TGO Challenge 2015 – Route Review Days 10 to 14

River Tilt, still trying to find somewhere safe to cross

River Tilt, and I’m still trying to find somewhere safe to cross

At this point last year on the TGO Challenge, my head gently started to steer thoughts towards the coast. This year was different, I wanted to delay the finish as long as I could, pack in as much as possible.

Before that however there was the little matter of finding my last five days food which I’d hidden over a month earlier near Baddoch Burn over 20 km east of Glen Tilt. And to get there I first needed to find a place to cross the river. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2015 – Route Review Days 5 to 9

Sunset from camp at the end of Day 7 below Carn Gorm

Sunset from camp at the end of Day 7 below Carn Gorm

If I had to choose a favourite part of this years TGO route I’d take liberties and say the whole of the middle four days. But ahead of those there was the matter of that appalling weather which had arrived on day 3. It was still there thrashing around my tent as I awoke on day 5 and showed no signs of blowing itself out yet.  Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2015 – Stats and Random Facts

Meall Mor, on the ridge between Cona Glen and Glen Scaddle

Meall Mor, on the ridge between Cona Glen and Glen Scaddle

After last years mammoth (lazy) write up which took a staggering 9 months to complete, I’m taking a different tack this year and writing a few themed posts rather than a blow by blow account of each day. This is mainly because this years TGO was very different to my first, a quite solitary affair, and so the walking itself was a very personal experience.

I’ll probably write a post on the route itself, another on how gear faired etc…but let’s start with some stats about the trek and some random factoids. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2015 completed


Yesterday I finished the 2015 TGO Challenge at Dunnottar Castle on the east coast of Scotland.

This was my second TGO Challenge and in almost all ways couldn’t have been more different from my first coast to coast crossing last year. I’d planned a high level route this time, and that combined with more extreme weather, some high winds and cold air temperatures made it a much more challenging trek. Continue reading

Rekindling a Friendship – Heart of Snowdonia 24 Peaks Circuit

Camped on Pen Lithrig y Wrach

Camped on Pen Lithrig y Wrach

I spent much of my 20’s and 30’s in Snowdonia, having gone to Bangor University in the mid 1980’s and living in North Wales for 15 years after graduating. In that time I must have walked, scrambled, rock climbed and ice climbed routes many times over, forwards, backwards and in all weathers. And in all truth it’s fair to say that by the new Millenium I had grown tired of the area.

Going back last weekend to backpack the arduous ‘Heart of Snowdonia 24 peaks circuit’ after 10 years away has rekindled the friendship I have with this special place. It is without doubt my favourite mountain area in the UK. And the circuit ?……it’s a beast. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Days 12 & 13 : Coast bound and blinkered


With the best of the walking and scenery now behind, I guess I will be forgiven for applying the blinkers and taking a beeline for St Cyrus Bay.  And so begins the last days in my TGO report. A little over 12 days in the walking, a little under 200 days in the blogging. That’s got to be something of a record. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Days 10 & 11 : A busman’s holiday.


I am a roaming Highlander, a native of Braemar
I’ve often roamed the valleys around by Lochnagar
I’ve often ranged the valleys in spite of all command
But now I’m bound to sail the seas unto Van Diemen’s Land
(The Braemar Poacher)

Well I’m not sure about heading for a Tasmanian Penal Colony, but a few days from the coast the sea was calling. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Days 8 & 9 : Bear Grylls and the Chuckle Brothers

A rare moment of serious reflection for the Chuckle Brothers

A rare moment of serious reflection for the Chuckle Brothers

The next couple of days would be a very sociable affair, walking with the Chuckle Brothers and the man who taught Bear Grylls everything he’s forgotten about wilderness navigation. It was also when a new piece of kit acquired me; A homing hat ! Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Day 7 : David Williams I presume ?

Day 7s

Route Day 7 : 34 km

After six days of relative solitude, pitching for the night on a grass verge amongst a small sea of TGO challengers in Dalwhinnie marked a watershed. By the end of today, and one last stretch walking alone, I’d enter the sociable side of the challenge and begin to realise what makes the TGO so special. Continue reading

2014 – A year in review

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Miles walked: 810 (short of my 1000 mile target, but doesn’t include 266 miles of evening TGO training walks)

Longest trip: 220 miles  on the TGO challenge

Nights under canvas: 22 (not nearly enough)

High point: Laughing over a pint with the Chuckle Brothers until it hurt, in Braemar on the TGO **

Low Point: Doing an accidental back flip into a deep peaty ditch on day 1 of the TGO

Best days walk: Second day of the Limestone Lion from Malham to Grassington on a gloriously sunny spring day

Most expensive piece of kit purchased: Z-Packs 20 degree sleeping bag

Best piece of kit purchased: Vivo Barefeet ultralight trainers

Piece of kit I actually didn’t need to buy: All of it…it’s pure indulgence

Gear purchase excuses I used : (I) Orange is no longer fashionable. (ii) My life may depend on it, (iii) This one goes to 11

What I did too much of : Looking out of the window and deciding to wait until the weather was better

What I didn’t do enough of: Getting out while the weather ‘was’ good ** Not the Chuckle Brothers, obviously.