You know when you've waited and waited for something, and when it actually comes, it's a little bit of an anti-climax ? That. This is not to say I didn't enjoy the Challenge - merely to say that I built up such expectations of this one that they were never all going to be fully … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022: Reflections
Darren and I agreed a meeting time last night, and I'm there a few moments early as Darren is walking over from his camp spot. That worked well. We cross the Cowie and head south to Hill of Quithel. As we go, and come into phone signal range, I'm messaging Brian. Brian had been stalking … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022 – Day 15: The End
The X-Mid dweller turns out to be Immo, a chap we've seen before on the trade route into Braemar. He's not in great shape and talking about getting the bus to Aberdeen. We make some encouraging noises about "seeing how you go", and leave him to it. Just along from the campsite entrance lies a … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022 – Days 13 and 14: Slow Down and Enjoy
Ah, day 11, my nemesis. For some reason the day leaving Braemar has always been troublesome for me. On my first Challenge in 2017, I made the mistake of regarding Braemar as the point when I knew I'd make it, and fate unleashed itself on me - I got knocked off Carn of Claise by … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022 – Days 11 and 12: Down the Dee
Day 10 can only mean one thing - Braemar. I've been through there on all 3 of my previous Challenges, and the prospect of the annual visit typically fills me with a heady mix of feelings: anticipation; concern I might not be able to resupply everything I want; concern for the existence of the parcel … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022 – Day 10: Disappointments
Crows. Crows. More Crows. The noise coming from above the tent finally stirs me into getting up, after laying awake listening to them for ages. There's a fair bit of time to kill before setting off today, as Darren can't retrieve his laundry from the drying room until 8am, and can't return the key and … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022 – Day 9: Trade Route
Close the gap. Don't stop. Don't look back. We opt for an 8am start due to the amount of ground we're aiming to cover. It's an easy 3km down the track to meet the road. Darren has forged ahead while I dither taking photos and generally faffing about. I reach the road and he's nowhere … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022 – Days 7&8: The Blair Pitch Project
The rain slashes down for much of the night - definitely the worst night yet. I had to adjust my door configuration twice to successively hunker the tent down more. I wake to find daylight poking though a small hole in one of the doors. I've not idea how it happened, but almost certainly I … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022 – Day 6: Behind Again
Last night was not a very sheltered pitch, and the tent was reeling under wind yet again. As we pack up it starts raining - even though we've largely extricated ourselves from our previous spot of bother, the weather has not given up the battle. It is, however, an easy walk along the track, penetrating … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022 – Days 4-5: Headwinds
There aren't many midges and they're not biting yet, is what I was hearing before the Challenge. But, in the time it takes to pack up, I'm covered in midge bites. And boy are they itchy ones. It's a relief to start putting one foot in front of the other. We are now firmly on … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022 – Day 3: Redemption
Although it's only day 2, we're already in trouble. We're 6km behind a plan that gets steadily harder, requiring successively longer days, and now in a serious game of catch-up. Add to this the uncertain perils in front of us that need to be overcome, and the knowledge that it's possible we might not be up to it. We could still find ourselves scurrying back west with our tails between our legs.
...We look down at Loch Beoraid, a swathe of trees barring progress down the steep hillside. Even getting to the edge of the trees looks perilous. Already I'm starting to wonder if we should have considered the ridge route, even though we (meaning I) chose not to so as to "give ourselves an easier first … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022 – Day 1: The Misadventure Brothers
Getting off the train in Fort William brings further realisation that the Challenge might actually be happening... Cold, windy and wet is Fort William. We've seen the conditions the early Challengers set out in, and enthusiasm levels are on the floor...
This is the Index Post to the 2022 Challenge, my fourth crossing. DayDateFrom/toDist (km)Ascent (m)Cum Dist (km)Post link-435 to 0Thu 12 May Home to Fort William000https://backpackartist.com/2022/06/14/tgo-challenge-2022-days-435-to-0-a-long-wait/1Fri 13 MayFort William / Lochailort and kinlochbeoraid1555515https://backpackartist.com/2022/06/15/tgo-challenge-2022-day-1-the-misadventure-brothers/2Sat 14 MayKinlochbeoraid to Just Past Glenfinnan1949134https://backpackartist.com/2022/06/17/tgo-challenge-2022-day-2-escape-from-the-black-hole/3Sun 15 MayJust Past Glenfinnan to Glen Righ3046864https://backpackartist.com/2022/06/19/tgo-challenge-2022-day-3-redemption/4Mon 16 MayGlen Righ to Kinlochleven23601875Tue 17 MayKinlochleven to Loch … Continue reading TGO Challenge 2022: Lochailort to Dunnottar Castle
A look back at some stand out days of backpacking. Today we go back to May 2018 and the TGO Challenge. That year my route started in Oban, and took in Glen Etive, Rannoch Moor, Dalwhinnie, Glen Tromie, Glen Feshie, Ballater, Glentannar Forest, Fetteresso Forest and Stonehaven. An unexpectedly solo route after my walking partner … Continue reading Best Backpacking Days #3 – Rannoch Moor to Loch Ericht