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.
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…
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.