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Thursday, 24 January 2013

TGO Challenge 2001: The Foot & Mouth Year

I surprised myself by finding an even earlier set of digital pictures, from my seventh TGO Challenge, in 2001: The year of the “Mini Challenge”.

There had been a UK wide epidemic of Foot & Mouth and the countryside had been effectively closed to walkers. Around Britain, farmers were seeing their livelihoods going up in the flames of the colossal funeral pyres of their slaughtered animals. It was a desperate situation, but not only for the farmers, but also for the tourist industry throughout Britain. The farmers would eventually receive some sort of compensation for their losses (albeit not covering their losses) but the tourist industry – hotels, B&B’s, pubs and cafes received nothing.

With a few months to go to the start of the Challenge, Foot & Mouth restrictions were still very much in force throughout Britain, although, from memory, Scotland had not suffered as badly as England & Wales. The organisers of the Challenge made a sensible decision to abandon the event to the west of the A9, as sheep and cattle were in abundance in this region, and created a “Mini Challenge” from the A9 to the east coast.

However, with a week or so to go to the original start date, some Highland estates were making it clear that walkers were welcomed back along defined routes. Phil Lambert, Mick Coady & I made a few phone calls and emails with some of the western estates and managed to plot a route from the west coast, starting at Shiel Bridge so that we could join up with the “Mini Challenge” along the A9, which we did, at Newtonmore. We weren’t the only folk who had thought of this – a handful of German Challengers had also come up with a very similar route to ours!

This meant that we actually managed a complete crossing.

 

31 comments:

  1. I hate to mention this sweety, but it won't let me look again :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right then!
      :-)
      I wonder if I've sorted it this time? Sorry about that!

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  2. I can't see those Alan, it looks as though SkyDrive is acting up again!

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    1. Microsoft Skydrive: Nothing like a Microsoft programme in it's intuitiveness. Sorry Geoff. Have another bash now?

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  3. You've got another problem with Skydrive Alan - it wants me to open an account to view them.

    Norma

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    Replies
    1. I wouldn't go opening any accounts with dodgy ol' Microsoft! Thanks for letting this computer illiterate know, Norma. I *think* I've sorted it now...

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  4. I'm in!
    Love the piccy of feet and the little wardrobe gnome, excellent.
    Looks like it was a good weather year, I want one of those!!

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    Replies
    1. Phew! Sorry about my ineptitude with SkyDrive...

      We are tagging along with the Wardrobe Gnome this year. He looks no different these days, twelve years later. Whatever rigours and routines Miss Whiplash puts the lad to seems to be working.

      The weather was mainly good, but we did have some fantastic downpours, which of course you don't see. And there was that one amazing thunderstorm when we were scaling a deer fence with lightning crashing around us...

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    2. It works fine for me using Firefox Alan. Now I'll have a proper look.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Gibson
      It's not a browser problem - it's a SkyDrive illiterate user problem - Me!

      It makes me wonder if any of the earlier SkyDrive slideshows that I posted on here were viewable... I'll have a fiddle...

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    4. "He looks no different these days"

      Ha!

      The man is a shambling wreck - greying hair and many parts now missing (both physically and mentally). Wardrobes? Don't mention hotel wardrobes. When in his cups he frequently becomes confused as to the function of the wardrobe and the bathroom.

      Look after him this May. Stowlangtoft Hall has a secure room for him on his return.

      It's for the best.

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    5. Ah, Miss W!

      "It's for the best"

      I can smell those starched pinafores and, when I close my eyes, I see the pretty lace bonnets of the wonderful nurses, as they push his wicker bath chair around those wonderful grounds.

      It's as well that he's had his parts whipped out, given the carnal temptations of Stowlangtoft.

      I'll do my bit to keep him on a short leash in May, but his wanderings are legendary. We'll spoon him back into his lodgings in the small hours; a smoked out, sozzled & empty husk of spent licentiousness.

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    6. Oi you two - I heard that!

      It's very wicked to mock the afflicted.

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    7. Miss W
      He's obviously had his ears syringed recently, then.
      :-)

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  5. Ah that was my first ever Challenge as the very young age of 29! Shame that it does not count towards my challenge tallys which currently stands at a grand one!

    What did I learn that year?

    If you are veggie don't eat at the Park hotel!

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    Replies
    1. Although, last year *everyone* noticed that the food at the Park was a dramatic improvement over previous years. Might be worth trying again.
      :-)

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  6. I got adopted on the last few days by a group of 'older' females, can't remember who they were but they had a campervan waiting for them at the Montrose campsite. A great fun group they were.

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    1. Do you have any photos of them? Send them over and I'll tell you who they were.
      "Little boy lost" routine, eh? Did it work?
      :-)

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  7. I think I need to spend a while recovering from those sights of men in tights ;-)

    All those photos of glorious surroundings, and yet my favourites had to be the first two pre-start piccies!

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    1. Do you know what, Miss?
      I think I agree.
      It's the care that Phil has gone to to provide himself with a footstool. It speaks volumes.
      :-)

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  8. These pix are so sweet! Bless yr little cotton sox!

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    1. Bless our little merino wool socks & polypropylene liners...

      No cotton and certainly no cotton shreddies. Just ask WeeWillyWilky about cotton shreddies...
      :-)

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  9. I'm very much enjoying your blog - thanks very much! I recognised the Glen Clova Hotel in this set, I'm pretty sure that was a youth hostel in my day - at least I stayed at a place like that 50+ years ago! Also remember Glenn Doll - set off up it towards Deeside on my first hike in the hills. Before they were glaciated, I think.

    Regards
    Adam

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    1. Hi Adam
      :-)
      You're very close; the Glen Doll Youth Hostel was a few miles further up at the head of Glen Clova. Unfortunately it closed a while ago now (I'm guessing about 8-10 years ago.)


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    2. Oh, thanks Alan. I would give a lot to be back there for a visit. But a long way from down here in Australia.

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  10. Ah, it looks so sweet. Unlike Alex Salmond's face, the aspect of which cannot be described on a clean living, family friendly blog.

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  11. Apart from those very dubious duvets in the B&B, I can't wait to get on the TGO. Walking across Scotland has been on the list for a few years - be a great one to finally tick off.

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    1. Pink roses not your thing then, Sweetie?
      :-)

      I'll have to remember that!

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  12. Hi Alan,
    are you sure you haven't got any female genes ? Or is spring in the air ? Don't change you're lay-out too often please.

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    Replies
    1. I'll have you know, I'm a very modern man, Theo; Always in touch with my feminine side, there is nothing I like more than a Spring Clean. This time the look is a little less 'sudden' than of old, and perhaps easier to read.

      Unfortunately it's the same idiot writing the rubbish, but that might soon change too. Plans are afoot for another guest Blogger.

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