The start. It's 8.10am and I am woken by Kate opening the zip to the tent in desperation for the toilet. I've slept like a baby. On her return, she assures me that the weather is nice outside, good news - the tent is dry. A shower and a slight faffing session - I'm letting myself off though, as its day 1, and getting used to living out of a rucksack and in a tent can take some time. Right! At 9.45 we head to "the sign" where we chose to have "Blue & Kate 08/07/13" and we stand nervously for our photo knowing that this is the start. 1100 miles, Day 1. Let's go.
After we're 1 mile in (we later confessed) the thought of "what on earth were we thinking?!" ran through both our minds. As our feet settled into our shoes and our rucksacks dug into our backs, we considered why we had ever thought this challenge would be possible. After 5 miles at 11.50 we paused to change into shorts, the sunshine was so glorious that we changed to begin our dodgy tan lines. We then turned left and stayed on a narrow road for the next ten miles. We met with all of about six cars over the next three hours, and half way down we turned 360 degrees to find no sign of urbanisation. It was just me and Kate, a few sheep and cows, and a long stretch of road ahead of us. We had a break for lunch at 3pm, relaxing on a small bridge over a tiny stream, snacking on brioche before releasing our feet from our shoes and finding ourselves in the reclined position. 18 minutes later, its time to continue.
The first 30 steps were wobbly, but then my feet settled in. This is where me and Kate discovered that although our pace was the same, my stride length is about 8" longer than hers, so I generally lived 20 foot in front of her. Her shoulders were sore, and after many attempts of "reorganising" her bag, she gave into the pain and powered forwards. There were what seemed beautiful mountains in the far distance ahead of us. The whole place was beautiful! Finally, we could see a loch in front of us. We were a mile away. My bag started to dig in to my shoulders and I longed for the Brown Trout Hotel sign where we could finally release our shoulders from their weight. And we were there, showered, washed our clothes, dinner and then blow dried our clothes dry ready for the morning. In bed by 10.30, still awake at gone 12.30. With a long day ahead, I tried to forget about the challenge ahead and rest. Excited, and nervous, but happy knowing we were now only 727 miles away from home.