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Thursday, 11 December 2014

TGO Challenge 2015: Route: Shiel Bridge - Johnshaven

ROUGH STUFF: ANDY WALKER'S PICTURE OF PHIL LAMBERT & ME

ROUGH STUFF: ANDY WALKER'S PICTURE OF PHIL LAMBERT & ME – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Our route came back from vetting yesterday, and we were given the thumbs up; No revisions were required. Phil has been busy and all our accommodation is booked. So now all we have to do is plunge our flabby bodies into the wintry countryside to regain a modicum of fitness. Tricky.

For what it’s worth, here’s our route. It’s an interesting mix of landscapes.

TGOC 2015 OVERVIEW MAP

OVERVIEW MAP – CLICK TO ENLARGE

We’re passing through the southern Balmacaan before it disappears beneath the Bhlaraidh wind farm. In the past Phil and I have walked through this wonderful landscape in forbidding weather. Dark low clouds and cold drizzling rain suited the place wonderfully, adding to its wild, primordial delights. We have two and a half days of trackless bog hopping here that we expect to be the highlight of our crossing.

TGOC 2015 MAP DAYS 1-3

DAYS 1-3: CLICK TO ENLARGE

After crossing Loch Ness we’ll be passing beneath the Dunmaglass wind farm as the last turbines are being erected. We’re keeping away from them and heading to the delights of Glen Mazeran and then a yomp over more trackless stuff as a goodbye to the Monadh Liath as it will shortly be subsumed by more wind farms.

TGOC 2015 MAP DAYS 4-6

DAYS 4-6: CLICK TO ENLARGE

We then have a delightful stroll through the Abernethy Forest before climbing up and over some more rough stuff to our Cheese & Wine Party on the Water of Caiplich. We spend the next day and a half making our way to Ballater, taking a few hills in enroute.

TGOC 2015 MAP DAYS 7-9

DAYS 7-9: CLICK TO ENLARGE

An afternoon and morning off in Ballater to write postcards to loved ones is followed by a leisurely day and a half to the Mason’s Arms at Tarfside.

TGOC 2015 MAP DAYS 10-12

DAYS 10-12: CLICK TO ENLARGE

Then it’s a simple couple of days to the coast at Johnshaven for crab soup. We’ve decided to clamber up the last hill, so we can have a last lingering look back at Scotland.

TGOC 2015 MAP DAYS 12-14

DAYS 12-14: CLICK TO ENLARGE

You can poke about our planned route on our route sheet below;

2015 Master Route Sheet Version A.doc

 2015 Master Route Sheet Version A.doc

YOU CAN CLICK ON THE SHEETS TO ENLARGE THEM

There you go. This will be my twentieth and last TGO Challenge, and Phil’s twelfth. I will return to Scotland in the future, but only to areas free of wind farms. The way it’s going right now, there’s going to be less and less of Scotland to choose from.

35 comments:

  1. At first, I misread a bit of that as "a leisurely day and a half IN the Mason’s Arms at Tarfside". It sounded pretty appealing to be honest.

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    Replies
    1. That sounds like a plan, Dave.
      We actually get most of an afternoon and the evening in Tarfside.
      :-)

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  2. You can buy the beer at Ballater on the Sunday ;) Looks a fine ramble that.

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    Replies
    1. Sadly, Martin, this will be a beerless crossing, as Miss Whiplash has given strict instructions that no alcoholic beverages shall touch Lord Elpus's lips.

      We're currently working on a tube drinking system using his Osprey hydration system. It carries a couple of litres of beer, apparently.

      Delete
  3. Alan if you need any volunteers to test this drinking system then i,m your man to test it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There'll have to be an arm-wrestle for that job, Chris.
      :-)

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  4. challenge accepted choose your weapons spirits or bitter you can chose :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I might go for a two year old sloe gin...
      :-)

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  5. Gentlemen. Miss W has relented and permitted me a sweet sherry whilst writing the Christmas cards. Whether this latitude will continue beyond the Nativity is open to question, but I take this as a good omen.

    Gentlemen, the day that I am reduced to drinking my sherbets from a teat will be the day that I check into Dignitas. :-)

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  6. That's a lovely palette of landscape you've chosen Alan.

    Lynne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lynne
      We thought so too - we wanted a calming, replenishing walk in the woods after all the rufty tufty stuff on Days 2, 3 & 4. We need that to ready ourselves for the Cheese and Wine Party in the middle of sod-all. As it's my last, I wanted to see all of Scotland in one fortnight.

