In 2013, for his tenth TGO Challenge Lord Elpus assumed full control of planning our route across Scotland. Mad'n'Bad and I had one or two issues with his plan; At the time, I wrote:
"Now tell me if you think I am a curmudgeon but it would seem logical, that given we’ll be starting on the west coast, if we want to finish on the opposite side of the country it would be a good idea if we were to head in an easterly direction. Well, of course it would. But in our case, we shall be heading west..."
This year I have had a cunning plan...
We are starting at the mainland's most westerly cafe and lighthouse: Ardnamurchan Point. According to good old Google, there is sod-all west of here for some two thousand miles, apart from seawater and fish, until you arrive at Newfoundland.
|CLICK TO ENLARGE|
It follows that the only direction available to us is East.
After enjoying a civilised cup of tea in the cafe at Ardnamurchan Point our plan is to then walk in an easterly direction for two weeks until we arrive at another wonderful cafe at the east coast. To add a spark, a frisson of excitement to our endeavour we have elected to walk within a tightly observed ten kilometre wide corridor, bounded by the OS Grid Northings 60 and 70.
This voluntary constraint (Miss Whiplash tells me in confidence that Lord E enjoys a little constraint) at times requires very careful planning to ensure we don't inadvertently stumble over the thin blue lines to find ourselves horrifically out of bounds. This means that on occasion we will be found tumbling down and up steep valley sides instead of enjoying airy perambulations around the heads of glens. Public houses will be tantalisingly out of reach.
This is an expedition like no other we have attempted in the past. There will be suffering, howls of anguish. We are taking this challenge on for you, dear reader.
Below, you'll find an overview of our route. It's three hundred kilometres long.
NB: You can click on each of the maps to blow them up. However, if you right click on them you are given the option of seeing them at full size in a new tab. For those of you who enjoy RouteBuddy's full strength mapping, I should warn you; This is hardcore and should only be viewed in the company of consenting adults.
|TGO CHALLENGE ROUTE OVERVIEW [CLICK TO ENLARGE]|
The next four RouteBuddy Maps screenshots show our route in a little more detail.
|DAY 0 TO DAY 3 [CLICK TO ENLARGE]|
|DAY 4 TO DAY SEVEN [CLICK TO ENLARGE]|
|DAY SIX TO DAY NINE [CLICK TO ENLARGE]|
|DAY ELEVEN TO DAY FOURTEEN [CLICK TO ENLARGE]|
Lord Elpus has been busy: Our transport up to the West Coast of Scotland is all arranged and Bed and Breakfasts are booked. All that remains is for me to finish the route sheet and persuade our Vetter that "it'll go."
Oh. There's also the small matter of walking three hundred kilometres of tick-infested bog next May.
What could possibly go wrong?
EDIT: 22nd November 2017:
- Point where we cross Scotland's W/E watershed added to map
- Our group's Captain, our Senior Boy, Lord Elpus sent our beautiful, quite sublime route sheet (can you tell that I spent ages fettling it so that it looked reasonably professional rather than the botched, ugly job devised by a previous Challenge Coordinator who shall remain nameless) to the Challenge Coordinators on 20th November for vetting... However, at the time of writing we have yet to have the contents, which is what's really important, approved. We have one or two doubts whether it might pass scrutiny - but more on that at a later post!