Last year I completed my tenth TGO Challenge. There’s a tradition that after one’s tenth you either help with the organising in some way or take a break for a year. My ‘organising’ services weren’t needed, so I submitted an application for this year’s Challenge on the basis that I’d be ‘last standby reserve’. I was in standby position number 80.
By the time of the Snake Inn reunion in March, the dropout level meant that I was ‘in’, so a route was quickly devised and vetted without amendment by Bernie Marshall. Thanks Bernie. At 290 km (180 miles) with 9,500 metres ascent it’s my easiest route to date and is shown on the map above, which may appear as a slightly larger image if you click on it. The arrows are at 10 km intervals, the red or black triangles are summits, and the camping or house icons mark where I intend to stay.
Here’s a summary:
Day 0: Thursday 11 May - Train to Oban (Regent Hotel)
Day 1: Friday 12 May (21 km, 830 metres ascent) – Ferry to Lismore > Port Appin > Airds Hill (Ma) > Appin > Strath of Appin > camp to the west of Beinn Churalain around NM 986 464
Day 2: Saturday 13 May (28 km, 1520 metres ascent) - Wild camp > Beinn Churalain (Ma) > NE ridge dropping to join minor road N of Fasnacloich > NE to Elleric > Glenure > Glen Ure > Airigh nan Lochan > S to Beinn Trilleachan (C)(Ma) > N and E to Gualachulain > Druimachoish > bridge at NN 140 468 > S towards the Robbers Waterfall (wild camp around NN 138 449)
Day 3: Sunday 14 May (21 km, 1360 metres ascent) - Wild camp > Allt Mheuran to col at NN 163 433 > Glas Bheinn Mhor (M)(Ma) > return to col > Stob Coir an Albannaich (M)(Ma) > return to col > SE below Sron na h-Iolaire to join track at NN 197 409 > past Loch Dochard > Abhainn Shira > Clashgour Hut > N beside Allt Toaig to convenient wild camping spot around NN 254 429
Day 4: Monday 15 May (19 km, 430 metres ascent) - Wild camp > Abhainn Shira > Victoria Bridge > Mam Carraigh > Bridge of Orchy > West Highland Way > Tyndrum (Pine Trees Caravan Park)
Day 5: Tuesday 16 May (13 km, 920 metres ascent) - Tyndrum > West Highland Way > Kirkton Farm > NE > South top (MT) > Ben Challum (M)(Ma) > E to Stob a' Bhiora > N to wild camp by Allt Challuim around NN 399 332
Day 6: Wednesday 17 May (23 km, 420 metres ascent) - Wild camp > tracks roughly NE to join minor road near Kenknock > minor roads > Botaurnie > Tullich > fork L at Lochay Power Station > Killin (Killin Hotel, meet Sue)
Day 7: Thursday 18 May (22 km, 1750 metres ascent) - Killin > A827 > turn N towards Meall Liath > join track at top of pipeline > NE to minor road at NN 605 383 > S to parking spot for ascent of Lawers massif > Ben Lawers traverse - Beinn Ghlas (M), Ben Lawers (M)(Ma), Creag an Fhithich (MT), An Stuc (M), Meall Garbh (M)(Ma), Meall Greigh (M)(Ma) > N to wild camp around NN 677 447 (or stop earlier)
Day 8: Friday 19 May (14 km, 330 metres ascent) - Descend E > Boreland > Fearnan > forest track above A827 > descend to Kenmore, try to get meal in hotel and wild camp nearby
Day 9: Saturday 20 May (20 km, 600 metres ascent) - Kenmore > minor road E > Tombuie Cottage > Rob Roy Way > Garrow (River Quaich) > track to Wester Shian > Auchnacloich > L to Turrerich > NE shore of Loch Freuchie > Wester Kinloch > Amulree (camp here or nearby – NN 900 366)
Day 10: Sunday 21 May (24 km, 580 metres ascent) - A822 > track to Girron > Meall nan Caorach (Ma)(G) > NE to join track at NN 939 346 > around Findowie Hill to Auchmore > SE to Little Glenshee > track to Loch Tullybelton > Glack > Balquharn > minor roads to Bankfoot Inn
Day 11: Monday 22 May (22 km, 510 Metres ascent) - Bankfoot > Ardonachie > New Ardonachie > Airntully > Honeyhole > Ballathie House > cross River Tay (see query) > Cargill > Meikle Whitefield > Redstone > Saucher > Collace > Dunsinane Hill (O) > Black Hill (O) > wild camp near Broch by Little Dunsinane around NO 223 324
Day 12: Tuesday 23 May (22 km, 380 metres ascent) - Wild camp > King's Seat (Ma) > NE to join track > SE then N to Glenbran > E and N to Dundriven > Littleton > SE to Redmyre > Dron > Flocklones > Benvie > Denhead of Gray > Camperdown Country Park > Dundee Hotel Travelodge
Day 13: Wednesday 24 May (16 km, 150 metres ascent) - Camperdown Country Park > fort and memorial at Dundee Law > join coastal cycleway at Tay Road Bridge > Broughty Castle > Monifieth (campsite at NO 497 321)
Day 14: Thursday 25 May (22 km, 150 metres ascent) - Monifieth > coastal cycleway > Carnoustie > East Haven > Arbroath > Dickmont's Den
Back to Arbroath for bus to Montrose (Links Hotel)
Friday 26 May – return to Manchester for Manchester Half Marathon on 28 May.
I’m planning on taking my Phoenix Phreerunner tent that dates from the 1980’s, if I feel it won’t weigh me down excessively. Here it is on Beinn na Caillich, enjoying some morning sunshine at 6 am on 18 May 2010.
I may not be rising so early on this year’s easier route…
To fellow Challengers – see you in Glasgow, Oban or Montrose, and maybe a few of you along the paths between Oban and Montrose, but I may be a bit to your south!