I am so hungry. After 13 days of hills, bogs and long days and eating any food I could lay my spork on, I am now so hungry. I’ve lost nearly half a stone on this year’s Challenge – which is very good news – but I now have to remember not to keep eating like I’m on the Challenge.
The weather was amazing. I had long, heavy showers for a couple of days at the start but most of the time I had pleasantly overcast skies (so not too hot) and no rain…. apart from the last day which was awful but at least I knew I only had another 4 or 5 hours of it.
I had a good mix of wild and “urban”, although camping round the back of the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel still felt pretty wild. An interesting place!
As usual, I walked round the hills rather than over them but I did reach the top of one (Cnap Cruinn) and wandered very close to the top of some others. Thanks to Martin for leading the way and making a delicious curry at the end. [I’m sorry about the whinging about barbed wire fences, and if you ever suggest a shortcut through a bl**dy forest again I may get violent].
Some of my camping pitches were amazing – or maybe they just felt better than usual because the lack of rain meant I could keep the tent door open and enjoy the views.
My gear coped OK, although my Paramo smock leaked appallingly on the last day. I’d reproofed it in a rush (without cleaning it properly) a few days before I set off, so I’m glad I wasn’t relying on it to keep me dry earlier in the trip.
My feet were often wet and I shall continue in my search to find a way of having comfortable and DRY feet. I wore my neoprene socks on one day – and they do keep my wet feet warmer than normal socks – but dry feet would be so much better. I think I may try taking two pairs of Sealskinz socks as I know that they don’t keep me dry for long but maybe swapping the wet pair for a dry/damp pair would increase my comfort.
I wasn’t really looking forward to Dovecote/North Water Bridge campsite as I thought it would be crowded and fully of rowdy people. However, I think I may have turned out to be one of those rowdy people and I had a great time. [I do apologise to anyone who was trying to sleep!]
I had a few periods of wishing my pack was lighter, the trail drier and the distances shorter but, overall, I really enjoyed this year’s TGO Challenge. This was my 8th and I think I’m getting the hang of it.