Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Saturday 15 May 2010

First Sight of Glenfinnan

From Beinn Odhar Mhor.

It's a Long Way Down.

Over Extremely Rough Ground.

With Hidden Bands of Rock (aka Cliffs).

And a Sting in the Tail.

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Saturday 15 May 2010 - TGO Challenge Day 2 - Plan – Lochan Feith Easain to High Lochan at NM 885 750

Martin’s planned route and statistics for today are shown below:

1 Lochan Feith Easain
2 Beinn Mhic Cedidh (Corbett)
3 Bealach a’ Choire Bhuidhe
4 Beinn Odhar Bheag (Corbett)
5 Beinn Odhar Mhor
6 A830 road
7 Glenfinnan Visitor Centre
8 Path junction at A830
9 Leave path to ascend
10 Sgorr Craobh a’ Chaorainn (Corbett)
11 Lochan at Col  - 590 metres (NM 885 750)

22 km
1883 metres ascent
11.7 hours
(3 Corbetts)

TGO Challenge 2010 - Day 2 - Plan

TGO Challenge 2010 - Day 1 - Lochailort to NM 814 789 - about 1 km from Lochan Feith Easain - The Wilds of Moidart

Distance walked: 14.5 km
Metres ascent: 1640
Time taken: 8.5 hours including 1.25 hours stops
No of Challengers seen: 0
No of Day Walkers seen: 4

Away we go...

After saying goodbye to those at the hotel, and being snapped for the album by JJ, I set off alone.

Out of 44 folk setting off from Lochailort, I seem to be the only one to be bagging the three Corbetts (mountains of 2500 to 3000 feet in height, with at least a 500 ft drop between them) immediately to the south of the hotel. Maybe they have all progressed further in an easterly direction than my paltry 5 km!

Anyway, today went well and has left me with the (I predict rare on this trip) chance for an early night.

The day started cloudy and showery, gradually improving to excellent walking weather - not too hot, very little wind, etc.

My planned route suffered an immediate amendment when I realised I'd failed to incorporate a visit to the ocean (Loch Ailort). I met two of the Americans in Russ Mannion's team who had also appreciated that particular nicety of the Challenge, but I don't know whether anyone else actually bothered to start at the coast (bar someone who was almost camping in the loch!).

There was a thin, but unexpected, path up the Allt a' Bhuiridh valley, so I took the advice of Colin Crawford (my vetter) and by-passed Seann Chruach by taking the valley path. I just about got a view from An Stac, but had to descend in mist.

Rois-Bheinn was also in mist, so there was no point in visiting its western summit. That contributed nicely to my early finish, as did the terrain, which was not as rough as I had expected. Until, that is, the final knife edge ridge of Druim Fiaclach and the following sharp descent down steep ground with randomly placed small cliffs. The key to success on the ridge was to stay on the blade of the knife - quite entertaining at times. Good views too (see snap).

I'd enjoyed lunch on the summit of my third Corbett, Sgurr Ba Glaise, after a satisfying morning's walk. Here I received a message of encouragement from Geoffrey (who I promise to visit in Macc asap) and the first of two pairs of day walkers passed by. They are the only people I saw all day.

It's a lovely evening as I gaze from the open tent down Glen Aladale to Loch Shiel, as I tuck in to my pasta and tuna dinner.

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Friday 14 May 2010

TGO Challenge 2010 - Setting off from Lochailort on a showery morning

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Friday 14 May 2010 - TGO Challenge Day 1 - Plan – Lochailort to Lochan Feith Easain

Martin’s planned route and statistics for today are shown below:

1 Lochailort Inn
2 Seann Chruach
3 An Stac (Corbett)
4 Col at 560 metres
5 Bealach an Fhiona
6 Rois-Bheinn (Corbett)
7 Rois-Bheinn – western summit
6 Rois-Bheinn
5 Bealach an Fhiona
8 Sgurr na Ba Glaise (Corbett)
9 Lochan at 810 metres
10 Bealachan Fhalaisg Dhuibh
11 Druim Fiaclach
12 By Lochan Feith Easain – 360 metres (NM 817 792)

16 km
1783 metres ascent
9.6 hours
(3 Corbetts)

TGO Challenge 2010 - Day 1 - Plan

Thursday 13 May 2010

TGO Challenge 2010 - Day 0 - Timperley to Lochailort

Left home 6.15; arrived in Lochailort at 17.15 after a smooth journey in good company.

Sue was missed - it's "hello Sue, sorry you can't be here" from lots of old friends, and "thanks for the shortbread".

The weather has clouded over as we've travelled north, after a frosty morning in Timperley. Everything seems but greener than it was three weeks ago, but it's quite dull under the heavy cloud.

Mr Sloman is, however, excessively green.

There's no picture today due to a weak/intermittent signal. But rest assured, the dull weather outside won't dampen the jollity of the evening here in the Lochailort Inn as we all stoke up in preparation for our energetic fortnight ahead.

