Martin

Martin

Friday, 25 January 2013

TGO Challenge 2013 – A Route is Born

TGO Challenge route 2013

This week I finally got round to drafting a route for the backpack that takes place between 10 and 23 May.  Whilst it’s my seventh Challenge, I’ve managed to restrict any duplication with previous routes to just 3 km along the north shore of Loch Monar, where the route intersects my 2007 route

Moreover, of the 360 km (225 miles) that I’ll be walking, only about 20 km will have seen the soles of my boots before, so it’s pretty much all new ground.

I could surmise… ‘if I haven’t been there before, are these places really worth visiting?’ but time will only tell.  There’s a bit too much tarmac towards the end, but at least it’s ‘fresh’ tarmac.

My route is basically …. Plockton > Struy > Inverness > Grantown-on-Spey > Huntly > Turriff > Kinnaird Head (Frazerburgh), including around 11,500 metres ascent (6 Munros, 1 Corbett, 2 Grahams, 3 Marilyns, and 11 other hills).  It should be fun, but encounters with other Challengers may be something of a rarity!

Update:  By 1 February my route had been returned, duly vetted.  I got a map reference wrong, and have apparently chosen an aircraft wreck on which to pitch my tent at one point!  I hope the cockpit is intact!  See you in Montrose…

16 comments:

Louise said...

That looks a really interesting route! I might just see you somewhere along there. Briefly.

Louise said...

(Sorry in advance if there's anything to misconstrue there...)

Phreerunner said...

I'm struggling to misconstrue anything there, Louise, except that you may have somewhat strayed from your route if we do meet, other than in Montrose of course.

Louise said...

(Phew!)
I don't think I'll be going too far out of my way and I won't be lost, despite having to do my own navigation. I hope.

Sir Hugh said...

That looks a great route. I looked to see where it crosses my LEJOG, and the straight line I had to draw for want of detail went straight through Maol-bhuidhe bothy (NH 052 359) where I spent a memorable and enjoyable night. I reckon that is a pretty remote spot - I wonder if you plan to use that bothy?

Phreerunner said...

Whilst I considered going through there, Conrad, my plan takes me past Bendronaig Lodge and over the col between Lurg Mhor and Sheasgaich, camping the second night as close to the col as possible.
Whilst I have been known to stay in bothies, I generally find my tent warmer, cleaner and cosier...

welshpaddler said...

I am currently reading "Isolation Shepherd", which is based around Loch Monar, sounds a beautiful area

afootinthehills said...

Looks interesting Martin. I hope I'm not following your crossing from a hospital bed/home recovering after knee surgery!

Phreerunner said...

Isolation Shepherd is indeed a fine piece of writing about a largely bygone era, and it'll be a privilege to wander through that landscape, though I'm sure I'll wish I had the 'Spray' to hand.

Phreerunner said...

Gibson - I hope your knee isn't that bad! If it's just an arthroscopy you need you shouldn't need more than a few hours in hospital/bed!
Have you tried the 'kill or cure' approach?

Alan Sloman said...

Culloden & Clava Cairns are worth a detour.

You may well have company in the form of HMP3 for that section.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Alan, my route actually goes through Culloden Visitor Centre - for afternoon tea on 15 May, so no 'detour' is needed, then I'll look at the cairns before trying to find a spot to camp around NH 785 418.
It would be great to bump into HMP3 if he's around...
[All subject to vetting, of course.]

afootinthehills said...

I've been out in deep snow today on some local tracks and when we can eventually get parked near a hill, the 'kill or cure' approach will be tried.

Phreerunner said...

Good luck with that Gibson. It's working for me at present, after a period of rest from when the injury was sustained. Still need to be very careful not to overstretch though.

Ethan said...

That looks very exciting! Will any of the Munros be new ascents (for you I mean!)? I look forward to reading about it. I've always enjoyed hearing about your TGO challenges, maybe next year I'll apply to do one of my own.

Phreerunner said...

Hi Ethan
This is a relatively unambitious route by my previous standards, but covers new ground apart from some very short sections which include the Munros. I completed those a few years ago but I do enjoy returning to them.
The Challenge is a great event. If you do take part in the next few years you would be one of the youngest to do so. I do hope you find time to do that, and I'd be more than willing to meet up and tell you more about it.
Martin