Before moving on to pontificate on whether or not the 2013 TGO will be my final challenge, or certainly not my Final Challenge (for those who expressed worry for my health) (but we all have to go sometime) I will report briefly and in a style specially designed for peeps with short attention spans (those that are still reading) (I really like doing asides with lots of brackets) (but I expect it can get irritating after a bit). I’ve a couple of things to say about the experts that you meet on TGO challenges and similar events and also something to say about how the freedom of the hills doesn’t always transfer to the freedom to talk about what happens on walks in the hills and I’ll do these things later at my discretion. You’ll have to wait. I’m waiting, in fact, for thoughts to crystalise…
On with the TGO.
This is the first two days in which we set off hopefully and about which Dawn has blogged on her blog post which she titles “failed”, but about which Dawn supporters don’t really consider a failure – and what happened after that. Dawn’s post is here
I’ll do the TGO in a few bits of two or three days. The whole walk was 211 miles and 28000 of yer Queen’s feet of ascent and the first two days is just 21 of those and 6500 feet of horribly congested contours (so – comparitively tougher than the rest of the walk.
We start in the Lammermuirs and Dunbar for reasons which will never become clear.
Monyut Edge in the Lammermuirs may be an unusual starting point for a TGO challenge. Nice windmills by the way. Soon, all Scotland will look like this.
Mallaig Harbour. Our boat is the one they’re not bailing out. Stayed in Sheena’s Bunkhouse.(booked by Dawn) Came not very close to winning the quiz in the boozer.
A Good Start. In The Forge Inverie. Other people appearing in this pic were also heading for helicopter flights quite shortly.
Into the hills – weather looking TGO-ish
Then it rained – but going well. This is the slog up to Mam Barisdale bealach. Dawn is hunkered down under her hood I think.
Soggy campsite at Barisdale. In all the excitement I failed to take a picture of the bothy. Me and Dawn were in the bothy. Dawn not very well at this point and me, using the keeper’s skype phone, having long and detailed discussions with Police Scotland and a dry cleaning company in Inverness (wrong number) (but they’d do a deal on a suit….). Keeper not happy either – he’s dressed in just a towel and had three people idiots) a week knocking on his door with urgent problems such as sore toes and wet matches which is probably not his main motivation for moving somewhere as remote as this. His dog is very friendly, though.
Following yet more discussions with Police Scotland, a vetenarian practise in Inverurie and the duty sergeant in Fort William, a helicopter suddenly arrives and Dawn leaves for Broadford. Thanks to Colin Tock for the support, off-side suggestions the advice about taking yer hat off when approaching a helicopter.
Me and several people called Colin do the shoreline path to Kinlochourn. This is very hard going and it rains and sunshines alternately. I have a kind of sinking feeling most of the day. This is Skiary. (not the sinking feeling, the little croft thingy) All the Colins walk faster than me and whenever I’m thinking of not trying to keep up they stop and wait. I’m not specially happy at this point, to be fair.
Further along the coast. This Colin is called Tock. His Trekkin Tips are Triffic. Huge pack!
The best bit of the shoreline path near the end. At the end is Kinlochourn Hereby lies a tearoom. Never pass a tearoom, that’s what my Mum always told me. (actually, she had an unnerving interest in the state of my underwear, but I’ll pass over that for the benefit of all….)
This is probably Loch Quoich or something. I was plodding by this time and had lost the will to renew my backpackers club membership. The word was “Aaaargh”
There comes a time to pack it in, and this was it. I found a dry bit on a breezy little ridge with a fine view that I couldn’t be arsed looking at. This is not Glen Tilt by the way, for anybody thinking of doing the joke… Look, I was tired, see? I was probably falling over at this point. I was attacked by ticks in the night and Kylie failed to turn up with the tins of cider and the crisps. Dreamt that I’d forgotten how to play Cm7 and that I’d left my car in Dunbar. Actually, I Had left my car in Dunbar…..