TGOC2018 – A photo a day – Day 13 – The End – Peterhead harbour

This year I’m going to write a blog post for each day of my TGO Challenge crossing and base the post on one photograph from that day.  The photo won’t necessarily be the most stunning scenery but will be something that triggers memories for me.

Day 13 – Thursday 24th May 2018

Peterhead Harbour

Peterhead was not the prettiest TGO Challenge finish I’ve ever had but it reminded me of Birkenhead in some ways and I felt quite at home.

After a walk round the commercial port part of the town – where there was nowhere I could dip my feet in the North Sea – it was good to find the harbour and have a paddle.  The weather was cold and windy and I’d been wrapped up warm for the 4 hours it took to walk the last 16km to the coast.  I’d had some pleasant company from a local, Bill, for the first 20 minutes and his tips on what I’d see along the way had helped me mentally measure out my progress.

I was delighted to find Brew Toon Microbrewery & Café Bar right next door to the bus station.  The weakest beer was, if I recall correctly, 4.8% but I managed 2 pints and two plates of food.  I needed the calories!

Advertisements
Posted in TGO Challenge | Tagged , | 5 Comments

TGOC2018 – A photo a day – Day 12 – A day of two feasts

This year I’m going to write a blog post for each day of my TGO Challenge crossing and base the post on one photograph from that day.  The photo won’t necessarily be the most stunning scenery but will be something that triggers memories for me.

Day 12 – Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Rock cake, tea and lemonade at Maud.

I had high hopes for rest stops today and I was not disappointed.  6 miles to Cuminestown which had public toilets [and I signed the petition to keep them open], an excellent grocery shop and a bench on which to sit while I ate my feast of a sandwich, bag of crisps, cup of tea and a choccy bar.  The tea wasn’t the best [I think the machine’s lines were still full of Milton] but it was a treat to rest in the shade while I ate my meal and watched the manure wagons going past.

Then there was a 9 mile stretch to Maud which also had a shop but – better than that – had a café which was open until 3:30pm so was still serving when I arrived at 3:15pm.  I sat at an outside table, with my shoes off and my feet raised, while I ate my rock bun and drank my tea and lemonade.

Then it was just 3 or 4 miles along the Formatine and Buchan Way to Aden Country Park and the campsite.  I saw a GoLite rucksack outside the shop so expected to be caught up by another Challenger but nobody appeared either on the old railway track or at the campsite.  My last Challenger had been at Tomintoul on the Sunday morning and I would see no others until I reached Montrose on Thursday.

Posted in TGO Challenge | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

TGOC2018 – A photo a day – Day 11 – Muck

This year I’m going to write a blog post for each day of my TGO Challenge crossing and base the post on one photograph from that day. The photo won’t necessarily be the most stunning scenery but will be something that triggers memories for me.
Day 11 – Tuesday 22nd May 2018

If you’ve read this far you’re probably wondering just how bad today is going to be. I mean, you’re probably picking up on the fact that I was having a pretty tough time on this year’s TGO Challenge. I admit that I wasn’t skipping along gaily but my cold had all but gone and my perseverance on the really tough days had reminded me that I CAN DO THIS, so my mood was much improved. Light drizzle all day kept me in my waterproof trousers but I was pleased to walk 30km in just over 8 hours with a break for a cheese wrap in St Margaret’s churchyard in Forgue.

The photograph shows farmland and a pile of steaming / smoking (?) cow muck. I was wondering if it had been set alight or does it generate enough heat by itself to start smoking? Over the next couple of days, I saw several tractors pulling wagons of steaming poo. Where do they take it? Were they moving it away from where they didn’t want it? Or to somewhere where there is a market for it? These are the important questions which fill my mind on a long distance walk.

Whenever I see a pile of manure it reminds me of the last camp on my second TGO Challenge in 2007 when I asked a farmer if I could pitch in the corner of his field right next to a huge pile of dung. He said yes.

Posted in TGO Challenge | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

TGOC2018 – A photo a day – Day 10 – Lost in the mist at the end of a long day

This year I’m going to write a blog post for each day of my TGO Challenge crossing and base the post on one photograph from that day.  The photo won’t necessarily be the most stunning scenery but will be something that triggers memories for me.

Day 10 – Monday 21st May 2018

Clashmach Hill trig point on the way to Huntly

A planned 31km day which should have now been a little shorter after the new windfarm had pushed me on a couple of extra km the previous day – but the small patch of forest between Blackwater Lodge and Ardwell (NJ3529) added delay and distance.  It was difficult to tell whether I needed to go up the hill or down the hill to enter the firebreak which would take me directly East through the forest.  I ended up going N to the missing bridge at NJ 35706 30205 then picking up the track.  Despite an early-ish start I was now running behind my planned schedule but I still found time to call into the tearooms at The Grouse at Ardwell.  The Daugh of Corinacy was a slog through bracken and gorse but then I had a supposedly simple 18km mainly on forest tracks to Huntly.  Boy, the forest was boring.  It  went on and on with no opportunity to look at anything but hard tracks, trees and 15mph speed limit signs which were totally ignored by the small number of wind farm vehicles which passed me.

