I thought my more recent friends and readers may be interested to read about my first 4 TGO Challenges – ie from before I had a blog. Back in the olden days, I used to read (and contribute to) the Usenet newsgroup uk.rec.walking. Being a text-only newsgroup, my Trip Reports (TRs) were simple summaries of my walks and I posted my photos on another site.
Assuming that I can find my TRs from 2006 – 2009, I shall post them here. So, let’s start with 2006…..
From uk.rec.walking 27th May 2006:
I’ve just completed my first TGO Challenge, walking from Lochailort to
Lunan Bay. At the end of each day I made a few brief notes. As usual
with my TRs these notes tend to be personal rather than exciting tales
Day 0. Left home at 0705; due to arrive in Lochailort at 1717. Missed
connection in Glasgow so was put in a mini-bus and reached Lochailort
at 1700. Went to “sea” and had a paddle.
Day 1. Lochailort to Glenfinnan. Stepped outside the hotel, first
thing, and heard the legendary Challenge “Gockoo”. Long tiring day.
Started walking at 9am and finished at 9pm. Got lost in a tree-filled
gully. Boggy. Weather was hot. Dinner was a pint of Carlsberg
Export (as the 70/ was off) and a bag of crisps.
Day 2. Glenfinnan to Corran/Inchree. Beautiful walk through Cona
Glen. Another long 9am till 9pm day. Saw a deer skeleton; made me
jump. Saw highland cattle – made me jump again! Very sore feet – red
areas on the back of both heels. Wore (socks &) sandals for the 5
mile road walk down to the ferry once I came out of the Glen. Just
made last food order at the bar. Lovely comfy double bed in the
Day 3. Inchree to Kinlochleven. Traipsed 14 miles along the road,
rather than my planned route cross-country, to rest my legs and feet.
Rain. Tent up by 3pm and went shopping for blister plasters and tape.
Found a tick on my leg.
Day 4. Kinlochleven to Inveroran. South down the West Highland Way all
day. Long climb out of Kinlochleven. Lunch at Kingshouse Hotel but
not particularly hungry. Rain all day. Tent had been packed away in
the rain so still soaking when I put it up at Inveroran. Just managed
to catch last food order …….. managing to have beer every night so
Day 5. Inveroran to Crianlarich. Put tent away damp but not soaked.
Passed dozens of WHW-ers going the other way; a mix of “normal”
walkers and miseries! Feet very sore. Tomorrow’s route could be
tricky but Crianlarich YH’s manager/warden very knowledgeable and
helpful – a former TGO Challenger.
Day 6. Crianlarich to Killin. Decided to use Foul Weather Alternative
– not so much because of the weather (although it is still raining)
but because my feet are sore. Back of right heel has rubbed raw –
plasters keep falling off. Survived 6 miles of the A85 before taking
a farm track and minor road/lane. Removed another tick this morning.
Had two pints of “Bitter and twisted” with dinner; feel better now!
Day 7. Killin to Acharn. Along South Loch Tay road to Acharn. Brief
showers but able to wear shorts and no waterproofs for the first time
in four days. Sandals and socks. Feet need rubbing every couple of
Day 8. Acharn to Aberfeldy. (Rest day). Followed planned route to
Aberfeldy. Lovely moorland-type walk. 10 miles – just right.
Saturday night and everywhere is full so am camping on a Corporation
campsite full of kids! Has been dry for last couple of hours but
pouring down again now; typical.
Day 9. Aberfeldy to Birnam. At 7am I dried the outside of the tent.
Later I dried the *inside* too. I’ve never really noticed the
infamous Akto condensation problem when camping in the (windy)
mountains. Mainly forest walks today and mainly dry until the last
couple of miles.
Day 10. Birnam to Alyth. Mainly roadwalking although managed to get
lost in first hour. Right-knee hurting. After last night’s luxury
guest house I am back in the tent tonight. Was planning to stay in
Blairgowrie but pushed on to Alyth. One other Akto on site; it
belongs to another Challenger.
Day 11. Alyth to Forfar. No rain until I decided to put up the tent.
Slightly ahead of schedule. B&B booked in Letham (5 miles away!) for
tomorrow so can have a lie-in
Day 12. Forfar to Letham. Very lazy day – almost feel guilty. Only
walked 5 or 6 miles but lovely weather and could have gone a lot
further. An old chap stopped his car to advise me on a shortcut to
Arbroath. He could tell I was a Challenger. He’d done it 8 times and
had been a vetter but had stopped now that he was geting on a bit (ie
93 years old).
Day 13. Letham to Lunan Bay. All road walking to Lunan Bay. Seemed
to take forever but got there at 1:30pm. Paddled in the sea, took a
few photos and phoned in to Challenge Control. The 1.5 mile walk to
the bus stop was awful; no idea if there *was* a bus stop or when the
bus would come! 40 minutes wait passed quickly as I ate everything
left in my rucksack.
Reached Montrose and followed the ruck-sacked hoards to the Park
Hotel. Just missed the Challenge wedding. At Challenge Countrol I
met PeeWiglet and various other Challengers I’d either chatted to
on-line or had met at the Spring Gathering a couple of months back.
Was given my T-shirt, badge and certificate – and a cup of tea and a
biccie. Spent a couple of hours chatting with people then checked
into my hotel to prepare for the dinner.
Summary. This really was a “challenge” for me. Yes, I did quite a
bit of road and track walking, rather than going off-piste and over
the tops, but I still found the physical effort of 15 or 16 miles
every day, with a full pack, for day after day very demanding. I
found planning the route very difficult, partly because I was
*definitely* not taking a tent and was going to stay in hostels/b&Bs
etc. When I decided I *would* take a tent, I should have scrapped my
route and started again – so I ended up with a wierd route that many
Challengers would regard as a bit boring. However, it is all
experience under the belt and I now know that I am capable of walking
just shy of 200 miles in 12.5 days carrying 14ish kg. I’ve never done
any LDPs and now feel I could cope with any of them!
I took a few photos along the way and there is a selection in the
TGOC_2006 folder in [edit: original link is now dead but the photos are here]