There's no getting away from it, Big Col and I are not natural athletes. With a combined height of 12'6'' (most of which is Col), a combined weight of 33 stone (most of which is Col) and a combined age of 104 (you guessed it...) we're relying on a heavy dose of enthusiasm and determination to carry us along one of Scotland's most famous and iconic long distance footpaths, the West Highland Way.
The West Highland Way stretches through 96 miles of some of Scotland's most beautiful scenery, from Milngavie to Fort William.
The trail was opened on 6 October 1980 by Lord Mansfield and so became the first officially designated long-distance footpath in Scotland.
It's probably the most popular route in Scotland, too, with an estimated 15,000 walkers completing the trail each year. It will be a walk of contrasts. From the rolling East Dunbartonshire countryside to the banks of Loch Lomond, not forgetting the remote, wide open spaces of Rannoch Moor and the mountains of Glencoe.
We're following the traditional route of heading North along the route. For a very good reason. We didn't want to be blinded by the relentless, Scottish sunshine in our eyes. Yes, we're aware of the tropical weather conditions north of the border. We've also decided to complete the walk over a leisurely 9 days, which should allow us some time to enjoy the scenery (distilleries) along the way. And what scenery it should be.
In 2012, National Geographic magazine included the West Highland Way in its list of the world's 20 best hikes - the Holy Grail of Trails, alongside adventures such as the Santa Cruz trek in Peru, the Yoshida Trail on Mount Fuji, Japan and Tibet's Mount Kailash Pilgrimage. Exalted company, then.
Talking of exalted company, the last adventure that Colin and I shared that took us away from our wives for this amount of time was a coast to coast drive across the USA, from Washington DC to San Francisco, following Route 50. We couldn't help but notice a lot of similarities between the two trips. OK, so the distances don't compare. The road trip was around 3,200 miles, but then we had use of a Ford Mustang convertible, as opposed to walking boots. In terms of geography though, the similarities are uncanny, even if the scale is different.
Our American odyssey took us out of DC via the lakes and the Appalachian hills of West Virginia. For these, we can substitute Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
Across the plains of Kansas and Missouri, we loosely followed the pioneer trails from Independence, Missouri as we headed west. Now we will be following old military roads and drovers' paths.
We crossed the mighty Rockies in Colorado. This time, we have Glen Coe.
Then we had the "Loneliest Highway" to endure as we crossed Utah and Nevada. Miles and miles of wilderness and isolation. In Scotland, we'll be crossing the wilds of Rannoch Moor. The loneliest pathway?
We even made a point, in America, of visiting the "Exorcist steps" in Georgetown. These were the steps used as a famous location in the classic film. In Scotland, we will be substituting the Exorcist steps for the Devil's Staircase.
I told you it was uncanny.
So we invite you to share our adventure with us. We'll try and capture some of the views and atmosphere of one of the World's greatest trails and you'll be able to delight in our inevitable discomfort and disasters along the way.
First thing we need to do is get ourselves to Milngavie.
Fort William, here we come.