Friday, 30 December 2011

TGO Challenge 2012: Cheese & Wine Party

With our route in and approved, the next step is to decide where to host the annual cheese and wine party. If we are lugging bottles of wine, rounds of cheese and hunks of speciality breads, we don’t want to be doing that for too long.

We also need to pick a spot that some Challengers will be able to make without disrupting their schedule by too much. It would be pointless to hold a party in the middle of sod-all if it didn’t coincide with anyone’s route. Great swathes of our Challenge are likely to to be quite lonely and so we have to choose carefully.

After a bit of a chat with Mad’n’Bad Andy we came up with this year’s venue and the invitation has now been posted on the Challenge Message Board.


It’s a nerve wracking time. Who will turn up? What cheeses will be available? What shall we wear? Us girls do like to be at our best at the parties….


  1. I wish that I could be there. Hope it goes well. I have my fingers crossed for more clement weather this year. I'm not big on wine, but cheese - well that's a different story. I'd suggest something blue and runny but I suppose that might not be ideal in the circumstances. How about some some Cantal or a strong Lancashire?

  2. After a few days at the bottom of the rucksack, most of the Chese is Blue and Runny!!!!

    Just joking!

    Pass the Cheese Gromit!

  3. Too near to the wrong side of the tracks for me. All those noisy trains!

    Enjoy! I will be elsewhere.

    BTW, the is an outside chance we may get close on the first night!

  4. A funny story about cheese and The Challenge. I started my first Challenge in Shiel Bridge at the Kintail Lodge where the innkeeper had noticed an appallingly bad smell emanating from the post. A father and son Challenger had mailed a large soft french cheese to the inn so that they could pick it up and take it on their hike. Soft cheeses with a rind keeps quite well without refrigeration but they still smell. When the father and son arrived they were paired to the package, but the incident apparently traumatized the innkeeper for days while she asked each you guest whether they were expecting "a package."

    Save me a spot for next year.

  5. Hi Gordon.

    It is indeed a busy line, with 3 trains a day in each direction, plus the sleeper service.

    The only passenger services that will have us terrified and perhaps shaken to death will be the little diesel train at about 6:20pm, which will be battling uphill to Corrour and the 9:20pm which coasts downhill to Ft Bill. The passengers on both these trains always wave back.

    There is of course the Gargantuan Sleeper from Euston to consider as well, as it rolls downhill at about 9:00am and back up again at about 8:50pm. We will all be well on our way into the next day's walk by the time the morning sleeper rumbles past though.... (koff.)

    From memory there might also be a freight train. But they are no fun as they never wave back.

    I always enjoy seeing the tiny little trains swallowed up by the enormous expanse of the moorland they pass through.

    "..we may get close on the first night!"
    Andy has a fine, roomy tent. He is far more cuddly than me.

  6. Hi Philip.
    In the last few years I have been carrying far more 'real food' than I had in the past. A loaf of fresh bread cut in half and hollowed slightly can conceal a fine cheese in very good condition for quite a few days.
    That, with a small plastic container of pickle and some French sausage and a glass of red makes a fine repast.

  7. Anything other than Munster.
    We came back from France once.
    We left a fine Munster (Monster) in the boot of the car.
    Ok a lot if wine and Pernod passed that night and we were not too good the next morning.
    But when we opened the car doors after a warm night we were attacked by the Munster in a most ferocious aromatic assault that would have felled someone without a hangover.
    300 miles we did that day.

    Definitely not Munster. I have not touched it since. :)

  8. Quote: We also need to pick a spot that some Challengers will be able to make without disrupting their schedule by too much. It would be pointless to hold a party in the middle of sod-all if it didn’t coincide with anyone’s route.

    But ... but ... the point of the C&W is that it IS in the middle of sod all, otherwise any Tom Dick or Harriet could show up. Surely you want your guests to be made of the 'right stuff'? May I suggest a revision of venue and invitation? Shackleton sets a fine example of how to strike the right tone:

    "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success."

    Remember our C&W at the top of Water of Unich. Remote, way off all sensible routes, bloody hard to get to, but attended by a splendid crowd. Shackleton got the right men, and so can you. Take his ad*, insert a GR, substitute 'cheese' and 'wine' for 'honour' and 'recognition' and unc is your bobble. Have a good one!

    *yes, pedants, I know!

  9. Mad'n'Bad: "Munster". No wonder. it probably stank of rugby player's sweaty jock-strap and socks left in the hold-all all night.

