We did discuss the ten torists many times whilst walking the route, and wondered how they managed to do a greater distance in less time than we managed. Part of it is that they split their equipment up between the teams to lighten their load, but mainly we thought it was because they were about twenty years younger than us!
Interestingly, the ten torists refer to the West Okement valley as the Valley of Doom, for obvious reasons, and this is where we camped on our second night. Waking up next to the river at 6AM on a sunny Sunday morning in that setting was grand. It meant starting the day with a bit of a chuff up the hill, though better at the beginning of the day than the end.
We took a GPS Spot Beacon with us as a test for an upcoming more remote walk. This device sends an “I’m OK” SMS along with a GPS location to a nominated phone and email address every 10 minutes. This is done via satellite link rather than mobile phone so works anywhere, and the device can be used to summon SAR in an emergency. A useful bit of kit to have along. We used this to log our track, but you can’t use it for navigation. We had a map and compass of course as back up, but we navigated mainly from memory. I’ve walked most sections of the walk quite a few times and the route isn’t a difficult one to follow particularly with good visibility, although we did have to resort to the map on a couple of occasions.