Holy smokes it has been quite some time since I put any sort of words on digital paper! As many of you know life happens, and I took some time to just experience it and mentally process it which led me away from writing.
So what brought me back to my laptop? An idea in my head. An adventure in my heart. A challenge for my body. A story about my decision to hike the Southern Upland Way in Scotland in May of 2021.
Since a very wonderful man and adventurer came into my life (we will refer to him as Phred for the rest of this journal), my love for being in the wilderness has been reinvigorated. We have hiked and camped all over Arizona, and his knowledge of the wilderness is awe inspiring. I could literally sit and listen to him talk about his favorite peaks and canyons all day and night. Hearing him talk about landmarks here in Arizona and loading us in the car and taking off to see them in person warped me right back to when my dad would take my brother and I all over the state for motorcycle races and camping trips. The first true hiking trip Phred and I took together was at Brown’s Ranch Trailhead in northern Scottsdale. I had not hiked in years and was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t be able to hack it. We made it to the top! I was so proud of myself and so thankful to have a supportive hiker like Phred by my side. As I sat looking over the desert while at the top of a small peak, a butterfly flew right in front of me and landed on a rock by my side. As I looked at it I instantly felt something stir in my soul. I started to cry, not because I was sad, but because I felt like I was tapping into moments I loved as a child, and my father, in the form of that butterfly, was telling me to be me; a girl with a love for all of the wonders nature holds.
At that moment at the top of the peak, I decided in order to find myself again and share some moments with my childhood, I needed to do a trek that I would remember for a lifetime. I remembered a coworker telling me about a trail in Scotland that was unbelievable. So unbelievable in fact that I forgot the name of it. I took to Google to find out what trails the beautiful hills of Scotland had to offer. From that search I found the Southern Upland Way, and instantly fell in love.
The Southern Upland Way is a 215 mile trail that takes you from coast to coast across southern Scotland near the Scotland-England border. Each section of the hike is anywhere from 9-20 miles with stops in local towns along the way. As you walk the trail you will see coastlines and beaches, forests, grasslands, and rolling hills and mountains. It’s a plethora of different landscapes, and one I could not wait to play in. I bought the guidebook, started researching training options for backpacking, and watched numerous videos and read posts describing other’s experiences on the trail. All uniquely different even though they were walking in the footsteps of those who were there before. I became so giddy.
I spoke to Phred about my idea and he thought it would be an amazing adventure. The best part of it all was the fact that I wanted to do it solo did not hurt him or our relationship and spoke volumes to just how much he understands one’s need to get out into nature to really find one’s self. He really is such a good teammate.
What is next you may be asking. The next few months will be dedicated to getting gear I need for a trek with a demand such as this and slowly strengthening my body to start hitting trails near home that will mirror those I will see on the other side of the Atlantic. I look forward to sharing my learning moments and experiences as I continue on the preparation trek needed for the adventure that awaits.
For more information on the Southern Upland Way, visit the official page below.
Also feel free to leave any tips, comments, or questions below as I would love to hear them.
Happy travels everyone!