TGO Challenge 2015 – Stats and Random Facts

Meall Mor, on the ridge between Cona Glen and Glen Scaddle

Meall Mor, on the ridge between Cona Glen and Glen Scaddle

After last years mammoth (lazy) write up which took a staggering 9 months to complete, I’m taking a different tack this year and writing a few themed posts rather than a blow by blow account of each day. This is mainly because this years TGO was very different to my first, a quite solitary affair, and so the walking itself was a very personal experience.

I’ll probably write a post on the route itself, another on how gear faired etc…but let’s start with some stats about the trek and some random factoids.

I’ve now re-totted up the mileage and ascent since getting home, and because I altered the route when weather was better or worse than expected, these ended up being a bit bigger than planned. Anyhow here goes;

  • Start – Lochailort
  • Finish – Dunnottar Castle
  • Total Distance                              383 km (237 miles)
  • Total Ascent                                 18,045 m (59,203 ft)
  • Highest single days Ascent   2,671 m (8,763 ft)
  • Longest Day                                 40 km (25 miles)
Planned and actual distance and ascent

Planned and actual distance and ascent

Day 1 camp, Lochan nan Sleubhaich

Day 1 camp, Lochan nan Sleubhaich

  •  27 Monros/Corbetts were climbed, plus a few Grahams (I’d aimed to climb 25)
  • Over 150 km was across pathless, trackless ground
  • 11 nights wild camping, 2 nights in bunk-houses
  • Foul Weather Alternatives (FWA) were used on 2 days (I had 10 FWA’s planned in case)
  • On 2 later days I altered my route to go high rather than the planned low level route
  • I had to drop 6 munros through Glen Coe when following FWA’s, but altered my route to climb an additional 8 munros later in the route
Top of Carn an Righ, 1029 m

Top of Carn an Righ, 1029 m

  • There were 3 nights when my sleeping bag reached the limit of it’s comfort, 1 night when I woke to a frozen tent
  • One night in Glen Coe tested the limits of my tent (Tarptent Notch), with gale force winds and driving rain, hail and sleet. It came through unscathed.
  • I used only 1 set of socks over the 14 days, managing to wash them every 2 days
  • Microspikes were packed, but I was never forced to use them.
  • My camera got waterlogged on the 3rd day, coughed, spluttered……and died. My wife kindly posted a spare to Bridge of Balgie which I picked up 4 days later
  • I had no other serious gear malfunctions, just wear and tear on gaiters and a couple of seams fraying
Camped below Carn Gorm

Camped below Carn Gorm

  • I posted resupply parcels to Kinlochleven and Bridge of Balgie, and one month before the TGO Challenge I cached a parcel by Baddoch Burn just south of Braemar.
  • I lost 4 pounds in weight, which apparently is equivalent to 14,000 KCal. That means my food was short by 1,000 KCal a day. I’d packaged food based on needing 3,200 KCal a day, so I guess that means I actualy needed 4,200 kCal per day for this route. A reflection of the amount of ascent I guess
  • I never want to eat Trail Mix, peperami sausage, or porridge again. Totally sick of the sight of it.
  • No blisters, sore feet, or other ailments. Just one near miss when I drank copiously from a nearby stream next to my pitch, only to spot a decaying sheep carcass in a tributary the next morning. Luckily just downstream.
  • Two ticks hitched a ride, but I caught both early
Rannoch Moor from Beinn an Dothaigh, 1004 m

Rannoch Moor from Beinn an Dothaigh, 1004 m

  • I met absolutely nobody in the hills on 10 of the 14 days, managing to walk with somebody for only a couple of hours on just 2 of the days
  • The hardest day was undoubtedly Day 1 over the Moidart Corbetts. A tough and exhausting high level day over trackless terrain, with significant height loss of each Corbett.
  • The best day was over the Bridge of Orchy Munros, with endless sweeping views over Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe
Loch Sheil, descending the Moidart Corbetts

Loch Sheil, descending the Moidart Corbetts

11 thoughts on “TGO Challenge 2015 – Stats and Random Facts

  1. Well done John, that’s possibly the toughest route undertaken this year. Apart from our brief encounter in Montrose, I think Sue and I glimpsed you striding up Broad Cairn in a snowstorm whilst we were bimbling between a couple of nearby Munro Tops.

    • Thanks Martin, it was good to bump into again, if briefly, at Montrose. It was a tough route, especially on paper. In fact that first day over all the Moidart Corbetts in one go had me near exhausted and wondering whether I’d perhaps planned a bit too much. But fitness seemed to be at a good level, in fact in the later stages I was picking out extra munros to add in as I passed. I think the route fitted me perfectly and I enjoyed every minute, walking across Scotland for two weeks with a permanent smile on my face.

    • It was superb, there’s so many special things about the TGO. Quite apart from the social side, which is unique, the fact that you plan your own route across gives you a real sense of achievement. If you then thoroughly enjoy your own route then it just doubles the satisfaction. You don’t of course need to wait for the TGO to plan your own long route, but with busy lives sometimes this looks like a time consuming task. The TGO gives you an incentive, and when else would you get so much support and advise along the way from seasoned professionals.

  2. This post confirms what I knew…you never choose an easy route if there are big hills about. Your stats are awe inspiring!
    I look forward to your subsequent posts. I too plan a thematic approach go my blog write up but may take a while to get round to it.

    • I think if your fitness is OK you just seem to get into the swing of it and it gets easier each day. And the route helped by being continually energising start to finish. I’d encourage others to swing further south, it’s quiet and there’s so much scope for altering the route as you go along. The only bit of road walking I did before exiting the Fetteresso Forest at the East Coast was crossing the Corran Ferry.

    • Thank you Ruth, but to be honest I have a great deal of admiration for somebody who undertakes the sort of challenge you have set yourself. It takes a special sort of perseverance to take on such a mammoth long term walk and maintain your drive and enthusiasm from one year to the year next. I can’t even begin to imagine the logistics challenges as the route begins to get further from home.

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