Friday, 7 December 2012
TGO Challenge It’s All In The Mind
It may be possible, of course, that many blog readers who aren’t already booked onto the 2013 TGO challenge will, by now, be heartily sick of blog posters who have places or who are high up on the standby list. What with all their gear talk and everything, I can see that this could well be the cause of many an eye to glaze over a bit.
But it’s not about gear and how light you can get your toothbrush or your tent pegs, or stakes or whatever you want to call them– it is, in fact, all in the mind. If it isn’t within your constitution to ignore the snow and the wind and the rain and the heat and the regular alcohol overdoses, then no matter what state your feet are in, you won’t make it to the other side.
You have to relax. You have to leave your watch at home. You have to forget the pounding forwards damply day after day and learn to sit and have a brew and watch the world go by. Only by this mental model will you arrive in a happy state at the other side. Forget the route. Forget the hill ticks and the miles to be covered each day. This is the way to failure. Ignore the driving snow and the contour count and have a lie-in if the drizzle is sizzling on your flysheet. Whatever it is you wanted to do can be done later, or changed, or cancelled or, in other words, managed.
The wildness doesn’t rush. The wildness has a slow and relaxed rhythm. You will get there. don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about being behind the herd. They’re going too fast. They will hurt and some will fail. Get some scoff inside you and melt into the way of the hills. It won’t necessarily be easy, but you can battle on and soak up the hardnesses and the pains in the toes.
Me and Dawn are going to have another crack at the TGO next May. We have a route up for vetting. We even have beds booked in some places. We have a plan. I expect that the plan wont stand up to reality in the end, but trying to bend reality to a plan made six months in advance is the road to oblivion. That’s what happens.
Actually, out of eleven previous TGO Challenges, this will be the first one I haven’t done solo or with one of my easily-controlled children.
So, we may, or may not arrive at the other side. If we worry about it too much, we’ll likely fail. Actually, Dawn has much more experience of backpacking in Scotland than me and our early morning body clocks are more-or-less in tune, which is a major consideration, so I’m optimistic, nay, expectant.
But I bet you forty pence, a bag of crisps (salt and vinegar) and a night out with either Kylie Minogue or Clint Eastwood (as was) that we’ll be in Montrose without too much damage at the end.
Or possibly not.