This time I'm in at the outset. And as a Newby facing first:- THE PLANNING CHALLENGE.
1. The route. To this end I bought myself an early Christmas Present a year's subscription to Ordinance Survey's 'getamap' system http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/. For a little under £20 I have access to all OS mapping on-line. I can input and store routes, and I can print out A4 pages at 1:25000 or 1:50000 scale.
It seems a reasonable system to me, and quite simple. Printing in colour produces pages with the same content as the OS sheet maps, and is much clearer than on my b&w laser printer. Will I use pages on the walk? I'm not sure yet.
I know others have their favourite route planning systems. Has someone done a head-to-head comparison? I'd like to know I'm not wasting my time!
2. The boots. This is the thorniest problem. I want to do a few tops, some rocky and maybe scrambly ground, and I can imagine some lingering snow as well as the usual universal wetness. Whatever I decide I will have to live with for the whole trip and a breakdown in the feet area will prematurely end the adventure.
I've almost decided against any sort of Gortex lining. But more work is needed here.
3. The Tent System. Less critical in terms of priority, but important for a happy trip. My Laser Competition is a good design but slightly too small inside. Too small for me - when I sit up my head sweeps the condensation of the roof; and too small for my kit - which even when packed away will stick out from under the tent side at night. And my Trailstar tarp is not perfect. It seems to need a large piece of flat ground for a good pitch, and it provokes the question of groundsheet or bivvy bag? The homemade groundsheet is not a 'bathtub' style design so not proof against any sort of flooding; and the Rab Storm bivvy bag adds some extra weight.
4. The whole pack. What to take. What's the weight. For later.
5. Logistics. Something about food replenishiment. A shower or two. Maybe a drying-out opportunity. Also for later.