The 36th Great Outdoors Challenge has drawn to a close, with the last of the 2015 Challengers arriving at the Park Hotel in Montrose at 4pm today.
Spirits were high last night at the finishers' dinner, with many regular Challengers reporting that it had been a particularly enjoyable year for the annual coast-to-coast Scottish backpacking event. Despite mixed (and often cold) conditions on the hills and trails, just 28 people had to withdraw from this year's Challenge, which is a lower number than in recent years.
During last night's celebratory meal in a room crammed full of happy backpackers, two Challengers picked up trophies and whisky to celebrate their 20th crossings and there were many more plaques handed out to 10-timers. We also celebrated our 8000th crossing! Around 50 people are expected at the Friday dinner tonight.
The Great Outdoors magazine would like to thank Sue Oxley and Ali Ogden for all their efforts in organising the event this year, as well as Roger Smith whose help, as always was invaluable. We'd also like to thank all the route-vetters, all who helped out at Challenge control and at Tarfside, and everyone else who makes the event the success it is, including our partners, Hanwag and Fjällräven.
Look out for reports from this year's event in the July issue of the magazine (out 25 June) and forms for 2016 in the October issue (out 17 September). We look forward to welcoming the Class of 2016 to the Park Hotel in Montrose next year. Till then, we hope everyone has a safe journey home and enjoys a hot bath when they get there!