      Delete
  7. I might go for a two year old sloe gin...

    Funny, that is exactly what I am taking.
    Just sayin....

    Might be all gone by the C&W tho :-O

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But I was relying on you for one of your magic beers, Sir!
      :-)

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  8. OK... I have to ask why Miss W has banned the Ale & Wine and Sherry and Whisky sir.. I just have to.

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    Replies
    1. Phil is tight-lipped on the subject.
      A fleeting look of panic passes over him from time to time.
      Otherwise, he is well.
      Miss W is triumphant.

      Delete
  9. Ha! Lord E will be enjoying a dry Christmas this year (he will thank me for it in May) although I may allow him a small sherry on Christmas morning.

    At the moment he is lying on his settee pleading for a small libation to revive him after a quick canter around the lower field.

    Permission denied.

    I am using the abstemious Andrew W as a role model, as I know that there is a racing whippet inside him struggling to get out.

    ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite right too, Miss W.

      Proverbs: “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. / Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”
      :-)

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    2. It's okay Sir.
      As soon as we hit Inverness we'll buy two packets of Gauloises and some cask strenght Leapfrog and drink and smoke our way across Scotland to make up for your privations.
      Meanwhile, I'll drink to your abstention with a large glass of Breakfast Whisky.

      Delete
  10. Of course there will be beers.
    And I am thinking of sending some 2.5 yr old Sloe Gin to St Drostans. Well, we shall enjoy it while Phil looks on in angst.
    Rather than stop Alcohol. Just get out on the bike, down the Gym and do some hard miles running.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've not read your Challenge notes in a while, have you?
      St Drostan's doesn't take parcels, Sir.
      And if they did, JD will have sniffed it out and tested it all the way to the bottom way before we get there.

      Delete
  11. Bugger.
    I'll have to send it to Aviemore then and drink it at the C&W..
    Such sacrifice.
    I might need help. 🍺🍷

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  12. Replies
    1. When I posted Andy's comment, I wondered quietly to myself who the first noble volunteer would be...
      :-)

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    2. You should have known! ;-)
      Any road up, I have a question. You speak of a 'bridge under A9' and I am curious. I have used the under pass further north at NH 910 195 and at NH 893 228, but I wasn't aware of one at NH 910 817, I thought was just a road crossing (which Streetview seems to confirm) Is there one I've missed? Could be useful.

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    3. Aha!
      Gadzooks!
      Cripes!
      Lorks!
      I shall have to shove Lord Elpus's Bath-chair a little faster at this particular point in the day, Missy! I will of course be launching him out first into the path of the screaming juggernauts. It's the rail bridge that we pass under, not the A9.

      Psst! Don't tell him. It will be our little surprise. I'll sedate him with a large breakfast snifter. He won't know where he is by elevenses. Bless.

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    4. ...I'll be sticking with my underpass further north and a nice breakfast in civilisation. With cake.

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    5. Oi! I heard that. Screaming juggernauts? You didn't mention screaming juggernauts. Apparently there is an underpass further north, and breakfast ... and cake ...

      Still, that aside, it's a great route - I may nominate it for an award ;-)

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    6. No - we've already had one of those, Phil.
      Well - runner up - maybe I should put that as a blog header?
      :-)

      Delete
  13. You'll have to share it with a blog about walking to and from cake retail premises written by a girly. My route was planned first and is, worryingly, almost identical, so equally great!!

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    1. It may well be great, Louise, but is it beautiful?
      Have you spent long hours evening hours sorting out the mess that is the online routesheet? Substituting ugly text and colours for lively, more inviting choices? Realigning slipped out-of-line columns? Deleting unwanted numbers and text?
      OCD? You've got miles to go yet.

      About this breakfast emporium. Where would that be, then? Just in case I have a mutinous companion on my hands, you understand...

      Delete
    2. My route was beautiful and ordered, just like it should be.
      I may have been exagerating about breakfast and cake, but I'm prepared to take a punt after safely negotiating the A9 and the railway...

      Delete
  14. I do love the "Just in case"
    Who are you walking with.
    Link that up with the Word Breakfast sir. πŸ˜‚πŸ”πŸ³☕

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    Replies
    1. True, Andy, true. I lost count of the mutinies last year after the second day...
      :-)

      Delete

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