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 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 training : They Went Up Like Men! They Came Down Like Animals!

Being born lacking either the sports spectator or the TV repeat enthusiasts gene, I don’t need too much encouragement to remove my carcass from the couch for a spot of exercise. The thought of a training schedule however will normally have me inventing some excuse for avoidance, like the urgent need to rearrange my sock drawer.

Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 – Heading south to scratch an itch

I can always rely on my wife to ask a question for which I don’t have a ready made sensible answer, even though I know that’s all she wants.

The first 4 days of my route.

The first 4 days of my route.

Recently she’s been asking why I appear to be heading south for four days at the start of my TGO route when the east coast of Scotland lies…well, in the east ? Am I just being difficult as usual ?

So for the sake of completeness I’d probably better explain, but bear in mind that she didn’t buy this  reason either. Especially as my pathetic attempt at an answer started with ‘Well it all started 30 years ago…’ Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 – Vetters comments back. Our survey says WET !

Well the Vetter’s comments about my suggested route are back, and it looks as though I could have picked a drier route underfoot in Waterworld.

Selected comments from different days include;

  • the open ground can be very wet as you will be crossing a flood plain
  • can after periods of rain be very wet and boggy
  • prone to be very wet and boggy
  • it IS wet and boggy
  • can become flooded………

So let’s get this straight, what I appear to have planned is a 200 mile walk through this !

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TGO Challenge 2014 – my Route Sheets submitted

Well after months of deliberation, routing, re-routing and laptop crashes I just made the deadline for submitting my Route Sheets for the TGO 2014.

As a TGO newbie I think I badly underestimated the number of evenings I thought I’d need to get the pre-planning done. I mean, how hard could it be I thought. I get the train up to some place on the west coast of Scotland, turn to face roughly east and then put one foot after another for about 200 miles until the land runs out and your feet get a briny wash.

Yeah right !   Continue reading