TGO Challenge 2012 – A reflection

I’m sitting in the sun updating my blog.  The weather has been sunny and hot for the last week and it’s almost too hard to remember how miserable it was during the first week of this year’s TGO Challenge.  There was water EVERYWHERE.  The burns were torrents.  The roads were lakes.  The boggy bits were swamps.  My dry clothes were damp, at best.  Parts of my route depended on good weather and fordable burns; Ha! No chance!  My morale dipped and I was beginning to wonder why I was doing this.  Then….. the sun came out!

The two Sundays were a complete contrast.  The first one was constant rain and wind; the second was blue sky and sun.  This was the day I’d planned to go fairly high (by my standards) and I was able to divert back onto my planned route.  I had a great day, and the next one was just as good – walking a ridge with amazing views of the snow-capped mountains, all around, in the distance.  (That day went a little awry later on, when I got lost in The Forest of Dead Things, but it was only a minor setback really and my gashed leg soon healed!).

I was disappointed that the first week’s weather had affected my mood so badly.  Hey, it’s only a bit of rain – pull yourself together; but I wonder if I would have carried on if I’d woken up to more of the same on the second Sunday?  It didn’t help that I had pain in my back, wrist and ankle at various times; oh, I can be such a wimp.

I finished in Collieston, which is about halfway between Aberdeen and Peterhead and calls for quite a bit of road walking towards the end.  Also, the proximity to the Conference Centres of Aberdeen meant that I couldn’t find any accommodation after the second Sunday ….. and I’d been hoping to have a shower in the second week (whether I needed one or not).  With a B&B on the first night, two hostels, one hotel, a bothy and nine nights in my tent, I think that’s the most I’ve camped on a TGO Challenge.

My kit produced variable results.  I think plastic bags would probably be more effective than Sealskinz socks and I may get round to sending them a letter . . . . or maybe their definition of “waterproof” differs from mine.  My Icebreaker top is an amazing bit of kit and I’m planning to buy a short-sleeved version for when the sun is out and I’d like to extend my tan past my wrists.

Parts of this year’s Crossing were definitely an ordeal and I had to just keep plodding, but I think I said that last year too.  Collieston was a beautiful place to finish and made the road walking worth it in the end.  That was my sixth TGO Challenge and, whilst I’m not interested in the numbers, it does seem to have become something that has become a part of my life and I’m sure I’ll be applying again as soon as the application form is out in a few months time.


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13 Responses to TGO Challenge 2012 – A reflection

  1. Robin says:

    Well done for finishing.

    I think Sealskinz are rubbish. Goretex socks are much more effective but difficult to find now that Rockys are no longer available in this country and Trekmates have stopped making theirs.


    • Judith says:

      Hi Robin. Sorry to hear you didn’t finish – but I look forward to getting round to reading your account. I think it was August before I finished writing mine up last year!
      I do have a pair of Trekmates which I found in a clearance bin a couple of years ago. I found they weren’t 100% effective, but I shall try them again as they have to be better than the Sealskinz.


  2. Martin Rye says:

    Who knows what next year will bring. Well done on this time and get the application in again.


  3. AlanR says:

    Hi Judith,
    you can buy Goretex socks here at this link.

    I have both sealskinz and the Goretex but i cannot recommend either.
    Old sealskinz leaked and the new ones are ok until they start to wear or your toe nail cuts through the inner etc. But, they are much more comfy than Goretex which bunches up and can cause blisters on a long walk.
    You can check out Gore socks at most decent cycling shops.
    Also, consider thin neoprene. like these

    But 2mm would be better than 3mm.

    Glad you are enjoying a bit of a break now. Hope this helps.


    • Judith says:

      Hi Alan. Hm? That’s an interesting idea – wetsuit socks. I do already have a pair of wetsuit boots so maybe I should take them for river crossings and boggy days! Thanks for the links.


    • Just catching up on the TGOC postings.
      So many to read inc mine 🙂
      Have to say that the Gortex Socks are NO longer available and haven’t been for about 1½ years.
      Maybe army surplus stores.
      I used neoprene socks for cycling years ago.
      But they never really kept my feet that warm.
      Then again, that was on a bike.


  4. Carl Mynott (@Locomountaineer) says:

    Judith, it was lovely to finally (and briefly) meet you at The Park. I’m glad we both finished and will certainly (subject to clearance from my lovely wife) be applying again, even if not in 2013.

    Keep posting.


    • Judith says:

      Hi Carl. Yes, it was great to meet you – and thanks for the encouraging tweets during the walk. I’m hoping to start writing up my trip at the weekend, so keep reading!


  5. David A says:

    Really enjoyed your pics and reflection Judith! Sealskinz – some hate them, but the good thing for us Inov-8 wearers is that when you take Sealskinz off at the end of the day, even if your feet are ‘moist’ they are still clean!!! This is VERY IMPORTANT, esp when you are so tired that it s huge effort to get out of your tent to go to the nearest burn for a wash. A couple of baby wipes suffice!


    • Judith says:

      Thanks David. That’s a good point about the Sealskinz; clean feet. I’ve recently bought some Neoprene socks and look forward to my next walk through nasty boggy stuff. The Neoprene won’t keep my feet dry but maybe it will keep them warm? Worth a try.


  6. You finished your write up as early as August?

    Well done!!!


    • Judith says:

      Yes, Jeremy – less than three months after the event! I enjoyed reading your account; well worth the wait and, since I’m starting from Morar, it gave me a few ides.


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