Pages

Monday, 9 June 2014

TGO Challenge 2014: Part 1: Leaving the city behind.

One moment you’re strolling through London’s warm & sunny West End, surrounded by pretty girls in summer frocks all staring into their iPhones. Incongruously dressed in zippy walking trousers, great big boots and a rucksack armed to the teeth with pointy walking poles, you thread your way up Piccadilly, Charing Cross Road and over to the British Museum, zig-zagging your way happily through beautiful Bloomsbury, to the Bree Louise.

Seemingly moments later, you’re absolutely shattered and up to your thighs in a freezing cold river with your boots slung around your neck.

What the hell happened in-between?

BORIS BIKES

BORIS BIKES – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

COMING SOON!

“COMING SOON!” – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

TREES

TREES – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

CLIFF FACE

CLIFF FACE: IS IT ME, OR HAS THIS BEEN BUILT UPSIDE DOWN? – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

COSY LONDON BOOZER - THE BREE LOUISE

COSY LONDON BOOZER - THE BREE LOUISE: CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

THE BREE LOUISE

THE BREE LOUISE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

PHIL & ANDY, THE CALEDONIAN SLEEPER TO FORT WILLIAM

PHIL & ANDY, THE CALEDONIAN SLEEPER TO FORT WILLIAM – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

08:30 BREAKFAST NEAR RANNOCH STATION (PHOTO LIFTED FROM JEREMY BURROWS)

08:30 BREAKFAST NEAR RANNOCH STATION (PHOTO LIFTED FROM JEREMY BURROWS)

 

"THEY WERE THIS BIG!"

"THEY WERE THIS BIG!" – CLICK TO ENLARGE (WHOOPS!)

 

GOOD ADVICE

GOOD ADVICE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

NATURAL APPREHENSION - CRAIG GULLEY

NATURAL APPREHENSION - CRAIG GULLEY – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

SOLE MATES

SOLE MATES? THIS MIGHT JUST BE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE

 

THE END OF CIVILISATION

THE END OF CIVILISATION – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

QUIZ NIGHT WINNERS

QUIZ NIGHT WINNERS. HERE’S A TIP: DON’T WIN THE LOCALS’ QUIZ, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ONLY START HALFWAY THROUGH…

 

MALLAIG

MALLAIG – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

MALLAIG

MALLAIG – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

MALLAIG

MALLAIG – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

ANDREW MODELS HIS NEW "STEALTH" JACKET

ANDREW MODELS HIS NEW "STEALTH" JACKET – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

KNOYDART BOUND

KNOYDART BOUND – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

EMMA, SMILING

EMMA, SMILING – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

PHIL'S EXCELLENT PICTURE

PHIL'S EXCELLENT PICTURE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

WE'D BEST GO BACK THEN. [PHIL'S PICTURE]

WELCOME TO KNOYDART: WE'D BEST GO BACK THEN. [PHIL'S PICTURE]

 

THE WESTERN ISLES AT KNOYDART PIER

THE WESTERN ISLES AT KNOYDART PIER – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

THE OLD FORGE

PHIL’S PICTURE

 

THE OLD FORGE

THE OLD FORGE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

HAPPY

HAPPY

 

EVERYONE SMILING (THEY'RE IN A PUB)

EVERYONE SMILING (THEY'RE IN A PUB) – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

JUST THE THREE THEN?

JUST THE THREE THEN? – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

OUTSIDE THE OLD FORGE

OUTSIDE THE OLD FORGE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

WE HAD DONE OVER A HUNDRED YARDS

WE HAD DONE OVER A HUNDRED YARDS – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

LEAVING INVERIE

LEAVING INVERIE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

BROCKET MEMORIAL

BROCKET MEMORIAL – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

THE TRACK TO BARRISDALE

THE TRACK TO BARRISDALE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

HEADING TOWARDS SOURLIES

HEADING TOWARDS SOURLIES [WITH ANDREW WEARING HIS WW1 BATTLESHIP CAMO TROUSERS] – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

