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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Pieman and Son’s TGO Challenge #2

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After surviving a wet night by the River Loyne, which was only slightly more full in the morning than it was last night, we bade farewell to the Barnard Castle Ramblers “A” Walk and paddled off over the bealach towards Tomdoun in heavy showers. Tomdoun Hotel is now a posh house, although not yet occupied but the International Communications Hub aka phonebox is still there and, I dare say, somewhere there’ll be a post box too.
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I was missing LTD somewhat and Larry The Gull wasn’t much of a replacement as he was always somnewhat distant, either high in the sky or being mobbed by crows. My supply of life-supporting chocolate bars had suffered no further damage, apart from being scoffed at brew-stops and the interval between showers had increased to seven minutes, so, all was well with the world and we made good progress in an approximate Easterly direction till we arrived at Faichem campsite some seventeen miles later. Not too long later, a taxi arrived and me and The Lad and two oher TGO challengers (who had arranged the taxi) were off to the local hotel for a quite expensive dinner and severalteen pints of frothy. Other TGO challengers, including JJ, accompanied by an infected Shetlander were also in there.
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We walked with them the next morning to Fort Augustus. The Shetlander generously shared his upper espiratory tract infection and I spent the next few days attempting to sneeze, cough and pour boiling water into a food pouch all at the same time. Or sneeze, cough and urinate to leeward. Or sneeze, cough and swallow porridge. Or sneeze, cough and not knock my new stove over.  This did not always go well. On the upside, Larry was heard to screech in the way that seagulls often do when spotting an open bag of chips in, say, Hartlepool or Whitby and then sneeze from high above in the way that seagulls almost never do. He was last seen heading West, coughing in the general direction of a magpie and, what appeared to be a Caledonian version of a carrion crow. (Thats the grey one). The attractiveness of the perfumed food bag (the Big Bag) to wandering mammals – you know – cats, dogs, foxes, mice and so on, remained and even the choccy bars still had a pescatarian edge to them. (Look it up!)
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And so, after fish and chips and some light shopping, where we met Chrissiedixie on a rest day,  me and The Lad investigated stove shops. There was just the one. The lad inside sold me a Camping Gaz stove wot you can take the canister on and off (marvellous what they can do nowadays) and, as we were now officially ahead of oursevles, after a pint we marched off up the Corrieyairack to Blackburn bothy, which was full, so we camped outside. I had to buy the canister, obviously but I still had a full Primus one which seemed that it was just going to be dead weight. But for now, the stove problem was solved.
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The next couple of days were intended to be a wild traverse over the high land to Newtonmore. And it was. Mainly anyway. We began in warm sunshine which soon deteriorated into a fierce Southerly gale with driving rain, which pushed us on over a few minor tops and the odd Corbett to Lochain nan Sidhean where the weather suddenly calmed down. A bit higher than our camp, though was a new road, driven across the face of Meall na h-Airse at roughly the 800 metre mark and on which tipper trucks, rollers JCBs and vans were seen to be trundling backwards and forwards. The traffic stopped at six o’clock and only restarted as we crossed the road the next morning, a frosty, sunny, promising sort of morning. Several drivers waved cheerily. So much for the wilderness.
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The next section was still wild, though and we hopped from hill to hill till Carn Ban and then dropped down into Glen Banchor to a B&B, beds, showers, pub food, a parcel of socks, maps and breakfasts and lots and lots of TGO challengers. Some locals, enjoying a  night in the pub and enquiring as to the meaning of the letters “TGO” went away with the idea that it meant “Two Girl Orgasm”. No idea where they got that notion from. Look – I’d had a beer or two, right? I should probably apologise. This wasn’t my worst by the way…. Whoops…
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The next day would be day 7. We had covered 89 miles out of 188. Almost, not quite half way, but crossing the A9 and the River Spey always seems like halfway.


Andrew W said...

But... But....
I only entered the Challenge because I thought it meant Two Girl Orgasm.
I've been back 12 times now trying to find this elusive thing, and now you tell me it stands for The Great Outdoors?

Yours thoroughly disappointed Cambridge.

Nice post by the way.

Dawn Linney said...

Cracking post Mike, brilliant photos. It is with bated breath I await part three!

chrissiedixie said...

I get a mention aswell! :D

Geoff Crowther said...

Great stuff...if lacking in kippers...