TGO Challenge planning list

It’s April.  That means that the hour has gone forward, the days are lengthening and the TGO Challenge is only a month away.  My TGOC planning is constantly at the back of my mind and it’s now time to start to get everything ready for the big day.  Bloggers (and their readers) seem to like lists, so I make no apology for recording this mental checklist here.

In no particular order…….

  1. Tent – check:- poles for splits; stitching; zip runs freely; pegs and condensation sponge are in the bag.
  2. Stove – Buy new gas cannister and check it works. [Done]
  3. Refill lighters.
  4. Check all clothing for wear and tear.  Buy new socks if necessary [Done].
  5. Put new batteries in torch, GPS and radio.
  6. Wrap one set of spare batteries in a plastic bag.
  7. Charge up camera and phone batteries and spares. (One of the last things to do.)
  8. Tidy up phone memory to make it easier to find new photos that I want to tweet or blog.
  9. Create some blog email templates to save time entering all the tags etc when blogging during the crossing.
  10. Refill: Liquid soap, shampoo, suncream (Ha! Hope over expectation).
  11. Check Use By date on insect repellent.  Take it anyway.
  12. Start to run down a tube of toothpaste so there’s just enough….. or remember that I picked up a sample size from the dentist.
  13. Double wrap some toilet paper in plastic bags. (You really don’t want it to be soggy when you need it.)
  14. Plan meals and resupply shopping lists.
  15. Buy food for between the start and the first resupply point (Fort Aggy)
  16. Put porridge into serving-sized individual bags.
  17. Count out enough teabags, spoons of instant coffee and dried milk to get me across Scotland.
  18. Print off any booking confirmations for accommodation.
  19. Write useful information, like potential foul weather accommodation, on my route sheet.
  20. Find out how to get from my finish to Montrose…. and write that on my route sheet.
  21. Take a copy of my route sheet and put it in a plastic bag in the internal pocket in my rusksack…. just in case.
  22. Mark up my route on the maps.
  23. Rub out the last 8 routes from the maps!
  24. Put any useful grid references in my GPS – and make a note of them on my route sheet.
  25. Print out Vetter’s comments and keep with route sheet.
  26. Buy cheese.
  27. Work out when I’ll be able to send maps home.
  28. Look up this year’s cost of sending maps home.  Wonder whether it’s cheaper just to start a bothy fire with the used maps and buy replacements when I get home.
  29. Address and stamp enough A5 envelopes to return the used maps – and write which maps go in each envelope on the envelope to avoid any embarrassing “Oh dear, tomorrow’s map is at the bottom of this Postbox” moments.
  30. Print of some Guardian sudoko and crossword puzzles for the journey and any spare moments in the evenings when I’m still mentally capable of doing them.
  31. Wash and proof my Paramo smock.
  32. Check that my Inov8s have still got 200 miles left in them.
  33. Check train times – both for going and coming back.  Write them on my route sheet.
  34. Pack rucksack on the (early) Bank Holiday Monday.
  35. Wake up in the middle of the night on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and add a just-remembered item to the rucksack.
  36. First Aid Kit – check all items for Best Before date and usability, eg nothing leaked or damaged.  Part of me resents chucking out antiseptic wipes and dressings just because a nominal date has passed….. but if a few quid every couple of years means that I can Steri-Strip my leg back on then it’s probably worth the cost.
  37. Buy two packeta of ibuprofen in each of three separate shops. (To foil the limits on how many you can buy in one transaction).  Hm?  I wonder how many calories are in one ibuprofen tablet?  Maybe I could eat fewer nuts?
  38. Weigh all of my clothes pegs and take the lightest 5.  [I really wish I was joking.]
  39. Refill whisky hipflask.
  40. Put nuts, chocolate and fig-rolls (a change from last year’s garibaldi) into day-sized portions.  [Last year I even worked out the calories of each portion and made sure I ate my full ration every day.  I tend to under-eat when I get tired, so a bit of planning and discipline make this less likely.]
  41. Consider buying some extra data for my phone in advance.

I reckon that’s all of the important stuff…. and quite a lot that’s completely trivial.  I’ve done enough walking to know what I need and it’s only in the final couple of days before I set off that I will write a list of the last few items or tasks.  I’m quite a nervous packer and always think I’ve forgotten something but as long as I have my tent, sleeping bag, matress, mug and train tickets I should be OK.  I can busk the rest. 😉

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16 Responses to TGO Challenge planning list

  1. JohnBoy says:

    You’ve just reminded me what job I need to do tonight. I’m slowly ticking things off a mental list, but sure to forget something (like sending a parcel). What I can’t figure out is why I do so much planning for the TGO, and yet every other backpack of the year I just decide to go a couple of days before and pack the night before. The big job left is printing off all the maps so each day fits on a single A4 2 sided sheet. It taxes my PC printing skills to the limit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judith says:

      Hi John. I have considered printing maps rather than carrying the full OS LRs, but my printer is on its last legs and I also like to have a mapping safety margin in case I (accidentally or deliberately) wander off course.
      As for the excessive planning, I spend 50 weeks of the year looking forward to the TGOC – and the OTT preparation is all part of the fun!


      • louse4 says:

        I print the maps and carry the full OS LRs aswell. Also have Viewranger on my mobile (turned off, buried in my pack, just in case…) Ho hum.


  2. Robin says:

    What could possibly go wrong? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Theo says:

    Nr.29 : have you REALLY done that ?


    • Judith says:

      Hi Theo. No, due to my sophisticated system I have never posted home tomorrow’s map . . . yet.


      • alan.sloman says:

        I have.
        It wasn’t funny when I was sorting my kit out the next morning in the B&B. I winged it across the Moanies and it was actually quite invigorating! Fortunately I had done quite a bit of that part of the route a few years earlier.
        I often wish I could do a crossing with no maps at all…

        No.s 11 & 36 – Yes – all the time, apart from not being as fastidious as you about dates for 36.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Judith says:

        Monadhliath without a map? Blimey. The Elfin Safety would have you arrested!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gayle says:

        I use A4 print outs and I clearly remember the occasion when I had to go rifling through the campsite bins to try to locate tomorrow’s page, which I’d accidentally discarded the minute I took it out of my packet of upcoming map pages.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. louse4 says:

    Hahaha quite brilliant! And very similar to my very own list. Not long now!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John J says:

    You have A Plan? I’m seriously impressed!


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  7. AlanR says:

    Well done Judith but as a seasoned challenger you know it now by heart. Just a tip about toilet roll, God forbid! If you buy a roll of the Plenty kitchen stuff and then cut it down the middle into std toilet roll width you will have very strong but soft tissue that doesn’t disintegrate when you most need it. Especially when the atmosphere is damp every day. (Hope its sunny for you).


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