It was a relief to eventually emerge from the forest but the weather had now taken a turn for the worst.  It was only light rain but it had soaked my shoes and socks.  My feet were sore; my back was aching and I had a lump developing on my spine.  I was getting fed up and I just wanted the walking to be over.

The cloud was very low and – despite being very near to Huntly – I couldn’t see the town.  I walked on a bearing up Clashmach Hill.  It was good to find the trig pillar as it now meant it was all downhill from here and I couldn’t get lost.  Pah!  I don’t know what happened but I found myself on the wrong side of a new high fence going Northwest when I should have been going North East-ish.  There was no way I could climb the fence; not only did it have two strands of barbed wire but I was absolutely exhausted.  I retraced my steps until I found a gate then walked through a narrow path through the prickly gorse until the road to Huntly.  I didn’t want to take a single step more than I had to, so booked into a hotel rather than go the extra 1km to the campsite.  I then spent half an hour wrapped up in bed trying to warm myself up before I had the strength to have a shower.  Tough day.

Posted in TGO Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

TGOC2018 – A photo a day – Day 9 – Rest and be thankful

This year I’m going to write a blog post for each day of my TGO Challenge crossing and base the post on one photograph from that day.  The photo won’t necessarily be the most stunning scenery but will be something that triggers memories for me.

Day 9 – Sunday 20th May 2018

Tomnavoulin (or Tamnavulin, if you like)

As I walked the Speyside Way and Glenlivet Estate paths towards Tomnavoulin, I daydreamed about the options for rest, food and drink which awaited me.  It would be good to have a proper break there.  There was a Post Office marked on the map, so maybe there would be a shop – perhaps with a little café?  I created a mental priority list of how good Tomnavoulin’s facilities were going to be.  At the top of the expectations list was a café with pots of tea, slices of thick toast with lashings of butter, and flush toilets with hand basins with warm water and perfumed soap.  Or maybe there’s just be a small shop in the Post Office.  They’d have a hot drinks machine and I’d sit outside on the bench with a cup of tea and a sandwich.  Or, if there was no hot drinks machine, at least I could buy a bottle of lemonade.

Knowing that it was better to set my sights low to avoid disappointment, my simplest expectation was a bench on which I could sit and eat the cheese roll from my rucksack and drink the water I’d brought from Tomintoul.

Arriving at Tomnavoulin I found that the shop had now closed for good and the Post Office operates out of a converted church [left of photo].  It was closed.  There was no bench. Well, there was a bench but it was through a gate near the Post Office / Church and I wasn’t sure if it was intended for passing weary travellers or belonged to a private residence.

I plonked myself down on the grass, took off my shoes and tucked into my cheese roll.  Oh, well! It was Sunday, so maybe I was expecting too much, and at least it wasn’t raining.

Posted in TGO Challenge | Tagged , | Leave a comment

TGOC2018 – A photo a day – Day 8 – Where’s the water gone?

This year I’m going to write a blog post for each day of my TGO Challenge crossing and base the post on one photograph from that day.  The photo won’t necessarily be the most stunning scenery but will be something that triggers memories for me.

Day 8 – Saturday 19th May 2018

A very dry bog

My feet got very very wet today.  In fact, so did my knees.   The section between the forest and the road at Ballinluig, crossing the Allt Choire Odhair, was very boggy and at one point I found myself trapped in some dry, dead trees and unable to move because of the surrounding bog.  Then there was a steep climb up to the road, and a fence climb.

But once I was crossing the open land again, along Leth allt Beag and over Carn na Cloiche, the ground was incredibly dry.

On reflection, I should have filtered the water I drank at White Bridge (NJ133209).  No harm came to me, but I was carrying a filter and with water levels so low why take the risk?

Posted in TGO Challenge | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

TGOC2018 – A photo a day – Day 7 – A well ventilated Speyside Way hut

This year I’m going to write a blog post for each day of my TGO Challenge crossing and base the post on one photograph from that day.  The photo won’t necessarily be the most stunning scenery but will be something that triggers memories for me.

Day 7 – Friday 18th May 2018

I found this interesting hut – or what was left of it – off the Speyside Way North of Nethy Bridge. It was so small; what sort of building of that size would need a fireplace?

This was one of my bite-sized days: Boat of Garten [Mmm! Cheesecake!], Nethy Bridge [Mmm! Ginger Beer!], then the Speyside Way to hopefully find somewhere suitable to camp.  I was finding the going quite hard but knowing that I had natural breaks planned helped with the mental challenge.

There were occasional information and history boards along the Speyside Way and I was unhurried enough to take an interest in the (partial) buildings I saw along the way.

Posted in TGO Challenge | Tagged , , | 3 Comments