PHIL'S PICTURE

PHIL'S PICTURE [IN THOSE TROUSERS YOU CAN’T TELL WHICH WAY ANDY’S WALKING] – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

CLIMBING TOWARDS THE BEALACH

CLIMBING TOWARDS THE BEALACH – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

VICKY SORE AT THE BEALACH

VICKY SORE AT THE BEALACH – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

RIVER CARNACH

RIVER CARNACH – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

FURTHER UP RIVER CARNACH

PHIL’S PICTURE: FURTHER UP RIVER CARNACH – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

CROSSING THE CARNACH

PHIL’S PICTURE: CROSSING THE CARNACH – CLICK TO ENLARGE

In the blink of an eye, while you scrolled down this page, we had transmogrified from Smart London Strollers to Clapped-Out Raggedy Highland River Ruffians. The Challenge was afoot!

TENT CITY, RIVER CARNACH

TENT CITY, RIVER CARNACH – CLICK TO ENLARGE

51 comments:

  1. An interesting and brave start. Looking forward to the rest,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Conrad.
      The write up is in a slightly different format this year. I'm working on the next post at the moment.

      Delete
  2. Are we on a roll now. Part 2 please. BTW what are those slidey yellow things on Mr Walkers rucksack straps?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Excellent photographic evidence m'lud!
    JJ

    ReplyDelete
  4. The slidy yellow things are little sliding padded bits made of old mat and duck tape.
    Because Osprey straps are too thin and cut into shoulders.
    Since last year I had issues with the straps I have added these to my Exos and Talon, and for me they weigh next to nothing and work a treat.
    Of course, if I could afford a Maripossa or Gorilla pack, I would use that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Andy. I did wonder because they seem to be in different positions depending on the photo. When i had a look recently at this years Green Exos model i thought they had improved the straps quite a bit over the previous Orange model. I have also made additional karrimat straps to my own Mammut Creon lite so i know how sore the collar bones get and why they are required.
      I would like a Maripossa also, but too much money i’m afraid.

      Delete
    2. Alan Wormald did something very similar by cutting up an old numnah.

      Delete
  5. Ooohhh Goody.
    A report about our trip.

    It has been so long I had forgotten it all.
    Maybe I can write mine up this week or next.
    Been preoccupied with surgery.

    But you won't make me relive the terrible bits will you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will be delving into all the terrible bits, in the minutest of details, Sir.
      By the way, just how big were they???

      Delete
  6. Great set of images Alan, looking forward to day 2 and the rest. Who's that guy with Andrew in the 9th and 10th photo, I think I walked with him in 2012?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be the excellent Peter Molenaar, Bryan. He's a lovely bloke.
      :-)

      Delete
    2. Peter, that's it, Is he from Holland, or somewhere that way? A very nice chap I seem to remember.

      Delete
    3. Indeed, Bryan - Snipped from this year's details:
      210 Peter Molenaar 47 Maasdijk, The Netherlands (7)

      Delete
  7. Good start Alan, a nice mixture of civilisation and one of my favourite bits of Scotland - Knoydart. More please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mark.
      :-)
      I agree; Knoydart is splendid! But very hard going indeed, as you'll see from my next post which will be along shortly.

      Delete
  8. A splendid start, especially putting the rebellious locals in their place by winning the pub quiz. Might I suggest that you change your name to Toby. That seems to be the ticket to acquiring a more pulchritudinous walking companion than your two current ones ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How very dare you, Sir!
      Phil & Andy are Challenge Pin-up Boys. There's many girls who go weak at the knees at just a mention of our two Handsome Hunks.
      Good point though. Toby or not Toby. That is the question.

      Delete
  9. A fine start, Sir!
    There are some of us who rush to pour out their Challenge memories before they fade. Like new wine the reports can be a bit lacking in some of the finer flavours.
    There are others, like yourself, who let their memories mature and come out slowly, like a good wine should be treated.
    I look forward to the following instalments - great photos too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear. I've always thought of myself as a wine that's been kept very badly.
      Corked.

