Another top effort from the team this week. We managed to cram 6 of what were said to be the hardest days into 4. As Doug correctly said earlier this week, going fast and trying to push ourselves is becoming a bit of a bug. And a bug that once you have got it, is very hard to get rid of.
This week, on paper, was one of the hardest. We had to carry food for 5 days and to put that into numbers that is; 4kg of couscous, 1.8kg of chicken, 2 kg of porridge and 900g of sausage. It doesn’t sound like much and it really isn’t. Although when you put it on your back and try to walk for 8 hours a day with it, it becomes a bit more of an issue. But that is just me moaning. Either way we’ve passed our biggest test so far with flying colours. Now we are now faced with the small task of finishing off the remaining 9 days of the Ariège. Wish us luck.
Before we began this trek my dad, of all people, nagged about how important carrying as little weight as possible is. As you always do with your parents you brush the advice to one side and think you are right (we usually are). However, on the odd occasion they do actually turn out to be right (I’m sure you are as shocked as I am). When this happens I think it is only fair to put your hands up and admit that we may have been wrong. As we have got further and further into this walk we have all begun to realise how important it is to carry as little weight as possible. Our newly acquired Dutch friend also reinforced this. He looked completely taken aback when he picked up our packs, preceding to hand us his own pack that couldn’t have weighed more than 9kg. Pretty Impressive. After that I tried to cut as much weight as possible, whilst also trying to avoid walking around in the same pair of boxers for 5 days. I have rid myself of; a shirt, a battery pack, a gilet, a pair of shorts, 2 pairs of socks and a broken pair of boots. When you put it in writing it sounds so ridiculous. However it all added up to 2.3kg and it makes the world of difference. The whole team have also cut down how much water we are carrying. At the start of the walk, whenever we left a town we would all make sure that we had our camel backs filled to the brim. Now we barley fill them past half way. Shedding another 1.5kg. As I said it makes a huge difference and the progress we have been making in the recent weeks demonstrates this brilliantly.
Another interesting discovery this week is, firstly Fiona’s love for sleep, and secondly her inability to wake up. The love for sleep is understandable, we all love getting a good 8 hours. Although, as Doug keeps pointing out, the most successful people in the world live off 4 hours sleep. Interesting. As a test of Fiona’s love for sleep I asked whether she would trade 8 hours a night for 4 hours a night, if she knew that she would then achieve any kind of success she wanted. Her answer was no because if she was tired then she would not be achieving success. Again interesting. But each to their own.
The second point is her inability to wake up. Every morning she gets up bleary eyed, just like every other person. However, for Fiona this bleary eyed period lasts for hours. It is quite amazing. This always makes the mornings fairly slow progress, but that isn’t too much of a problem because when she properly wakes up the results are incredible. No hill is too big and no distance too far. The sudden burst of energy is like nothing Doug and I have ever seen and mean that the afternoons more than make up for the slow mornings. The dream would be constant energy but that would be a lot to ask of anyone.
Thanks to these fruitful afternoons the team has managed to get way ahead of schedule and are on track to finish 14 days early. The only issue is that we think people might think the GR10 is easy. Doug and I were doing a bit of maths to try and put the challenge of the GR10 into a more relatable statistic. Overall on the walk we will climb 49,714 meters (not including our over regular de-tours). For those of you in Glasgow, if we say the height gain from the GUU to the top of University Avenue is 20m. You would have to walk up and down University Avenue just under 2500 times. We still can’t decide whether that is a good statistic or not, so we will keep working on it.
Coming up we have another tough week in the Ariege and after that only another 14 or so days. Very scary.