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Friday, 7 December 2012

TGO Challenge It’s All In The Mind


d2 glen affric 1
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.
aa day 3 camp
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.
day 4 loch lundie
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.

15 comments:

Brian Cowling said...

Excellent.

Winner of my Inspirational Blog Post of the Year Award.

Prize is a bacon butty and a steaming hot cuppa if I could figure out how to send it to you.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_yorkshire/6538643.stm (Experts spent 1,000 hours testing different variations)

Dawn said...

We will be there. Travelling in plodability mode.

Mike Knipe said...

Well, Brian, it's nice to see "scientists" doing some proper work for once. But the temperature requirements seem a bit vague. They need to tighten that up a bit.
Ta for the comment by the way...

Hmmmm.... bacon (dribble)

Laura said...

Nicely put.....

Martin Rye said...

Are you sure you know what you're doing applying for the TGOC Mike :) All that walking, alcohol, rain, and what ever else comes with it at your age.

Enjoy and I will see you at the end.

Gordon Green said...

Good words and true, Mike.

It is amazing what folk can put up with and survive. They may well end up miserable and regret they ever started out on a backpacking trip like the TGO.

But, the key to enjoying an event like the TGOC is, as you say, having the right attitude of mind.

With the right attitude, one persons misery can turn out to be another's enjoyment.





Oldmortality said...

Hmm. You dont need to look far from this very spot to read a blog post saying that the Challenge is all about time constraints, not sitting out bad weather, and having the right kit.
Different strokes,eh? :-)

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Trevor Woodford said...

A good philosophy for life as well as the TGOC I would say Mike....
It's one I try to use on all my outdoor activities walking or cycling...
Enjoy and I am sure that you will make it the end....

-Trevor

Phil said...

With the right attitude, one persons misery can turn out to be another's enjoyment.

Ah yes, Schadenfreude. One of the greatest pleasures that the challenge has to offer.

(that was what you meant, wasn't it, Gordon?).

Louise said...

Well put.

Gordon Green said...

Yes, Phil. :)

Alan R said...

Hear, hear. But who's carrying the potatoes, cheese, sausages, bread, onions, frying pan, whisky, and there's more!
My backs not recovered from picking up your rucksack in Wales. Ha.

Dawn said...

Not me Alan, no frying pan, potatoes, sausages or bacon. Mind, we may find a bannock and a nice bit of cheese?

dibble said...

I love the philosophy in your words. Excellent stuff... awe inspiring...

FellBound said...

Brilliant stuff Mike. I finally got this on yesterday's Chally training walk. Quite a tough day in the Lakes but I kept repeating your mantra and it worked. Mind you when I woke this morning it definitely appeared to be more in the calves and shoulders than in the mind so I have told my muscles they are liars and will do another walk later.