I guess most charity events are quite personal things, with people doing something for a charity that has helped them, or a loved one. Maybe it's personal because the challenge itself is the thing they have always wanted to do, and so doing it for a charity gives them extra motivation to push through. Whatever the reasons, it's a personal choice to do that event....but there are rules!
If you want to run the London Marathon, you have to follow the set route. Maybe you're going to cycle from London to Paris...well, if you happen to omit going to London or Paris you might have a problem. These rules are quite obvious when you do a prescribed event, but when you are making up your own event, you have to make up your own rules. But when you go full DIY, these rules can evolve as the event or challenge evolves, and how do you self police ever changing rules(?).
I started my challenge as a bit of mental whim. I've always loved being outdoors, biking, hiking etc... But no matter how much I love being amongst the Munros, every few years get itchy feet for something a bit bigger. This just coincided with arrival of COVID and lockdowns, which like many people, meant I was confined at home getting more and more frustrated. So planning something big also kept my mind going.
I've said in a previous post that it started as a ride from the most southerly to northerly distillery. Then I added a few nearby distilleries, then a few more, and so on until I came to the conclusion I just had to cycle via every distillery in Scotland. But what does 'every distillery in Scotland' mean? Whisky, gin, rum, etc... All made in Scotland. So I had come come up with some rules, and the thought process went something like this:
- Ok, just whisky! If I did all the other distilleries I think it would take me 6 months, not 6 weeks, and would probably cost me appendages, not to mention my marriage!
- What type of whisky? So now I have to break this down. Just single malt distilleries. Let's be honest, they're much prettier than the industrial grain monsters!
- Cue googling 'List all Scottish distilleries'... Over 130... Oh boy, but I can do this.
- Link below read, 'New distilleries coming soon'.... Oh dear! Now here is a quandary; do I include distilleries under construction(?), and it appears distilleries are breeding like rabbits at the moment! What about distilleries just opened? They are operating but it will be years before they actually have a 'whisky'. So I had to have at least some rules.
So here are my rules:
• To cycle from the most southerly distillery in Scotland to the most northerly, via every single malt distillery that is operational, i.e. has spirit flowing.
And now I get to break my rules, and add a gin distillery. You see, the most northerly whisky distillery in Scotland is Highland Park on Orkney, and I'm fairly sure some of their marketing will vehemently tell that message to passing tourists. But they aren't the mostly northerly distillery in Scotland; that honour goes to the Saxa Vord distillery on the Ilse of Unst, Shetland. Perched only a mile or so from the last scrap of rocky headland at the very top of the British Isles, surrounded by water on three sides, it would be almost impossible to be any further north in Scotland. Also a reason a Space Port is being built nearby, incidentally.
Now if I was following my rule/s, the Saxa Vord should not feature in my plan as they only distill gin, but they do have plans to start distilling the amber nectar in the coming years. Therefore, I had an inkling I would always feel I'd cheated myself if I didn't go there and then they started production shortly after. And they do at least have a private bottling!
So there you have it, my base rules for the challenge, and a little cheat!