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Monday, 27 May 2013

Pieman’s Great Outdoors Challenge 2013 The First Bit

bruce watts ferry to inverie

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.

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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.

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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.

the forge inverie

A Good Start. In The Forge Inverie. Other people appearing in this pic were also heading for helicopter flights quite shortly.

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Into the hills – weather looking TGO-ish

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Then it rained – but going well. This is the slog up to Mam Barisdale bealach. Dawn is hunkered down under her hood I think.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Further along the coast. This Colin is called Tock. His Trekkin Tips are Triffic. Huge pack!

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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….)

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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”

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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…..


John said...

But I thought it was a YELLOW helicopter. My illusions are shattered. Oh tsk.
I hope Dawn is in recovery mode....we're all going to need a little trip I think.
More pies?

Wurz said...

I love a ripping yarn. It's making me smile anyway, is there much more misfortune to come? (Standfast that comment regarding Dawn, hope she was fine).

FellBound said...

That's a great write up Mike. Even better is the picture of the back of my head in the first photo. I always wanted to be famous :)

Alan R said...

What a start! Not what we were hoping for, or you two either. Glad Dawn is ok.
That’s not Skiary by the way, it’s Runival. I used to stay there many years ago when it was long term rented to a friend.
Skiary is the white croft between Runival and Kinloch Hourn which is a B and B. (Note for the future). Very very nice people.

Dawn said...

Mike and Colin, the pair of you did wonders, thank you both. Despite an 'expert' in the bothy suggesting I was suffering from exhaustion? It turned out to be a complex issue relating to my Parkinson's. The reason I was attempting to keep my hat on was that the helicopter was mussing up my hair.!! Fantastic photos Mike

Alan Sloman said...

Lord Elpus maintains that Scotland is very poorly arranged:

It's all big hills straight up from sea-level on the west coast where we start this bloomin' walk. The coasts are set about thirty miles or so too far apart for comfort and the bogs are inclined at ridiculous angles.

Added to that, the gross lack of public houses in the west and it all adds up to a very poorly organised country.

You did well to negotiate your way, Kylie-less, across such barren tracts.

Tony Bennett said...

The best bit of that shoreline path to KLH is the tea shop. Did the chap who runs it share with you his method of dealing with the midgies, which is basically to encase himself in a thick rubber suit.

So is the rest of this trip write up going to involve such high levels of tension and excitement? And will the multiplicity of Colins resolve themselves into a more manageable number?

Pleased to hear that Dawn is ok - and you yourself.

Laura said...

Waiting now for the next episode......(*spoiler alert*) I believe there might be a really good curry coming at the very end......

markswalkingblog said...

Not an easy couple of days for you with Dawn (I do hope she is OK) and the weather. I've walked that route the other way round in beautiful sunny weather and one of the best walks in Scotland in my opinion. Look forward to further tales of the TGOC.

Mike Knipe said...

Thanks each - the tale does , almost, end with a nice curry, but we'll have to wait to see if there's a resolution to the lack of an Australian singer.
See the next ripping episode as the Pieman makes his tentative way accross the badly arranged geography Scotland... will the porridge and whisky supply stand up to it... OOOerrr?

chrissiedixie said...

Obviously not quite the start you'd planned, but love the write-up!