In January 2016, Jen Crook and her best pal, a black lab named Haggis, will set off on a 550-mile trek across Scotland, from Gretna Green on the border with England to Cape Wrath at the northern tip of the country. Jen, a film-maker, photographer, climber, and general adventurer, says the idea developed from the thought of going for “a wee walk in Scotland this winter to get free phys for Antarctica training” to doing the whole of Scotland over two months!
The trip will serve as training for an expedition Jen has planned for Antarctica in 2017, where she will attempt to walk from the edge of the Antarctic land mass to the South Pole and back: solo, unsupported and unassisted. Haggis will be joining the adventure through Scotland and keeping Jen company on their self-sufficient trek, which she expects them to complete sometime in March 2016. And since they both love hills, Jen and Haggis’s route will take them across as many of Scotland’s mountains as possible.
When Jen adopted her furry black companion two years ago, Haggis was unsure of herself, under confident, unresponsive to her name (which wasn’t Haggis) and had huge patches of stress-induced alopecia on both of her hips, which the vet thought would never disappear (but they did!). Haggis was also morbidly obese and very unfit. Over the months following her adoption, Jen worked with Haggis, using lots of reward-based, sensical training that bonded the pair as lifelong adventure companions. Jen watched as Haggis’s confidence grew and she became comfortable in her own skin. Now five years old, Haggis is full of confidence and personality, loves all people and is also very fit. “I can’t wait to give her the time of her life on the Scotland expedition,” said Jen.
These days, Jen and Haggis do almost everything together. Haggis especially loves long walks, chasing tennis balls (and sometimes sheep), swimming, and tummy scratches.
Learn more about Jen and Haggis and follow along with their Winter Slog across Scotland here.