…or strictly speaking Harwich to Mistley, as for logistical reasons I decided to do this last section in reverse. In any case, I’d already experienced the walk into the end at Harwich on the Secret Archipelago Expedition last March, so even if I had opted for the big climax by the sea, it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise. Ultimately, doing it east to west meant I could squeeze in a last camp, and moreover a camp in a marginally more inspiring place than the corner of a farmer’s field or the middle of a wood.
After all the shenanigans getting ready for my art exhibition at the start of the month, and then helping a friend with her exhibition which immediately followed mine, I’d managed to rack up a couple of months without any significant time in the outdoors. Other than a brief snatched camp out locally, but then a tent hidden between a farmer’s field and a landfill site is hardly quality outdoors. It was high time I got out into the hills.
The forecast for the next couple of days was markedly better, and it seemed a shame not to take advantage. So I made plans to stay another couple of days. This would be solo though, as Paul had to go … Continue reading Getting Back On The Horse: Part 3 – Pole to Pole
The plan was hatched, with anxious looks at the weather forecast several times a day. Ok for a couple of days then a brief bad spell at some point over the weekend. It was good enough to book the train … Continue reading Getting Back On The Horse: Part 2 – Dartmoor Bimbles
I set off today with the “dreaded” (by some) Fetteresso Forest ahead. My only concern is not getting tripped up by the tendency of forest tracks to not quite match what the map says. First on the agenda is Kerloch, … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2018: Day 13 – Glen Dye to Fetteresso Forest
Repeating the trick of not laying down to sleep until properly tired worked again last night, but it does have the side effect of making it a late start. I’m just finishing my packing up when Graham happens by, as … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2018: Day 12 – Fungle Road to Glen Dye
Yesterday’s company got me through the day I know would otherwise have broken me, but today I have low expectations for accompaniment. The original plan was to attempt to get to Tarfside in a single day, including an ascent of … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2018: Day 11 – Ballater to Fungle Road
I wake in the bosom of my fellow Challengers, for the first time this trip. It’s long overdue and with it the recognition comes that this has been a lonely Challenge so far. There’s been a couple of days (ok, … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2018: Day 8 – Glen Feshie to Geldie Burn
The noise of a vehicle on the track alerts me to a possible interruption. They’re clearly checking me out as the noise is not moving. Then all of a sudden they’re gone. Panic over. Continue reading “TGO Challenge 2018: Day 7 – Not Far Past Dalwhinnie to Glen Feshie”
I’m not enjoying the Challenge. There I’ve said it. Something is lacking. I’ve seen very few people, and it feels like a lonely one this year, and that’s even before taking account of my missing walking partner. We’d have eaten up the miles on the walk if there’d been the two of us, but solo it’s a much different proposition. Of course it’s lacking the novelty and excitement of my first Challenge last year. But now I look back and reflect on how good a route I put together last year. It had everything – sensible daily chunks (well mostly), plenty of other Challengers, scenery I actually got excited by, and better re-supply options. This year has none of them. I’ve screwed up. Continue reading “TGO Challenge 2018: Day 6 – Dalwhinnie to Not Far Past Dalwhinnie”
I’m awake early, with the knowledge that I’ve got quite a distance to cover today, and am walking for 8am. Gerry is camped up a couple of hundred metres down the track and we chat for a while before I … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2018: Day 4 – Black Corries to Loch Ericht
A bit of light rain is falling, timed to coincide exactly with me packing away the tent. It’s that infuriating sort of rain that’s too light for the warmth of the jacket, but too heavy to go without. A few hundred metres up the road I switch to my windproof which is a relief. The day is grey and after yesterday doesn’t hold much promise. The murk doesn’t entice me to climb up to the Lairig Gartain that I was at one point last night so keen to do. Continue reading “TGO Challenge 2018: Day 3 – Glen Etive to the Black Corries”
A lovely fine and warm day greets me, accompanied by the sound of water gently lapping close by. Six feet away there’s a bit of loch that wasn’t there last night. I soon see, though, that it’s retreating, although this does beg the question how close it actually got to me during the night! Continue reading “TGO Challenge 2018: Day 2 – Loch Etive to Glen Etive”
This year, not having been bullied into signing out early, I’m downstairs in Oban youth hostel just a few minutes before 9am, and sign out for that time. I then linger a few minutes and find myself talking to David from Dartmoor. About Dartmoor, of course.
The pair of us cross the road to the “beach” and head to the water’s edge for the feet dipping ceremony, where we are joined by Willem and Leendert. Continue reading “TGO Challenge 2018: Day 1 – Oban to Loch Etive”
Things were looking good: the forecast was encouraging, workdays were slotted into place, and I was ready to drift off to Dartmoor for a few days of backpacking as a warm up for the big event, just as I did … Continue reading Making it up as I go – The pre-TGO Challenge shakedown trip