      Delete
  10. I've always had my doubts about your common sense ... but now I KNOW it to be seriously lacking. I mean, come on ... if you're GOING to breach copyright, you might have chosen the copyright of somebody you DIDN'T know to be a lawyer!!!

    The route so far is familiar ... I passed this way on my first Challenge, in the days before digital photography.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi J
      :-)
      It's always fun to tweak the nose of the Establishment, don't you think? However, I don't recall signing the release form... Perhaps I should send an invoice for my modelling services?
      If you have already been this way, you're going to love my next post. We made a complete Horlicks of Day Two...
      :-)

      Delete
  11. cracking pictures alan . i can,t wait for the write up as i,ll plenty of time to read it as i,m having surgery on my foot . :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Chris
      Good luck with the foot surgery - The Challenge blogs should keep you occupied for a while - there's seemingly hundreds of them this year!
      :-)

      Delete
  12. Some nice creative camera work Alan! Lots of photos is always good. Let the pics do the talking I say. Day two needed ASAP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not actually writing them in chronological order this year, but, as it happens, this time Day Two does in fact follow the first post which included Day One.
      :-)
      Some cracking pictures coming up - even though I say it myself.
      *smug fucker*

      Delete
  13. Excellent. TGOC from "Fifty something beardy bloke" is one of the highlights of the blogging year. Any hotels ban you this year? :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very kind, James
      :-)
      This year our party was very well behaved. We did, however, leave the pub in Mallaig a bit sharpish after winning their pub quiz (having joined in mid way through the first round) when a chap - from the team that usually wins it hands-down - accused us of of using our phones. I thought he was joking at first, but when I realised he was deadly serious and mightily pissed off with us (we had won the £20 he would usually pocket) I addressed him in my best Estuary English, standing right over the fat little tosser.
      Ho hum.

      Delete
  14. Nice photos Alan - I'm looking forward to the next instalment. I climbed up to Bealach na h-Eangair from the Carnoch last year in the July heatwave. Very nearly killed me...

    Out of curiosity, did you wade the river because the bridge was down or just for the sheer hell of it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andrew
      We cut immediately west after dropping most of the way down from Mam Meadail, staying above the boggy ground and crossed the Carnoch next to Cnoc Allt na Seilge and camped almost immediately at a half decent camp spot. It was a wise choice as virtually everywhere else was either covered in that red twiggy dwarf tree shrub thing or very wet bog.
      (What is that red twiggy dwarf tree shrub thing called, by the way?)
      The river was low and this way we avoided a lot of bog. There was a very large chunk of machinery working on "improving" the path on the west side of the Carnoch lower down the valley.
      Nipping over Bealach na h-Eangair from the Carnoch would have been a mightier sight easier than the route we took the next day. More on that shortly!
      :-)

      Delete
    2. Red Twig Dogwood? http://knechts.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/P3013818.jpg

      Delete
    3. Nipping over Bealach na h-Eangair from the Carnoch would have been a mightier sight easier than the route we took the next day. More on that shortly!

      Hmmmm. I seem to remember suggesting that before you decided to cross the river, and then ask me if it would go.
      As if I wasn't going to climb it even if it killed me.
      Which it didn't, it nearly killed you.

      Ahhh. Hindsight is such a wonderfully annoying thing!

      Delete
    4. I think you need to look at the map,Andy. That is not the route you suggested at the time, Sir. There will be more on this on my next post!
      Ta for the pictures, by the way - they arrived in this afternoon's post, Sir!
      :-)

      Delete
    5. Hi Andrew (Johnson)
      I don't think that's the stuff as it looks too tall. The stuff we found was all about a foot high. But thanks for the try, Sir!
      :-)

      Delete
  15. Love the picture of Andy camouflaged against the lifeboat...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lindy!
      :-)
      I worked particularly hard on that one, which was especially difficult after an evening in the pub.
      Let's face it - in a jacket that colour there's not going to be a lot Andy blends in against.

