TGO Challenge memories

I’m in that “waiting for my Vetter’s comments” limbo stage of TGO Challenge planning.  Already there are parts of my route I want to tweak – but I shouldn’t really change any of the detail until I know whether my Vetter suggests I actually look at the maps and start again – and so, to fill the void, my mind has been drifting back to memories of good, bad, and just wierd experiences on my 7 previous Challenges.

In no particular order, here are a few thoughts…

Yummiest dinner  Oh, so many!  Invergarry 2012 was special – a long wet day followed by Real Ale, starter, main course and the best cheescake ever with a little jug of cream.  I had to roll back to the hostel.

Worst dinner  Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps.  Glenfinnan; 2006. TGOC1. Day 1. I blame the Black Hole of Beoraid.

Real life intrudes  Turning on my mobile phone after a couple of days in the wilds to find a message from the bank to say my card had been stopped because of unusual activity.  Good job I had enough cash to pay for lunch at the Brig O’ Turk Tearoom.  (Egg mayo sandwiches and a fruit tart, yum!)

Nastiest bog  Two days between Inverness and Grantown on Spey. Hard work.

Chattiest Landlady  B&B in Grantown on Spey.  “Yes, I’m sure every part of your establishment is delightful but I have just spent two days crawling through a bog and I would like to have a shower then wipe peat all over your lovely white towels”.  No, I wasn’t quite rude enough to say it; I just thought it whilst smiling weakly.

Friendliest darts team Feughside.

Best Frittata  Feughside.

Longest loch in the entire world  Loch Ericht

I’m-going-to-throw-my-rattle-out-my-pram moment   Dalwhinnie, 2008.  Pre-booked room not available on arrival; finally get into room at 8:20pm. Food served until 9:15pm…… until they change their mind at 9pm and say the kitchen was closed.  I was not happy. (But they did give me free beer and a free packed lunch, so it wasn’t all bad.  Yes, I can be bought with hummous sandwiches).

Best bothy toilet  Corrour

Best bothy toilet no. 2, er, I mean “runner-up”  Glas Allt Shiel

Random acts of kindness

1. Wullie jumping out of his car and thrusting half a packed lunch in my direction.

2. Mint tea and dates at the Lazy Duck campsite in Nethy Bridge, because I’d walked in and looked like I could do with some refreshments.

Best chip butty  Corrour Station

Best view So many to choose from, but looking down on Loch Monar after coming through the Bealach an Sgoltaidh was special.  My 2nd TGOC and the first time I’d truly “gone wild”.  I couldn’t believe my good fortune at being in such a beautiful wild location.

I think I’ve probably walked in prettier, starker or more overwhelming scenery but I still recall the emotion of that first taste of wilderness.

Best wilderness Monadhliath.  Please Mr Salmond, don’t let them ruin your wild places.

Glorious shadenfreude  Bumping into Martin and Poor Michael on my way to Mar Lodge.  At last, someone who was wetter, tired-er and more fed-up than me.  Hee hee hee!

Most annoying ear-worm I love to go a-wandering, Along the mountain track, And as I go, I love to sing, My knapsack on my back. Val-deri,Val-dera, Val-deri, Val-arrrggggghhhhhh, somebody stop it!

…. or maybe Nelly the Elephant after reading this sign…

It's Mandally, not Mandalay,  "To Bombay, a travelling circus came.....

It’s Mandally, not Mandalay, “To Bombay, a travelling circus came…..

Things that remind me of the TGO Challenge

1. Bee Gees songs. I heard of Robin Gibb’s death while I was in the Allargue Arms

2. The scent of anti-bacterial hand-gel

3. Squirty cheese

Oh, I could rattle on like this for hours but that’ll do for now.

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9 Responses to TGO Challenge memories

  1. Robin says:

    Hopefully that view of Loch Monar will be what I’m looking at towards the end of day one on the 2014 Challenge 🙂


  2. Inspired Judith.
    I must have a think of my own list.

    I cannot remember the song that drove me nuts last year.
    And please, please, please don’t remind me. 🙂

    Loch Monar Robin.
    The second longest loch after Ericht? Actually, it seemed longer.


  3. But my best meal was Duck in Orange sauce at a 5* hotel in Braemar back in 1995, on my 1st Challenge c/o Lucy’s parents who were staying there.
    Mind you the Happy Highlander used to do brilliant Fish and Chips.
    And once upon a time there was the Whisky Shop there too.


  4. louse4 says:

    What a jolly good read, I loved that! And it’s so true, that first feeling of real wildness is so memorable. Mine was as I forded the Choillich and climbed the bealach that lead into Glen Affric. It was murky and dreich and atmospheric and wonderful. I could run with this!


  5. Martin B says:

    ‘Glorious shadenfreude’ – Poor Michael will feel honoured to have been of service, or was it me you were referring to? Anyway it was a delight to meet you on such an auspicious occasion…

    ‘Auspicious occasion’?


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