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Wednesday 12 May 2010

TGO Challenge 2010

Mountain summits - essential for effective blogging!  
The time has come…

I set off in a few hours time to the fleshpots of Lochailort, where around 40 out of a total of 300+ Challengers will be assembling before starting their walk across Scotland on Friday morning.

I’ve not had time to produce the usual web page, so my planned route will be revealed here on a day to day basis.  I’ll be setting off in a southerly direction, unlike the vast majority of those starting at Lochailort, who I suspect will be heading east.

For now, you’ll have to make do with the outline shown below; a route of 360 km (225 miles) with around 18,100 metres of ascent.  It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be able to meet this Challenge despite the encouragement of my vetter (who I thought would ‘rubbish’ my plans).  So it’s just as well that I have an alternative ‘Foul Weather Alternative’ (FWA) which comes out at a mere 320 km with only 8,600 metres of ascent.  The disadvantage is that it omits the 28 summits (2 Munros, 20 Corbetts, 5 Grahams and a Marilyn) that are included in the longer route.

Realistically, I hope to make at least 10 of those summits


Day 1 – Lochailort to Lochan Feith Easain (NM 817 792)
Day 2 – to Lochan at High Col (NM 885 750)
Day 3 – to Lochan below Beinn na h-Uamha (NM 911 664)
Day 4 – to Edge of Forest (NN 075 645)
Day 5 – to Meall na Cruaidhe (NN 249 627)
Day 6 – to Path Junction below Sron Smeur (NN 435 609)
Day 7 – to Duinish (NN 617 669)
Day 8 – to Loch Tummel Inn (NN 818 602)
Day 9 – to Watershed at NN 974 656
Day 10 – to Loch Beanie (NO 156 685)
Day 11 – to Glen Clova Hotel (NO 326 731)
Day 12 – to Tarfside (NO 491 797)
Day 13 – to North Water Bridge (NO 649 662)
Day 14 – to Montrose (NO 732 603)

My best wishes go to all the other Challengers, including the Proud Scotsmen amongst them and the various bloggers – think of them as they stand aloft Scottish peaks trying to transmit their hastily compiled words over the course of the next two weeks…

My previous three Challenges are described here, just in case anyone is interested.

Monday 10 May 2010

Sunday 9 May 2010 – Lathkill Dale

“Let’s go to Lathkill Dale” suggested the email from Graham.

So it came to pass that a dynamic quartet winged their way, in Polly – her first outing of this nature, to Monyash.

Luckily we arrived early.  That meant we could enjoy a mug of coffee outside The Old Smithy.  It was sunny and warm, or should I say ‘warm in the sun’ (cool elsewhere…).

Outside The Old Smithy, Monyash, on a sunny morning

Six others arrived.  The route march commenced.  I know I should be in training for the TGO Challenge, so I could just about keep up.

Mike The Bus fell back.  “Only my second walk in 18 months” huff “New Camera” puff, etc, etc (I’ll try not to bore you).

Mike huffs his way past One Ash Grange Farm

Eventually we re-grouped by a field of brightly coloured flowers.


A field of dandelions near Middleton

Very photogenic.

The Boss had obviously fallen behind schedule as some road walking was now required.  The pace picked up again and we were soon striding into Middleton, distracted only by a hungry horse.

The hungry horse 
Richard tried to make a getaway, but the old Rover 100 defeated his locksmith’s skills.

The Rover 100 at Middleton

It was very green by the River Bradford.

Beside the River Bradford.  Very Green.

A dizzy coot watched us fly by…”why so fast?” she squawked.

A dizzy nesting coot

We were clearly in a race against the brown trout to reach the hostelries of Youlgreave in time for lunch?

We overshot.

Suddenly we found ourselves striding on into Lathkill Dale, full of Sunday afternoon hordes. 

Lathkill Dale

Surely now time for a break?  A splinter group fell briefly behind, refuelling with chocolate caramel shortbread on the hoof.  Our leader usually stops for this, but not today.

On we dashed.

“Can we stop, please?” bleated a weary soldier with a neck problem.

“Only 5 minutes, just around the next corner” was the response.

20 minutes later:

Lunch in Lathkill Dale
What a relief!

Afternoon – a simple solution, I just fell back and went slowly, occasionally chancing upon the route marchers who had decided to wait.

Waiting for Martin

It took nearly as long to complete the afternoon’s 7 km as it had taken to walk 13 km in the morning.

We stopped to admire some flowers – they are flowering later than usual this year, but we did find one orchid by the path.

Early Purple Orchid
Butterbur Cowslip 

Tea/beer/hot chocolate/cakes all went down well at The Old Smithy, to which we had returned by 3.30, well exercised after this 20 km dash in 4.5 hours (Naismith would have taken rather longer) with 600 metres of ascent.

Here’s the route, which is not mandatory, ie footpaths to Middleton are permitted as an alternative to our rush along the roads, as is a pub stop in Youlgreave.  Lathkill Dale is highly recommended.

Our 20 km route, with 600 metres ascent, taking a brisk 4.5 hours.

There’s a short slide show here.