Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Wednesday 11 October 2023

7 and 8 October 2023 - TGO Challengers' October Reunion

Whilst our friends in the south of England were enjoying a heatwave, Sue and I found ourselves in a storm in Newtonmore. The River Calder stayed confined within its banks, but in the main valley the same could not be said for the River Spey.

We were lucky with the Aviemore parkrun. Nearby runs had been cancelled due to flooding, and the route to our start would soon be inundated. Following the rainy run, and after leisurely coffees in Aviemore, we returned to the Balavil Hotel in Newtonmore for lunch.

We decided that a visit to Adrian was in order, Ali being down in Staffordshire with Mick and Gayle, doing 'Challenge' stuff. Entries for the 2024 TGO Challenge opened on 1 October, creating much work for the Co-Ordinators.

So we set off down the Main Street, past Newtonmore Hall.

We meandered up the glen, on the outskirts of which is Ali and Adrian's house - visible in the next picture that was taken after we had enjoyed a cuppa with Adrian before he rushed off to visit stroke patient Neil in hospital in Inverness.

It was raining, but that didn't stop the camera from coming out.

The path beside the River Calder is part of the Wildcat Trail around Newtonmore.

Beyond the Cemerery, the river rushed past under Calder Bridge.

A stroll back along the main road brought our wet 5km stroll to a conclusion after passing various display items from the Newtonmore Art Project.

Nearly 30 people attended the TGO Challenge reunion. 

Before the meal

After the meal

Throughout the evening, and the weekend as a whole, there were pauses to remember stalwart Challenger, Alan Sloman, whose funeral was to take place on 9 October. Alan was one of the early 'Outdoors Bloggers' and he was totally addicted to The Challenge. Most encounters with Alan were memorable; some of his views were more controversial than others.

Sunday saw most of the reunion participants leaving for home or elsewhere. It was still raining, so Sue and I decided on a 10km circuit from the hotel - a walk up Glen Banchor as far as a thigh deep side stream.

The pictures tell the story.

Sue visited the rapids to film a video

There were lots of fresh mushrooms today, but they were all very wet and we had no immediate way of cooking them, so they were left in situ - even the tasty Wax Caps shown below.

There are a number of flowers still happily in bloom, including the thistles pictured below, harebells and others.

Thigh deep. Let's turn round here

Here's our route - 10km with 100 metres ascent.

Then we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon, and a meal with John and Sue Plume, before an easy journey home in fine weather on Monday.