"The award seems to have inspired only a few......"
I don't know about inspired, but I've certainly been interested in it. It's quite an investment in time, money and effort getting to and walking across Scotland, and I've been keen to get as much return from it as I can, but it's difficult to be inspired if all we know is that there is such an award and who won it. We don't even get to see the route sheet let alone a detailed account of the route. I wouldn't want to follow somebody else's route for obvious reasons, but it would be interesting to see the award winning routes and hopefully get inspired by the strategy rather than the route.
"The feeling at the post-Challenge vetters' meeting was that the carrot had failed and it was time for the stick."
After four Challenges I get the feeling that a flask of single malt might have worked better than a carrot.