TGO Challenge 2014 – How did it go?

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.

Right……. dinner!


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9 Responses to TGO Challenge 2014 – How did it go?

  1. Martin Rye says:

    Well done and glad it was a good crossing.


  2. Robin says:

    Dry, comfortable feet. Ecco boots. If you don’t believe me, ask Alan Sloman.They are also very comfortable on hard tracks. The mids give a lot of ankle movement. They are quite light for boots as well. My feet have never over heated either.

    I failed to proof my Paramo before going on the Challenge. It wetted out in places but didn’t leak. I always carry a hard shell as well.


    • Judith says:

      Thanks for the tip about the Ecco boots, Robin. I’ve just read Alan’s blog and he does seem to rave about them. They look HUGE and heavy though – although anything bigger than a pair of Inov8 pumps now seems heavy to me.
      With Paramo I do expect to get wet in very heavy rain but that doesn’t bother me too much because the wind-proofing stops me getting cold. However, the area under my right rucksack strap was absolutely soaked, so I think I ought to check that there are no holes or failed seams – then clean and reproof again.


  3. Laura says:

    First write up of 2014 – well done, enjoyed reading it, and I suppose I now ought to start writing my own…..hampered by a severe lack of a diary (kept forgetting to do it) and hardly any photos (cranky camera which stayed in the rucksack most of the time)……maybe tomorrow! Somebody mentioned food………


    • Judith says:

      I write a few lines of a diary each day and I only forgot to do it once on this trip. Unfortunately I only noticed I had a smudge on my camera lens after about 5 days so lots of my photos look like it was a foggy day. Grrr. 😦


  4. Louise says:

    Great write up Judith, enjoyed that (nobody should ever mention any kind of shortcut, or nipping, popping, trotting, etc.,) I may have shed a pound or two myself, enough to make my trousers feel loose, but I’m doing very well at not eating like a horse. Except for the cake. But it was my birthday…
    See you next time!


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