In 2018 I hiked the length of Scotland. The hike is otherwise known as the Scottish National Trail.
I hiked 864 kilometres in every type of weather, including a storm and a heatwave that lasted several weeks.
I began the Scottish National Trail on May 13; I estimated it would take six weeks to complete, and I finished it in seven (Scottish weather is very unpredictable!). The Scottish National Trail begins at the English/Scottish border by Kirk Yetholm and concludes at Cape Wrath.
It wasn’t easy. I had never attempted a long distance hike, nor had I camped overnight in the wild for 14 years. I’d never even been wild-camping by myself before.
To some this may sound like a stupid idea but I like to live my life as though I haven’t many days left of it. Since I have been living this way, I have had some of the craziest, rewarding, and most memorable days of my life.
I had three reasons for hiking the Scottish National Trail:
1. To explore Scotland the way my ancestors did
I’ve always been passionate about my Scottish family history and while it is difficult to know exactly what it was like to live like my ancestors back in the day, I wanted to get as close as possible to experiencing life as they did.
For me, this meant exploring the Scottish Highlands by foot.
2. To challenge myself
The best way to grow and learn is by pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. If something frightens and excites you simultaneously, I believe you should do it. Hiking the length of Scotland did just that for me.
The thought of completing a long distance hike had always given me a mixture of emotions.
In 2017, I lived in a van in Canada for seven months. It was challenging living in such a small space without a bathroom or kitchen. I didn’t think I would last three months. As time went on I adjusted to vanlife and I learned new skills and even more about myself. I hoped the challenge of this hike would bring more of the same. It did- it completely changed my life.
3. To raise money for Cystic Fibrosis
I decided to hike the length of Scotland for another very good reason. My goddaughter, Olivia (5) was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) when she was born. CF is known as the hidden disease and is the most common life threatening genetic disorder affecting New Zealand children.
There is no cure for CF, but the gene that causes cystic fibrosis has been identified and researchers are working to find ways to repair or replace it, and medications to treat CF complications.
Half of the funds I raised (£1030 in total) went towards Olivia’s treatment costs. The remaining half went to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to care for families living with CF.
I am also writing a book about my journey, which will be available in 2019.
Want to try the hike for yourself? Read my guide on hiking the Scottish National Trail!
Have you hiked the Scottish National Trail or parts of it? Comment below!