Sue Oxley and Ali Ogden took over as coordinators of the Challenge in 2014 and are your first point of contact. Sue is a 17-time Challenger who completed her first crossing in 1982 and for several years held the record for the longest time taken to achieve 10 crossings! Ali completed her first Challenge in 2000 and her 11th crossing in 2019. Both are keen walkers and backpackers, who have completed solo walks from Land’s End to John o’ Groats (a youthful Ali in 1990 and a less youthful Sue in 2010).
Sue and Ali met on the 2004 Challenge and have walked together on several Challenges since. A fledgling plan to open their own accommodation business took shape while completing their 2009 crossing and in 2012, along with their husbands they bought Newtonmore Hostel. Sue and Ali believe they are the first people to have met on the Challenge and subsequently gone into business together.
In 2020 Kelsey Media gave them the opportunity to acquire the Challenge which they have done through their company Scotia Challenge Ltd. They don’t see themselves as owners, more custodians who as Challengers themselves will aim to look after the Event so it can be enjoyed by Challengers for many years to come.
We have 15 route vetters. All are volunteers who give copious hours of their own time to review routes every winter. They all have many crossings to their name and plenty of other experience in the Scottish hills as well. Some have worked as professional guides or been Mountain Rescue volunteers whilst other wander the hills and glens in their free time.
Every year either Sue or Ali will lead the Challenge Control team whilst the other will participate in the Challenge. They will be assisted by three or 4 volunteers. Again they are experienced Challengers who know well both the Challenge area and the trials and tribulations of a Challenge crossing so can offer support whenever needed.
There are a whole host of other volunteers who give time back to the Event they cherish and make the Challenge possible. Some run St Drostan’s Hostel at Tarfside whist other offer support in the background helping with art and design, health and safety procedures and the design of this website. All they get in return is a guaranteed place whenever they want to participate and the heartfelt thanks of the Coordinators and the Challenge family.