EARLIER this month a Borders man ran from one end of Scotland to the other.
Investment manager Christopher Godfrey-Faussett of Midlem, left Kirkcudbright at the beginning of June to run and otherwise self-propel himself along a line 4 degrees west of longitude while racing cycling colleague John Hunt to Strathy Point on the north coast in aid of three charities in their MadHaT Challenge.
The cyclist won but Mr Godfrey-Faussett achieved 310 miles overland in 10 days and the pair have raised more than £28,500 to be divided between the King’s Royal Hussars Appeal, Prostate Cancer Scotland and the Borders Children’s Charity.
“It’s hugely satisfying to have done it and a big relief because I really didn’t know whether I could do it. I’m in quite good order but my body is still feeling it!,” said Mr Godfrey-Faussett who only suffered two small blisters.
“It was definitely demanding physically. I had had problems with my achilles before I started, though that held but I got right knee pain and cramping in my left thigh by the end of the day. I just had to run through it. I would be on my own for hours on end: there was mental effort to keep going and that was quite intriguing.”
Because no-one else has run a single line up Scotland there was no-one to check with before he left: “I was really quite nervous because I just didn’t know what to expect. I got used to it after a couple of days.”
But the challenge was too tough to complete in time: “I would have needed a good three weeks to do the straight line. After three days I was a day behind schedule. Dumfriesshire has some amazing hills which really took it out of me – and forestry.”
He lost both his mobiles near Loch Tay. He and his support driver and wife Diana retraced his steps but with no joy. “We reckon a cow got it or a sheep is now well connected to the outside world,” he said, adding his wife had gone to Perth to get replacements.
He carried on into the Grampians then found a sailing boat for the Moray Firth but there was no wind so the Drascombe longboat owner fired up the engine.
Further north, he and his canoe faced 700 metres of mudflats before 150 metres of water followed by another 700 metres of mud on the other side of the Dornoch Firth so he bypassed it.
He ran up Strath Halladale – and bumped into television survival guru Ray Mears who was filming.
The former King’s Royal Hussars officer said: “He was terrific. We didn’t have a hugely long in-depth conversation. He knew my regiment and immediately attuned to what I was doing. He was waxing lyrical about the flora and fauna of the Flow Country. And the midges were out in force!”
Of the 310 miles he ran he estimated a third was across country, a third on tracks and sheep trods and a third on road.
In the central belt he climbed Tomtain Hill.
“It was quite extraordinary you could see both Edinburgh and Glasgow,” said Mr Godfrey-Faussett.
“I loved the bit between Comrie and Loch Tay, it was stunning scenery. There were fantastic moments further south but the cloud was heavy around Tummel Bridge and Schiehallion. The Atholl Forest was just glorious and I loved the trip across the Moray Firth – that was a great highlight.”
Another highlight for the first four days was being met by his family at the end of the day. His sons Fergus, 12, and George, 8, ran short distances with him as did the family dogs Bella, a Scottie, and Bindy, a Jack Russell, on track sections.
“I really didn’t know what was going to happen each day and I came across things such as the big cairn to John Loudon Macadam marking the site of his tar kilns up a hill. It was fun coming across all sorts of these things.”
However, it wasn’t all fun. He was attacked by black capped gulls at one stage.
“It was like Hitchcock’s The Birds and I’m glad I had my stick – I swatted them: but that was quite a low point. Another low point was the second day when I only did 17 miles.”
But every other day he ran longer than a marathon over all sorts of terrain: “My body was so shocked!”
One night he and his wife arrived at a hotel so late that there was nowhere open to eat – “We had a pot noodle in our room” – and then next day he ran 26 miles to the Atholl Forest.
John Gunn completed the challenge on the Friday but Mr Godfrey-Faussett still had more than 40 miles to go and completed the race on the Sunday.
Then the adventurers met Benjamin A Drew, a US astronaut who was on the Space Shuttle Discovery’s final mission earlier this year, and he gave them a signed a photo of himself.
Mr Godfrey-Faussett thanked employers Rathbones, Caledonian Clothing for his shirt, Lisa Niven for physio help to his achilles and Richard Thomson at Kindle Design for the MadHaT logo.
You can still donate to Mr Godfrey-Faussett’s causes at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/madhatchallenge