Here she is! After loads of research, reading reviews and asking people their thoughts and experiences, I've kitted the bike out with what I hope is going to be the most efficient equipment for the job.
The bike now weighs just under 20kg including all the extra kit. Almost double the bike's original weight. I'm really happy with this because my last event (The Leeds & Liverpool Canal) had me carrying over 28kg, and that was for a two day trip! The difference this time is that all of the carriage weight is in the bag and panniers rather than on my back like last year. That mistake cost me chronic saddle sores that took weeks to heal.
The biggest challenge I faced this time, even before I set off next week, was exactly what I would need, the best kit for the bike and how much space I would need for my stuff. It's difficult to find answers when people have different opinions based on their own personal experiences. Then when I have an idea of what I need there's the question of which I choose. For example, which of the 30 odd puncture resistant tyres do I buy? Which of the dozens of racks and bags is the best for me?
I'm sure many people who decide to do these long cycle expeditions for the first time must have similar problems. Therefore I've dedicated a couple pages to what I bought and why. Just click my Bikes and Equipment pages. My final choices came down to practicalities, value for money and the highest amount of positive reviews from other buyers.