Thanks also to any Challengers who may read this, for helping to make this year's Challenge so friendly and sociable, and to Mike for keeping me company. It was great to meet Colin Crawford - my vetter, fellow bloggers Louise and Laura, and many other new and old friends at Montrose campsite and at the Park Hotel last night.
Mike and I only used two B+Bs - at Oban and at Bridge of Gaur, where Eddie and Heather's hospitality was unforgettable. We hope to visit you again soon.
The staff at Ballater, North Water Bridge and Montrose campsites were all very friendly and helpful, given their sudden bombardment by lots of bearded backpackers, Ballater in particular being extremely kind in letting 20 of us sleep in their back office rather than throwing us all out to find B+Bs in conditions that were too dangerous for camping.
An index for this year's postings will be provided in due course.
But for now, after yesterday's wonderful evening celebrating the successful conclusion of a Challenge in wet conditions, but mainly applauding Roger Smith's efforts as coordinator over the past 20 years, I'm already moving on to the next trip.
Today's image is one taken last Sunday from the summit plateau of Ben Avon.
Here are a few initial comments concerning kit:
Star performers: RAB SuperDru jacket, RAB Bergen overtrousers, and Sealskinz socks worn continuously for 8 days - no water ingress at all with any of these items.
Phoenix Phreerunner Goretex tent - used and abused for many years - slight ingress in a major storm was easily dealt with using a J-cloth.
Scarpa Infinity Goretex lined boots - these old boots were supremely comfortable, any slight seepage being easily dealt with by the Sealskinz socks that dried overnight.
Karrimor XXL dry bag (new) - the only dry bag used, for everything, and it worked.
Problems: Sealskinz gloves - very soggy when wet but dry inside unless you insert (with difficulty) wet digits. Not suitable for severe weather. Any suggestions?
Major concern: frayed hip belt, both sides, on Go-Lite Quest rucksack. This three year old rucksack has been worn for around four months in total. It's irreparable, so had a disappointingly short life despite good weight and comfort.
Ortlieb 2 litre water carrier - seam failure on this old piece of kit.
Avon Skin So Soft - turned out to have crystallised despite a 2012 sell-by date.
Lifeventure silk liner - worn seam at bottom - had to tie a knot in it; these liners seem less than durable.
Matches - didn't take enough! Bought a lighter at Dalwhinnie.
That's all for now from the 2011 TGO Challenge. Thanks for watching!
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