my daughter was born, and David and I had pretty much freaked ourselves and each other out the week before we left, as any chance of spring weather evaporated, and winter returned with bells on. That made us both pretty unsure of ourselves, and I think, each other. Despite having done alot of trips together beforehand, this felt different: Now we were under pressure. Whether that was the fundraising aspect, or just that it was long in the planning, I'm not sure - probably both. I was suffering from some sort of extended flu/virus, and caught a new strain just a few days before we were due to leave. We postponed a day to allow a day's bed rest. None of this made for a confident start.

It was a journey in the round, though; a challenge to do justice to the ambition of the route; to stay on target and be honest to it, ourselves and each other. I'm still not good at compromising on any of those, but it did make me realise that pulling priorities from that list in the heat of the moment is more complicated than I previously thought.

Here's a few more images from the trip - ones that didn't make the cut for either magazine for whatever reason: Hover for description, click to change.

If you've enjoyed the ride and still haven't put your hand in your pocket, please consider making a donation to the John Muir Award via our fundraising page.