About this blog

Just having a bit of fun here, posting about walks and other stuff. I need to get out more.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

TGO Challenge Route 2011. The second week.

By this stage, one week into a long walk, life becomes a routine. All thoughts are focused on where you are headed that day, the weather conditions, navigation, rest stops and at the end of the day, finding a nice spot to pitch the tent
This is a lifestyle of the most simplistic kind... Living the life of a nomad.

Fri 20th May.
Head out of Dalwhinney with a heavy pack containing 4 days worth of food supplies, following the Aqueduct up to Loch Cuaich where there is a nice track along the length of the loch. Rough pathless walking then following the water courses down the the river Tromie.where there is a bridge close to Bhran cottage. Head north from here along glen Tromie before cutting across to Baileguish via Croidh-la and forestry. Hope to camp at Baileguish but rumour has it the this area is popular with deer tick's, so may push on to Glen Feshie
Distance covered 24km with about 600m of ascent.

Sat 21st May
Hopefully after 8 day's walking I will be fit as a fiddle by this stage. I will need to be as I have planned two seriously testing hill days through the Cairngorms. Today, the plan is to take the Foxhunters path up to Carn Ban More and navigate over the plateau to the Munros on the eastern edge. This is magnificent country and I really hope I get the weather to be able to do this walk. I have twice planned to do this but on both occasions have been thwarted by poor weather. Third time lucky I hope...
View from Ben Macdui

I had a great view of these three Munros (Sgor an Lochain Uaine, Cairn Toul and The Devils Point) from Ben Macdui on last year's walk.

The descent to Corrour bothy can be tricky if there is significant snow in Coire Odhar, hopefully it will be fine on the day as I need to push on to camp close to Derry Lodge to put me in a good position for the long walk the following day.

Derry Lodge
I camped here last year and was lucky enough to have a great Golden Eagle sighting, a cracking end to a memorable day.
It's a really lovely spot close to the Derry Burn amongst the Scots Pines. There should be a few other Challenge walkers here but most will be ahead of me by a day and no doubt living it up in Marr Lodge or Braemar.
Derry Lodge camp 2010

Sun 22nd May
Early start and another big hills day. I walked part of this route last year and enjoyed it so much that I included it again this year, Clais Fhearnaig has a wonderful lochan, few walkers pass this way and it's an ideal oportunity for a skinny dip/scrub up/tick check.
Glen Quoich is quite stunning too. From here I hope to head up to Ben Avon and its two Munros. If I am going to opt out of a high level day and instead take the FWA, then I suspect it will be today. Hope not though as I really want to see the topography on the Ben Avon tops.
Clais Fhearnaig

Either way, I will end up following the River Gairn as far as Loch Builg where I intend to camp.

Distance 30km
Ascent 1250m (If Ben Avon is done)


Mon 23rd May
Easy day along Glen Gairn, familiar territory for me as I have passed this way twice before on previous Challenges. I like this glen a lot, the walking is easy on good paths and tracks and there are Oyster Catchers, Curlews and Lapwings in good numbers to add interest to the walk. I will then follow minor roads along side the river into civilisation again at Ballater and a welcome B&B.

25km and a lowly 400m of upwardness.

Tue 24th May.

REST DAY. Spent doing...well, not very much at all really except sleeping, eating and drinking Guinness.

Wed 25th May.
Mounth Keen path to Mount Keen and onwards to Tarfside.
Tarfside is a funnel for Challenge walkers heading for the coastline in the St Cyrus-Montrose area.
On the Tuesday the "campsite" will be full of Atkos, Lasers, Tarps and the like and the Masons Arms will do a roaring trade on what is one of the most "sociable" evenings on the Challenge.
I expect the Wednesday night crowd to be a bit more refined and I'm not even sure the Masons will be open.
Still, it should mean that I can get a bed in St Drostans hostel and have the full attention of the lovely ladies who staff the hostel for the benefit of TGO Challengers.

Distance 27km Ascent 1150m (if Mount Keen not bypassed)

Thur 26th May
The walk will be almost over now, just one and a half easy going days to the coast. Today I will just follow the River North Esk into Edzell for lunch and then on to the campsite at North Water Bridge.
About 25km today with no ascent worth mentioning.

Friday 27th May.
Early start along lanes and and paths to my finish point on the beach in Montrose Bay. Paddle in the sea and walk along the beach to hopefully catch the aftermath of the morning after the night before on the campsite in Montrose.

And there you have it.... The most challenging of my challenge walks to date with some long, tough days. It's within my capabilities though so long as I stay injury free, eat well and the weather is not too serious. It will be interesting when I post my trip report to see how close the actual route turns out compared to the planned route.

Beach celebration St Cyrus 2007 after falling into bad company.


  1. It looks like we won't be seeing each other as you seem to be studiously avoiding the throngs, Dave!

    Looks like a grand walk though. I'm still waiting to hear back from the vetters.

  2. I may be around at Tarfside... I have Marilyns to bag and old ladies to help.

  3. Hi Alan and Mike, thanks for "following". This blogging lark's a bit addictive isn't it?

    Alan, I just fancied a quiet, unsociable route this year for a change. Sure I will meet other loners at Derry Lodge, Ballater, Tarfside and on North Water Bridge campsite. Toying with the idea of booking a return taxi to The Park on Thursday night...
    Good luck with the protest btw.

    Mike, It would be good to see you in a pinny at St Drostans! Have a word with the staff at the Masons will you? Tell them there's a thirsty Yorkshireman passing through on Wednesday.

  4. I like the pic of you at the end in 2007, brings back great memories, looks like you will mostly avoid 'Bad Company' this year...but you never know who might turn up at one of your high remote camps with some special supplies!

  5. Richard.
    St Cyrus in 2007 was fantastic wasn't it? I have a photo somewhere with the rest of the "gang" that walked with me from Edzell and NWB that day, I'll post it sometime.
    It would be great to see you and your "special supplies" at some point in May.