A satisfyingly weighty ‘plop’ through the letter box this morning brought the excellent news that Mike and I have been accepted for the 2011 TGO Challenge backpack across Scotland.
I can’t really believe our luck, this being my fifth Challenge entry and the fifth time I have ‘made the cut’. This year there were 440 applicants for 330 places. I was disappointed not to find friend and neighbour JJ #3 on the list, nor Mick and Gayle #4, or even the irreverent Reverend (aka David) #1. Hopefully they are high on the list of reserves.
A number of other bloggers appear to have been successful, so come next May armchair enthusiasts may be able to tune in to Tony, James, Louise, Geoff, Andy, Phil, Laura, Martin, Shirley or even Alan to gauge how well a random selection of participants are managing to potter across Scotland. Not all of them will have the energy to make postings as they go across – some prefer to write up their experiences later, at leisure, but I know that readers of these particular pages prefer the ‘what’s going to happen next’ uncertainty of daily postings from such trips, so this blog will be posted ‘from the coalface’ so to speak. It could be interesting as Mike has only backpacked properly for two days in the past 40 years #2.
The picture above was taken on the morning of Day 2 of the 2009 Challenge that I completed with Sue. We had camped comfortably at NG 871 001, below Luinne Bheinn at the head of Coire Odhar, a much more sheltered spot than Mam Barrisdale, near where Robert Slade had finished up bivvying due to problems getting his Akto tent up in the wind and rain. He was not too cheerful when we saw him later on Day 2; he was wet. We had warm, dry feet. It’s on occasions like this that the decision to wear waterproof boots rather than lighter trail shoes seems to be a ‘no-brainer’!
#1 – reserve number 23, that’s good news, he’ll make it in.
#2 – so his Black’s Good Companion tent, even older than my Phreerunner, may need to be replaced!
#3 – great news – JJ is reserve number 11. He will be there.
#4 – more good news - M+G are also high on the reserve list.