Roshi’s The Great Outdoors (TGO) crossing of the Highlands

Dear Folks,

Thank you for the support and interest some of you have shown in the TGO backpacking challenge I recently undertook crossing the Scottish Highlands from the west to the east coast. And especial thanks for the down jacket I bought with money given to me by the sangha to mark becoming a Roshi. It was perfect. Light weight, compact and very warm. A life saver!

There were three of us in our group and we started from Mallaig on the west coast from where we took the ferry to Inverie in Knoydart.  Here we started the trek that ended thirteen days later on the beach just north of Montrose on the east coast, crossing the breadth of the Cairngorms in the process. The weather was mixed from freezing cold nights to a couple of days when the temperature hit 26C, and of course some days and nights of heavy rain.  We averaged about 25km a day and the bags, with three days food, weighed around 14kg.  The journey was mercifully free of midges but several ticks hooked a ride and a meal. Hopefully I found them all!

As Nan Shepherd describes in her book ‘The Living Mountain’, the Highland landscape is both harsh and beautiful.  The crossing was definitely a physical challenge for me though I think if at the beginning I had had the confidence to know I would finish it I would have been more relaxed and spacious.  As well the journey, as I think these things always are, was a chance for inner reflection and also acted as a marker in my own transition from Sensei to Roshi and what that means for me personally and for StoneWater.

Some photos from the trek are shown above and below there are links also to details of the TGO Challenge and to a Garmin site set up by Gerald, one our party, that maps our day to day progress.

I look forward to seeing you at the Zendo in Liverpool and for folk nationally at the upcoming Retreat to the City or the Shuso month long in August in the Lakes (there are still some places available and if you are interested please do contact Karen, ).

Kind wishes,

Keizan Roshi