      Delete
  16. Hmmm. What's happened to my comment that I posted yesterday? If I didn't know better than anyone else that I am not IT literate I would assume that I had been censored :-). Actually, I said something like great pics but I also hope we will still get lots of your beautifully crafted prose in future posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Helloooo, Dear Thing!
      Nope! No comments from you on this post (prior to this one that I'm responding to now) have appeared in my inbox, Good Sir. I *never, ever* censor comments, unless of course they are obviously spam.
      I'm currently working on the next post, which is rammed with prose. Whether or not it is beautiful is quite another thing. Doubtful, if you ask me.
      :-)

      Delete
  17. I commented earlier, from my mobile, and on clicking 'publish', it took me to a 'page no longer available' message.
    So I've been sulking until I could be bothered to hoof out my laptop and comment again.
    Can't remember what I said, but...
    Love a good Challenge write up, make it a good one with lots of lovely pictures please!
    Any injuries this year? I don't think you mentioned any when I last saw you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sulk no more, Missy!
      I don't know - between you and Fellbound I'm beginning to feel paranoid. Where are all these mysteriously missing comments? Am I subconsciously deleting them whilst listening to the Archers? Have I been hacked, and some malevolent Chinaman is squirrelling away your comments to sell later on the black market? Is there is Bloggers' conspiracy afoot to drive me mad with self-doubt and anxiety attacks?
      Lots of lovely pictures, eh? Well, Ive just had Lord Elpus and Mad'n'Bad send me their pictures, so between us we should manage the occasional good shot.

      I, however, will always credit the photographer for their genius.
      :-)

      Any injuries? I'll have to think about that for a little while longer. One may be mentioned in the next post...

      Delete
  18. A fine story and dandy pics of folk ready for the Challenge. Let's see if they are all so scrubbed-looking in a few days time. And, like others, I do like a fine picture, so don't spare on the photo-breaks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Adam
      A new camera this year with a gigantic memory card means there's loads of pictures this year. Unfortunately, this merely exposes the ghastly truth of a rotten lensman; there are billions of pixels, which show up every hand-held tremor with delicate precision.
      I'll go back to watercolours next year.

      Delete
  19. Excellent, Alan. The huge number of comments clearly fills any need to commentate further on the story in pictures.
    Looking forward to the next instalment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Martin
      :-)
      I'm working on the next instalment as I type this.

      Delete
  20. Has the bridge at Carnach finally given up the ghost or did you just feel like cooling your feet in the river?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ian
      The bridges is still there, Sir
      :-)
      We cut immediately west after dropping most of the way down from Mam Meadail, staying above the boggy ground and crossed the Carnoch next to Cnoc Allt na Seilge and camped almost immediately at a half decent camp spot. It was a wise choice as virtually everywhere else was either covered in that red twiggy dwarf tree shrub thing or very wet bog.
      (What is that red twiggy dwarf tree shrub thing called, by the way?)
      The river was low and this way we avoided a lot of bog. There was a very large chunk of machinery working on "improving" the path on the west side of the Carnoch lower down the valley.
      Besides, It's not a Challenge unless you have a decent river crossing every day!
      :-)

      Delete
  21. Nice start to your challenge (I'm catching up on some missed blog posts) I enjoyed reading that one. Think I'll save part 2 for tomorrow's dinner break at work.

    Cheers
    Sandy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello old friend!
      :-)
      Feel like applying for the Challenge, Sir? The entry form will be out in the October magazine (which, bizarrely, come out at the beginning of September)
      Go on - you know you want to...
      :-)

      Delete
    2. I've considered it in the past but now I'm not so sure. With the lungs I've got these days it'd have to be a fairly sedate crossing.

      Delete
    3. There are a couple of start points where a relatively simple crossing can be made from - Oban springs to mind straight away - Take a look at your maps, Sandy and have a think. You'll have a ball!
      :-)

      Delete

Hi.
Because of spammers, I moderate all comments, so don't worry if your comment seems to have disappeared; It has been sent to me for approval. As soon as I see it, I'll deal with it straight away.
Thank you!