It all started in a tavern, as all great adventures start.
One might also say that it started three weeks earlier, when Paul walked the eighteen kilometres downtown from his house, reminding me of my own love of walking: the pride, the challenge, and the glorious ache that lingered for days after a proper walk.
Or, perhaps, a week after that, when I walked twelve kilometres from work to Paul and Sean’s house and first had the idea of a walk across Scotland. I remember texting my brother Andrew, knowing he enjoyed the same challenges I did and that I would be seeing him the next day. I gave him a brief run-down at my cousin’s house less than twenty-four hours after the initial concept ran through my head, and that could be another beginning as I gained my first companion.
Ten days later was another start, when four of us gathered at the mall near my house: Adam, Sean and Paul had all been given a very brief idea of what I wanted to do, but they had wisely refrained from committing. I wrote up a two-page proposal and let each of them read their copy before saying anything. We stood at a railing on the second floor, looking down at the people milling about below. The mall was busy for a Tuesday night, and I felt like I was in a job interview. We spent almost four hours talking about the walk that evening, brainstorming dozens – hundreds – of things to include.
But it was two days after that, meeting at the traditional pub Rose and Crown on Yonge Street, when we all committed. The four of us there, and my absent brother – Drew was not yet with us – all agreed to set aside our modern comforts and conveniences, our friends and families, for two weeks of walking through the British Isles.
At the time the trip was different than it is now, but all things evolve. This is the first post on this ‘blog of ours; the first of what will undoubtedly be hundreds, between the six of us. If you are new here and reading this post, welcome and thanks for finding us. If you are already familiar with our quest, thanks for digging through our archives to find this.
It is July 15, 2011. In October 2012, less than fifteen months hence, we will be in another part of the world, braving weather and weariness in the pursuit of the cure for a disease that has plagued us as dragons plague the heroes of print and picture. This ‘blog, every word you read here, will chronicle our journey from office clerks, engineers, security guards, students and barbacks to the adventurers who will end their trip at the wall of Edinburgh Castle.