  10. Lord Elpus: I am considering how that advertisement would be phrased in these enlightened (koff!) days of egalitarianism:

    "Men or Women wanted for hazardous journey. (Risk Assessment attached) National Minimum Wage commensurate with age & experience. Your employment will involve exposure to all weathers but protective clothing will be issued. Hours will be long, but will comply with EC Working Time Directive. Long months of complete darkness. (Natural daylight therapy lamps will be supplied,) Constant danger: Please send Doctor's certificates proving sound physical and mental health. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.": TV contracts lined up with ITV.

  11. LOL Nice one Alan. I might be up for that. Happy New Year mate :)

  12. Terry: Indeed. There is a shirty comment on the Challenge Message Board about Challengers enjoying themselves too much with the inference that we have all gone soft (from a normally quite lovely bloke)

    I think he needs to get out more.

    Happy new year to you too, fella!

  13. I think he needs to get out more.

    He certainly needs more of something (fill in the blanks)

    I was going to comment on that but decided to sleep on it and see what happened.
    Luckily nice people replied in a polite and refined way, so I am glad I bit my keyboard!

    And the Munster... Worse!
    I have unpacked Olly's kit at the end of a rugby camp and it was nothing compared to that bloody cheese.

    Wensleydale for me I reckon!


  14. lol... great post Alan (and some great comments)

    this is my wine of the moment;

  15. Mad'n'Bad: Wensleydale is one of my favourite cheeses, Gromit! Sometimes difficult to acquire in Highland villages though... In fact your Cheese Shop link is quite appropriate at times on the Challenge...

  16. David: You know, you really should bring that along to the Cheese & wine - easy to get to - just half an hour's stroll down the track from Corrour... Just a thought... I'll leave that with you.

    Our congregation at this place are indeed a bright lot. So sharp, at times they could cut themselves...

  17. I won't be able to consider a TGO challenge without changing my job; there's no way I can take time off in May. I will, however, hold my own cheese and wine party back here in Berkshire on the same night. With you in spirit (hic).

  18. Bit too far south for me. Perhaps there could be a northern party in the Monadhliath.

  19. Myself and 2 friends searched our rucksacks one night in Luib Chonnal bothy.
    Between us we had 4 oatcakes, and 4 Dairylea cheese slices.
    The oatcakes were heated on the bothy stove. At the right moment, the cheese slices were laid on top.
    The cheese bubbled, and we could hold back no more. The ensuing fight for the spare oatcake and cheese was rather sad.
    Never has shite cheese tasted so good!

    Happy new year Alan.

    Mike fae Dundee

  20. Hmm... As I can't be there, I'm starting to plan my own wine and cheese party in Helsinki (or near here) that day ;-)

  21. Jon, Carl: That's a great idea: You can both organise Cheese & Wine Parties on the same evening and have a ball. Carl - yours is probably the easiest to organise via the Chally Message Board, but, come to think of it, Jon - you could do the same! With a southern Cheese & Wine on the same date - again organised in the Challenge Message Board.


  22. Mike: Luib Chonnal - a veritable palace amongst the Highland estate bothies... The armchairs, the wonderful stove - the roof lights, with decent headroom too! All that and Dairy Lea! (For Goodness Sake! get Dairy Lee!)

    It doesn't get much better really.

    Perhaps an arm-wrestle for the last slice?

    And a Happy New Year to you too, Sir! :-)

  23. Maria! That's the spirit! You are a wonderful girl! There are a few bloggers in Finland (there's that little chap with a beard who wanders around the forests who bangs on about lightweight stuff and a few excellent bloggers too!)

    It would be great to have an international "meet" all on the same evening and toast each other...

    Not too difficult to arrange, I would have thought? We should put our heads together and think about it!


  24. you never know Alan? I haven't yet planned my own walk this year which usually takes place around the same time - I have a few options which I have in mind but I could be tempted to amend a route. We'll see...

  25. How very civilised! :) I have yet to finalise my route and one of my options takes me right by.. I may join the part, thanks for the invite.

    Happy New Year to all.


  26. David - It would be splendid if you could make it! Bring a friend. :-)

    Bryan: This is marvellous. By the time you reach us you will be a hardened Challenger with many tales of derring-do. Will you have a party piece?

    Andy's piece from la Traviata always brings people to their feet. We never see them again afterwards...

  27. I don't think I have a party piece Alan, although being able to stand up and walk with my pack would be quite impressive by that point in the crossing ;)



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