Saturday, 10 December 2011

TGO Challenge 2012: Firming things up

This afternoon, Mad’n’Bad Andy Walker booked our B&B for our start point. This is a Good Thing. This means that all my dithering over routes has at last had to cease. We now know where we are starting. We had been flitting between a few start points and were going no-where very quickly until the chap decided enough was enough.

He has also booked our accommodation at Braemar for Saturday night, nine days later, This is also a Good Thing: Mind you, not being at Braemar for Saturday night would be a pretty Piss-Poor Thing! (There are the Fife Arms and ‘Bingo Wings’ parties to attend. To miss them would surely be a crime.)

Perhaps you can see a thread developing here? This chap is a Man of Action. He has forced my hand so to speak. He has made me pull the metaphorical digit out of the slightly less than metaphorical derriere and so forcibly encouraged my planning of the route.

Now, you would have thought that planning the the first day’s route would have been a straightforward operation. But it wasn’t to be so.

Its length has been determined, to a degree, by the fifth, sixth and seventh days’ route plans. They were each panning out to be monsters, and so our first day is now a little longer than I would customarily prepare, to ease the burden later on; Not that strolling through sun-drenched mountain-scapes could ever remotely be described as burdensome. Incorporated into this Fine Weather Route, is an ice-cream stop mid afternoon on the fourth day to soothe our sweat-furrowed brows and to allow my fellow stravaigers to ease their bones, relaxing for that blissful, all too brief, moment.

The first section of the second day looks like this, so perhaps they will need the ice-creams.


The plan is for 194 miles with 32,000 feet or so of “Up”. That’s quite enough, thank you very much, as we have a First-Timer aboard this time around: Dave “Wee Willy” Wilkinson. Dave had applied with me for the 1995 Challenge but had to withdraw before starting as he contracted dreadful wimpishness a sudden attack of ill health. Time has moved on and so this will be Andy’s seventh and my seventeenth Challenge.

So, now it’s just a question of working out the Foul Weather Alternatives and putting it all onto paper. And then of course sending it all off to the Vetters.


  1. There's nothing like a good plan.
    And this is "Nothing Like a Good ....."
    That's one of Lambert's that is, but I couldn't resist.

    Actually I have seen it in outline, and this has all the makings of an excellent adventure Gromit.
    It will of course be important to bring plenty of Wensleydale!
    Oh, and Sloe Gin, and Single Malt, and Port. I had not thought of Port until Ingleborough, but now I have and....
    Actually we must look at a possible Parcel pick up point before Braemar. Maybe Spean Bridge?

    This will be the first crossing out of my 7 successful and 2 unsuccessful ones that I have not planned in all detail myself, and I can tell you that it is rather nice for a change not planning it all. It's a bit like Christmas presents when you were a kid, not knowing what you were going to get but it was really exciting opening them up and finding out.

    So over to you Jungle, keep up the good work, it's all rather exciting!

  2. Hang on - I know that ridge! So that would be Lochan Eanaiche on the right and Locha a Mhaim on the left? A Mallaig start then, methinks, but where will it all end ...?

    Oh silly me - St Cyrus!!!

  3. Andy: Another of Lord Elpus's whimsys is the description of Miss Whiplash's appendages.
    "My wife has great legs....Bloody great legs..."
    I am surprised has has lasted as long as he has, really...
    it has to be said, the Wensleydale and the port do go together agreeably. Supplies! All expeditions should be properly supplied.

  4. Phil: Perfectly located, Sir, but then again, I recall that you spent some not inconsiderable time lying about there with "Call Me A Helicopter" Darren...

    But no! We shall not be starting at Mallaig, but, shamefacedly it will more than likely be a St Cyrus finish! It has a couple of splendid benches to rest awhile to take in the completion of the whole, you see....

  5. I'm hoping the route will be finished and presented before Christmas. I need a good laugh and there is not much on the box over the festive season. Navigation should not be a problem for you; aim for the big whirly things on the next hill and you can't go wrong! Should you need to retreat at any time just follow the carefully placed way points (empty wine bottles and used cheese wrappers) positioned every 200 meters or so beside the path.
    A. Vetter!

  6. They'll be your empties, will they, Pete? I never wrap my cheese in anything other than the outside of a loaf:
    Cut the loaf in half and hollow out the middle to take the blocks of cheese. All that needs to be done then is to slice the loaf to have instant cheese sarnies! An lightweight Opinel knife does the job.


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