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Sunday, 14 September 2008

CHALLENGING START POINT

2009 will see the TGO Challenge's 30th year. The Challenge is quite remarkable in that the guidelines for the event have largely remained the same over all this time. Of course, the event has evolved and improved with tweaks and nudges here and there. Numbers taking part have slowly been increased and this year there will be a bumper 360 souls taking part. Over the years, start points have been added and some have been lost.

For 'old hands' the new start points are particularly of interest as they have, in all probability, used all the existing start points already. This means that a new start offers 'new' country to explore on the west coast of Scotland. So with this in mind, this afternoon I have spent a happy few hours with Landranger Sheet 40 looking at routes out of this year's newest start point, Glenuig.

It's a tiny little place on the north west corner of Moidart. I can see from the map that it has an inn which will probably act as the signing-out point. Challengers will not know this for sure until they have had their applications accepted and the signing-out points are issued in the event details sent out to them.

But what an amazing start point! If your plan is to walk east through Moidart, it looks like one marvelous walk out. As far as I can see there are absolutely no paths heading in that direction for the entire length of Moidart between Loch Shiel to the south and Loch Eilt to the north, all the way out to what I can see is the natural exit point, Glenfinnan.

Up until now, I had in my mind's eye been starting at Strathcarron, but this new start point has got my mind racing. Tomorrow night we have Lord Elpus and Miss Whiplash over for supper, to be prepared by my own fair hand. So, if I can persuade his Lordship to abandon his beautiful Mistress for two weeks, we could have an interesting route finding discussion.

Then of course, all we need, is the luck of the Irish to get picked from the draw.

14 comments:

  1. I see there has been over 130 applications in only ten days :eek:

    I think I'll leave route planning until I know if I'm in or out :-)

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  2. I thought you were going to celebrate the 30th year as a foursome with Lynnie and Miss Whiplash!?

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  3. Hi George.
    Start planning now - you know you want to. It's great fun, whichever way you go about it, either on the pc or with all the maps lying all over the sitting room floor (probably the best way the first time around.)

    Even if you don't get in it's marvelous fun!

    Hi Martin - I am afraid that Lynnie is not 'up for it.' I have asked her (only this week). So, if Miss W allows Lord E to come along I might be walking with Phil.

    He almost looks as fetching as Lynnie, "in the dusk with the light behind him..."

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  4. My application goes in this week. Solo and high is the plan. I looked at walking Moidart in 07. Got advice from Roger about paths by Loch Shiel.

    Been thinking about it again as I might go over Glen Coe hills. So need to move towards them from that way. I would start at Ardmolich. The hills there are steep and if bagging them you need to going light and fit before you kick of as it will hurt other wise.

    I'm hoping to get on and looking at my kit already. It will be lighter and still have all the comfort. I want to bag lots summits. George get planning there is a reserve list if you don't get on straight away.

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  5. Moidart is fantastic country. Oozing with clan history and Jacobitism. The Seven Men of Moidart are famous in these parts.
    Was thinking about trying the challenge but think I might head for the Alps next year, if the mrs. lets me!

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  6. Hi Alan.
    Another question from a (almost) Warmlite owner. Have you ever used a footprint? My use is going to be mostly mountain pitches, and i want to protect the groundsheet, if it needs it. I'm thinking of getting a spinnaker footprint for Watty.
    Cheers,
    Mike fae Dundee.

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  7. I am impressed with this new start point as well, looks much more interesting than than my original plan of Ardrishaig. Might be a popular spot, hope to see you all there in May. Keeping the fingers crossed!

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  8. Hi Mike (I wondered if you were 'fae Dundee)

    Nope - never bothered with footprints as I usually find the rest of the tent wears out before the grounsheet.

    But I do see that it would weigh sod-all and give you extra protection on the heather and gravel... Personally I would use a very thin layer of packaging closed cell foam (it's about 1.5mm thick and weighs nothing)

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  9. Hi Alistair, Martin & Big Rog!

    Have just signed the application form for the Chally to walk with Lord Elpus (who is currently sick poorly bad - but that is not related to the fact that I cooked dinner for us all!)

    Looks like Glenuig is 'off' and we could be starting at a point not yet trampled by Phil but keeping to a very northerly trajectory.

    Will write more in the morning....

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  10. Thanks Alan.
    I've never bothered with groundsheets before, but had noticed a few comments about the 'flimsy looking floor' whilst searching the net.
    I'll probably not bother.
    Cheers,
    Mike fae Dundee

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  11. According to Roger Smith's email acknowledging receipt of my application - he's now up to 150 applications.
    I think thats enough....we wouldnt want more than 360, surely. Is there any way of putting people off this idea?
    Glenelg to Johnshaven for me (if I'm a Chosen One) I dun the route already..... counting chickens.....

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  12. Hi Alan

    I have started to plan my walk from LE to JOG which i am hoping to start either next year or early 2010.

    Would you mind if i came to Don Pasquale on the 29th to discuss?

    Location is ideal for me as i live just outside of Cambridge.

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  13. Hi there Peter

    It would be marvelous if you came along! The whole point of it is to exchange ideas and get to know each other a little better.

    And there's nothing I like better than rabitting on with a LEJOG enthusiast - it was a huge part of my life in the planning and execution of the walk and I still look back on it with incredibly fond memories.

    So - Please - yes - do come along - I shall look forward to meeting you.

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