Originally, this was to be a blog about my preparations to enter the TGO Challenge in 2012. For a variety of reasons that didn't happen, so this has now become the repository for my outdoor musings.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hatching Plans

So, as I mentioned in my first post, a number of things came together, prompting me to consider the possibility of a tilt at the TGOC. What struck me as I was mulling them over was the sense of nervousness that I was feeling. Now rightly I think you should feel a proper sense of respect for this sort of event, you are crossing rugged terrain, in variable weather, dependant on what you're carrying in your head and in your pack. But I think the unsettled feeling came from conflicting emotions that were wobbling about in the old brain box. On one hand, I really wanted to do the event, I love the outdoors, and everything that I had read and listened to about the TGOC made it sound increasingly awesome. On the other hand, I was well aware that I would need to be away from home whilst training and taking part, and actually I really like Bev, and I quite like my cats, and the thought of periods away seemed a little stressful. What to do, what to do?

Well, as always, talking it over with Bev made it all better. She definitely understands my need to be out in the wilds, and basically gave me the green light that I needed! Thanks babe!

So now what? This will be no surprise to anyone who knows me, I've made a list! I have broken down my preparations in to six main areas, that number may well change as things unfold. They are Route, Fitness, Skills, Equipment, Food & Drink and Questions to Ask. Gradually I will work through them. As a start, I bought the Michelin road map for Scotland in order to get a clearer idea of the lay of the land, where the start points are, pinch points, resupply options, flesh pots (relatively speaking) and most importantly, the finish line. I have examined in further detail my copy of Scottish Hill Tracks to see how some of them could be linked together. As a confirmed map lover, this has also been a convenient excuse to buy more OS maps, 1:50k for an overview, then later I'll switch to 1:25k for navigation on the challenge. Where's The Path (gleaned from a TGOC podcast) is a very interesting, and extremely useful, website. More websites and blogs have been browsed and Outdoor Station podcasts listened to, giving me plenty of information to sort and build on. And this is just the motivation I need to get a really decent exercise plan put in place!

So that's where I am at the minute. Further updates to follow, stay tuned!


Synchronicity is defined as the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated but which occur together in a meaningful manner.

It was synchronicity that came to my mind recently. In the October 2010 copy of TGO I had received the entry form for the TGO Challenge 2011. A few days later I came across a copy Scottish Hill Tracks by the Scottish Rights of Way Society in a small, secondhand bookshop. Whilst browsing backbackinglight.co.uk I followed the link to their podcast section where I came across seven podcasts covering the 2010 Challenge (which were fascinating, I might add!) If that wasn't enough, I've just booked a cottage on the shores of Loch Sunart in western Scotland for a week in January, which has had me spreading out OS maps of the area left, right and centre. Oh yeah, and I really fancy having an exciting, outdoorsy challenge to look forward to!

Sadly, I don't think I'm suitably tuned up for TGOC 2011 so I'm setting my sights on 2012. That should give enough to get fit, get kit and get some practice in!

It looks like I may not be alone in this endeavour. Speaking to long-time mate and fellow Spa2Summiteer, Pete Bod, about TGOC2012, resulted in some lively discussion about kit, logistics, skills & fitness, and the growing of the team by 100%! It also seemed likely that Mr. Chris Smith (again mate, Spa2Summiteer and lover of the outdoors) might be up for the jaunt. A lengthy email, giving details of the event and the expected skills and experience, resulted in a succinct reply: "I'm in! C." Now we are three.

So, over the next twenty months we have a lot to do. I will do my best to keep this blog up-to-date, detailing the training we're doing, the kit decisions we make, the routes we're considering, the logistical headaches we encounter, our thoughts and emotions as the day draws near and anything else that seems relevant. Please keep checking back, and if you are able to offer any advice or hard-earned knowledge then please feel free to do so!