The Highlands take on the 100 Streets Challenge! Ali, our Highlands Locality Manager, and her team of 20+ SiMS staff, recently took on the 100 Streets Challenge during lockdown. With a unique-take (as the Highlands are a bit light on streets!), the challenge brought staff together, even from afar. Here Ali & some of her team talk us through their challenge. I suggested for us all to walk/cycle/run the equivalent of 100 streets i.e 6 miles, during the period Wed 29th April to Wed 13th May. Therefore 21 of us started Wed 29th hoping to walk/run/cycle a total of 126 miles. Instead we walked/ran/cycled 637 miles in a fortnight! Some family members joined including Findlay aged 4 (& his trusted scooter) and Lorelei - our youngest participant at the ripe old age of 2. Sharyn decided that rather than cycle 100 streets she would cycle 100 miles and achieved 101! I asked everyone to take photos on their route and now we have a collection of 90 photos from Helmsdale in the North East to Lochaber in the West and Bridge of Allan in the South and lots of places in-between. For me there were some mornings (given the recent weather) that I felt like turning over and courieing in but when I thought about my colleagues walking, running & cycling, I got up and panted up the hills. I always, despite sore legs and other bits, pulled muscles, blisters and not to mention the hailstones, felt better and more alert to start my day's work. One morning I couldn't get out - torrential rain. I was feeling a bit discombobulated and felt it was because I hadn't had my morning walk. By the time I went for my walk, and came back 1 1/2 hours later, I felt a different person - I was calm. Sharyn: When asked to do this challenge I thought it would be a great idea. However, living where I live, it is over 4 miles to get to the nearest street! I suppose that would have added an extra challenge, but decided that, as I had been training for a duathlon that was due to take place on the first weekend of May and had been cancelled, I would just keep cycling and make my challenge to cycle 100 miles instead. From my house, a forestry road has been installed to create an electricity supply and this had been my regular training route, it wasn’t far in distance, only 7.5 miles from my house to the end of the track and back, but with over 1000 feet of elevation it was a good training route. One day for something different I cycled to the end of the track, dragged my bike through a river and up the hill on the other side, with much huffing and puffing, to get onto the West Highland Way. Normally, this time of year, the West Highland Way would be full of people enjoying the route, walkers with huge backpacks on, runners and cyclists and I would be stopping and starting all the time. I met 2 people! It was wonderful, so peaceful and it was lovely to hear the birds flying above and seeing the wild goats on the hillside and wee lambs running away from me to their Mummies. I cycled along, had lunch and then cycled back, lugged my bike back through the river and back home. (I later found out that there is a road that I could have cycled around the back of the river to a farmhouse and onto the road, without traipsing through the river. But where’s the fun in that!) The rest of my challenge I did mostly on my road bike, taking advantage of the quiet roads. It has been blissful, as someone who lives on the A82, usually to get out on the road and not be that bothered about a lot of traffic I would have to get up (very) early in the mornings to get in a decent cycle, so having the opportunity to get on my bike whatever time of the day, was wonderful. Also cycling along and seeing places that are usually very busy, such as Nevis Range, and Glen Nevis practically empty and feeling you have the place to yourself was a very surreal and pleasant experience. I look forward to next year’s challenge! Anne: I have to say, the 100 Streets Challenge gave an added purpose to my walks. It also got me out there some days when I just couldn't be bothered at the end of the day (gin & tonic v exercise, tough decision 😉) and of course, I always felt the better for it! Bruce: I started the NHS Couch to 5k running programme not long before we began the challenge, so 100 streets gave me some extra motivation for running. Eilidh: It was a bit of a push at times to get going for a walk but definitely felt better for doing it once I had. Everyone has done really well with the challenge. Lesley: I cycled along the Averon/Alness river which stretches for twenty four miles. I looked on the internet 'Walks Highlands' and this gave me the directions and the incentive. I aimed to walk eight miles in total, which I completed, by cycling to a further location each time, and then walking two miles, then, returning home on my bike. I would really advise this walk to anyone as the scenery is absolutely fantastic and it was such good fun! A huge well done to Ali & co for taking on the challenge, and providing such fantastic pictures from their travels! If you'd like to take the challenge on, sign up is FREE and you have until 10 October to complete it. Just visit www.100streetschallenge.com for more information. We'd love to have you on board!