Reflections on the TGOC 2014, in preparation for 2015

Not lost.....just checking....honest !

Not lost…..just checking….honest !

Entering for the TGO Challenge last year was, of course, meant to be a one off. If only life were so simple, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

So here at the start of 2015 I find myself reflecting briefly on last years crossing as I plan to do it all again in 2015. Continue reading

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

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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.

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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

TGO Challenge 2014 Days 5 & 6 : Going ‘relatively’ ultralight

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This is the life……

The sun continued to shine over the next two days bringing a spring to my step and seeing the miles fly by. Even after cramming my rucksack full to bursting with a resupply parcel at Spean Bridge I was still able to kid myself that I was ultra-lighting…..relatively speaking ! Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Days 2 & 3 : Walking Barefoot

Day 2 – Iron Lodge to Loch Cluanie : 26 km

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Happy as a pig in muck in my Vivo Barefeet

Rain had bounced off the tent almost constantly throughout the night, at times very heavily. Luckily the breeze hadn’t changed direction so I remained cozy and dry under the Trailstar.

I’d sat up until late the previous evening sipping the odd drop of whisky and watching a steady stream of wet looking TGO challengers heading to camp at Iron Lodge, with a few carrying on west over towards Loch Mullardoch. These were probably starters from either Dornie or Sheil Bridge. One day into the TGO and I was already crossing over the paths of people starting from more southerly points. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Day 1 : Waxing lyrical

Strathcarron to Iron Lodge (‘ish) :  29 km

Not to put too fine a point on it, my first day of the TGO involved me wetting myself from the inside out.

Carrying 12kg of kit, and 1kg of impregnated G-Wax.

Carrying 12kg of kit, and 1kg of impregnated G-Wax.

In anticipation of a bog trot I’d spent the last few evenings before the TGO impregnating my boots with an entire tin of Grangers wax, brutally forcing in each application with my wife’s turbo hairdryer until they were screaming for mercy. I don’t care how hard Scottish water thinks it is, it wasn’t getting through my boot leather.

However to anybody planning to apply similarly liberal quantities of wax to your boots, be careful what you wish for! Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 – Preamble : Musings from a challenger in rehab

Journeys End

Journeys End

I’ve been back home now for a week since completing the TGO, a week which has seen me clear the house completely of every last scrap of food in an effort to fend of what can only be described as an unnaturally large appetite. I’ve been shovelling calories down my throat faster than Sainsbury’s can home deliver it. All sorts of junk has been devoured and yet here’s the curious thing; I didn’t lose an ounce on the walk and I never felt hungry! So why the sudden hunger now? Continue reading