|Tracker - invaluable.|
This is the time, just before it becomes last minute, where the details come together.
The schedule, changes, on the ground logistics and contingency plans usually start to take a more solid shape and the actual plan falls in to place. Conversations start taking place that reveal gaps in the plan, misplaced information or possible alternative scenarios to consider that until this point have been consigned to the 'to deal with later' pile.
There's a lot to consider, not least the fact that a team of people are organising their lives around a day in your life. Some have taken time off work, travelled great distances and committed to working for me through the night. Some are family, some are friends, some I have met once and some not at all. In the middle of this I am putting people in touch with people to arrange between themselves, guiding the overall plan and trying to make sure everyone is happy (or at least not unhappy) with their lot.
The details matter. For my Bob Graham I had clothes in bags and I knew what was where and what was needed by who. Not much use if I'm incoherent and asking for "that coat, you know the one?". Lesson learnt and for the Paddy I was somewhat over organised! I had a kit list matched to labelled bags that included a stationery section - well you never know when you might need a ruler or a calculator do you?
This time at least there are only two support points, although I have engineered another near the end after seeing it work on another round. I need to prepare the spare clothes I might need which will to some extent be dependent on the weather. But only to some extent, I can probably tell you now what I will be wearing for each leg and what I am likely to have spare in case the temperature drops!
There will be food bags for the pacers to carry, 2x water bottles, small bottles of sugary drinks (usually coke but maybe iron bru as well this time) and a drybag of additional clothes, depending on what I've got on. Add to this the food for the support team to have ready for me - on this occasion I think I'm going for coffee, beans and a cornish/sausage roll + brown sauce. Then also the food for the pacers for when they have finished plus any spare layers that might be needed if it's been particularly wet/cold.
Then there's the waiting around - there's really not much I can do about that part apart from stick to the schedule, which to be honest I'm trying to run faster than! To this end I will be carrying a tracker so people can, well, track me and make an informed decision about when to set off for the different points. I'm using Cover My Tracks, based in Fort William, which also gives my family the reassurance that if I do get in to trouble (although trouble is not on the schedule!) then I have a way of sending a message in an emergency that does not rely on mobile phone coverage.
I've watched other people's trackers and it quietly sucks you in. So if you can't sleep, log on and tune in - you can imagine the details playing out in front of you while I move around the mountains.
Details - they are important but also if something isn't quite right? Crack on.