TGO Challenge 2015 : My Route

TGO Routes 2014 & 2015

My route for this years TGO Challenge has been vetted and signed off. Here’s a run down of where I’m heading, some of the vetters comments and  how it differs from last year’s trek. I’m starting from Lochailort and finishing at Dunnottar Castle this time.

My vetter this time was Colin Crawford who provided some great insight into some of the high level sections and even suggested a few additional tops I might like to bag along the way. He appeared to quite like the route.

You’re a man after my own heart; this really does look like a proper challenge with no less than 23 assorted Munros and Corbetts. I’ll work on the basis that your fitness and stamina will be up to the job.

It will need to be. The first day is the toughest of the crossing with almost 2200m of ascent, so I’ve got to get my fitness at a good level as I wont have any time to ease myself in gently. Not ideal really, just the way the route worked out.

Planned distance & ascent

I’ve basically tried to link up a few of the National Scenic Areas: Moidart, Loch Shiel, Glen Coe, Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon, Loch Tummel, and Deeside & Lochnagar. But I’ve also aimed to take it up a notch from last years route and include more high level walking with 25 munros/corbetts. At 17167 m of ascent it’s almost double that I did in 2014.

TGOC 2015 - 1st Section

TGOC 2015 – 1st Section

The first day is a big one taking me over the Moidart corbetts, hopefully with a wild camp at a lochan, before dropping shortly back down to Glenfinnan the next morning.

The Moidart Corbetts are a very fine group of hills, tough of access but a joy to wander over once you’re up there. If you manage these western giants in one outing, I salute you.

Then it across into the top end of Cona Glen before another high level stretch over to Glen Scaddle and on towards Corran.

Upper Cona Glen is deliciously remote and the ridge you plan to follow is superb in good weather..

Once across the Corran Ferry, I then head up through the forest to link with the West Highland Way (WHW) for a short stretch before another big day tackling the Mamores munros, but from the south. This isn’t the normal route up to the ridge, but it appears to be a goer. Once off the ridge I’m planning to pick up a resupply parcel in Kinlochleven at the end of a long day before either heading up to Blackwater Reservoir or up the WHW towards the Devils Staircase.

TGOC 2015 - 2nd Section

TGOC 2015 – 2nd Section

From Kingshouse the big days keep coming, this time the Clatchlet traverse over the Black Mount and the Aonach Eagach (not the Glen Coe one) taking in another couple of munros before dropping down to Bridge of Orchy. Then it’s up and over the Bridge of Orchy Munros before one of my few lower level days on down Glen Lyon via Loch an Daimh to Bridge of Balgie…

No hills today but this could be a surprisingly tough one. You have a trackless pass to cross between the reservoirs and that trench through which the Feith Thalain flows could possibly be awkward, slopes at a high camber.

…before climbing back up again to set myself up for another high level route the next day. This time over Carn Gorn and another few munros including Schiehallion, before dropping down for a night at Tummel Bridge (hopefully at a campsite if I can find one, I’ll be in desperate need of a wash by then after a week). This will be only one of two nights near civilisation, the other being at Tarfside.

TGOC 2015 - 3rd Section

TGOC 2015 – 3rd Section

And easy stretch from Tummel Bridge to Blair Athol then links me into Glen Tilt for a camp. I follow Glen Tilt as far as the Falls of Tarf before breaking off west via Fealar Lodge and Loch nan Eun to drop down to Glen Baddoch.

Relish Loch nan Eun, a wonderfully scenic high loch, usually noisy with the “eun” of its title.

Then it’s over to Loch Callater and the usual climb up around  Carn an Sagairt More, on over Cairn Bannoch, Cairn of Gowal and Broad Cairn before picking my way over Sandy Hillock and Ferrowie for a night camped at Loch Brandy.

You’ll lose everyone else as you stroll over Sandy Hillock to Capel Mounth, Ferrowie and Lair of Alderarie. The latter is very flat and was once used as a meeting spot for Highland games by folk from neighbouring glens. In comparison to the big hills though, this is a forgotten area which now sees few visitors.

TGOC 2015 - 4th Section

TGOC 2015 – 4th Section

The final stretch takes me on down to Tarfside for a night before the last two days over Mount Battock and finally through the Fetteresso Forest to Dunnottar Castle.

I’m pleased with the route, and really looking forward to it. I already sense that I’m going to enjoy it. It’s 14 full days of walking though with not that much of a let up, so if the weather’s not kind there’s not too much chance of playing catch up. At 362 km it’s a little longer than I’d like given the ascent, so fingers crossed.

There are a couple of challenges still to sort out being there will be;

  • few places to resupply (only Kinlochleven and Blair Athol)
  • few places to get washed and laundered (all wild camps other than Tummel Bridge and Tarfside)
  • few opportunities to recharge phone and camera

For now it’s simply a case of getting fit.

2014 2015
Total Distance km 342 362
Daily Average km 28.5 25.8
Total Ascent m 9236 17167
Daily Average Ascent m 739 1226
FWA’s 3 10
Munros + (optional) 1 (2) 16 (4)
Corbetts + (optional) 1 (1) 9 (1)
Wild Camps 6 11
Other Camps 5 2

12 thoughts on “TGO Challenge 2015 : My Route

  1. A fine walk that John. Cona Glen is seldom visited. Good way to go. Tummel Bridge was when I went that way lacking a campsite. I found a bed and breakfast. Good food at the holiday site can be enjoyed in the evening.

    A word of warning, as the way down to Tummel Bridge was very slow going and hard in the heather there (deep overgrown and boulder strewn ) . One of the worst sections I have done on a TGOC.

    We finish on the Thursday in week 2 and cross Mt Battock. We might cross paths. Have a happy and safe crossing.

    • Thanks for the tip Matin, the last section into Tummel Bridge will be at the end of a long day so I’ll take that into account.

      I may email the holiday park in Tummel and beg for a bit of grass for the night. You never know….

      See you sometime towards the end hopefully.

    • Cheers Ian, this is becomming a habit starting at the same point (if twice is a habit). I’ve tried to ensure my FWA’s are still interesting routes as I’d be amazed if a few of them didn’t come into play. But you never know. Be interesting to see whether fitness or weather becomes the crux.

    • You should have seen version 1 & 2 Robin. I originally intended to start from Kilchoen so I could take in the whole of the National Scenic Area there, not just the Moidart part. But that would have been way too long. So then I switched to Archaracle, but heading ‘west’ to start with to Castle Tioram before heading north up to the Moidart corbetts. That would have been my ideal route as it would have been castle to castle..something attractive in that idea. But it would have needed an extra day and if weather had been poor I don’t like to aim for a last minute Friday finish as it leaves no flexibilty. So I finally switched to Lochailort.

      Still, it leaves my map scribbled with potential routes for the future…..not that I intend doing the TGO again after this year!

  2. Pingback: The Great Outdoor Challenge 2015, TGO 2015

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