In the summer of 2017 I was lucky enough to have the time, funds, and company to plan a
hiking trip through the Scottish highlands. The thought had barely crossed my mind until I ended up in Edinbourgh at a Scotch tasting and they highlighted the highlands for both the landscape and the smoky, peaty flavors of the whiskey made there.
I planned to go with a good friend from my MBA program during one of our breaks from classes. We found a highly recommended company, Hillwalk Tours, that maps out the hikes, finds local Beds and Breakfasts and moves your luggage from one to the next so that you can hike without all your belongings. We chose one of the easier trails, Great Glen Way, as neither of us had really been hiking in over a year - embarking on an MBA journey doesn't leave a lot of spare time.
After we booked the trip, my adventure partner very unfortunately broke her ankle. She worked hard to heal enough before the trip so that we could still do some of it, but it meant that our prep was even lesser than before.
Out of the 3 days of hiking we were supposed to complete, we did just 1. Going from 0 miles hiked in a day to about 12 was a lot though! We chose the middle leg of the journey to actually hike and were provided with amazing views, incredible experiences, and a ton of history. We took a bus on the other days so we could still explore the small towns on the trail. We explored Urquhart Castle and the famous Loch Ness.
Side note - we felt really dumb when we couldn't pronounce the name of the castle. We asked the bus driver if it went past there just to verify and he didn't know what we were talking about. We eventually learned that Urquhart is pronounced Erk-It. Who would've known that?!
We did finally complete that leg of the hike and made it back to the bed and breakfast. We were tired and sore and starving. The first thing we did when we got upstairs (yes, we had to climb another flight of stairs before we could actually rest) was take off the shoes that seemed to be squishing all life out of our swollen feet and lay on the floor and groan. I can only imagine what anyone outside was thinking as I'm pretty darn sure we sounded like dying cows.
1. Prepare before doing a hike that's outside your norm
2. Account for swelling in your feet when hiking
3. The right companion means the world