TGO Challenge 2015 completed


Yesterday I finished the 2015 TGO Challenge at Dunnottar Castle on the east coast of Scotland.

This was my second TGO Challenge and in almost all ways couldn’t have been more different from my first coast to coast crossing last year. I’d planned a high level route this time, and that combined with more extreme weather, some high winds and cold air temperatures made it a much more challenging trek. Continue reading

2014 – A year in review

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Miles walked: 810 (short of my 1000 mile target, but doesn’t include 266 miles of evening TGO training walks)

Longest trip: 220 miles  on the TGO challenge

Nights under canvas: 22 (not nearly enough)

High point: Laughing over a pint with the Chuckle Brothers until it hurt, in Braemar on the TGO **

Low Point: Doing an accidental back flip into a deep peaty ditch on day 1 of the TGO

Best days walk: Second day of the Limestone Lion from Malham to Grassington on a gloriously sunny spring day

Most expensive piece of kit purchased: Z-Packs 20 degree sleeping bag

Best piece of kit purchased: Vivo Barefeet ultralight trainers

Piece of kit I actually didn’t need to buy: All of it…it’s pure indulgence

Gear purchase excuses I used : (I) Orange is no longer fashionable. (ii) My life may depend on it, (iii) This one goes to 11

What I did too much of : Looking out of the window and deciding to wait until the weather was better

What I didn’t do enough of: Getting out while the weather ‘was’ good ** Not the Chuckle Brothers, obviously.


TGO Challenge 2014 Days 5 & 6 : Going ‘relatively’ ultralight


This is the life……

The sun continued to shine over the next two days bringing a spring to my step and seeing the miles fly by. Even after cramming my rucksack full to bursting with a resupply parcel at Spean Bridge I was still able to kid myself that I was ultra-lighting…..relatively speaking ! Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Days 2 & 3 : Walking Barefoot

Day 2 – Iron Lodge to Loch Cluanie : 26 km


Happy as a pig in muck in my Vivo Barefeet

Rain had bounced off the tent almost constantly throughout the night, at times very heavily. Luckily the breeze hadn’t changed direction so I remained cozy and dry under the Trailstar.

I’d sat up until late the previous evening sipping the odd drop of whisky and watching a steady stream of wet looking TGO challengers heading to camp at Iron Lodge, with a few carrying on west over towards Loch Mullardoch. These were probably starters from either Dornie or Sheil Bridge. One day into the TGO and I was already crossing over the paths of people starting from more southerly points. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 – Preamble : Musings from a challenger in rehab

Journeys End

Journeys End

I’ve been back home now for a week since completing the TGO, a week which has seen me clear the house completely of every last scrap of food in an effort to fend of what can only be described as an unnaturally large appetite. I’ve been shovelling calories down my throat faster than Sainsbury’s can home deliver it. All sorts of junk has been devoured and yet here’s the curious thing; I didn’t lose an ounce on the walk and I never felt hungry! So why the sudden hunger now? Continue reading

TGO challenge 2014 – Final Gear List


Not to be left out, here finally after a bit of tinkering is my Gear List for the TGO.

I’ve optimistically assumed the sun will have his hat on when I set out from Strathcarron on the 9th May,  so shell jacket, gaitors, gloves, hat and windshirt etc will all be in the pack. So the total base weight is really a worst case.

Most of the  stuff here will be all too familiar, and as with everyone’s lists it’s very much a personal choice after many years finding out what works for me.


Continue reading

The Limestone Lion of Yorkshire – a two day prowl

Limestone Lion Cover_0001

There can’t be many 2 day treks that manage to pack so many iconic Dales features into such a compact little route as the Yorkshire Limestone Lion, so when I was looking for a 2 day trek to check my gear choices for this year’s TGO Challenge it was an easy choice.

It wasn’t however the quickest of choices. I picked up the little guide booklet for this walk almost 30 years ago at the Pen-y-Ghent café in Horton in Ribblesdale and its sat on my bookshelf ever since, waiting for me to realise what a little gem of a walk it is. As it turns out it’s a little cracker. Continue reading

TGO training : They Went Up Like Men! They Came Down Like Animals!

Being born lacking either the sports spectator or the TV repeat enthusiasts gene, I don’t need too much encouragement to remove my carcass from the couch for a spot of exercise. The thought of a training schedule however will normally have me inventing some excuse for avoidance, like the urgent need to rearrange my sock drawer.

Continue reading

Gear I will not be taking on the TGO 2014

Daletrekker Sombrero - my first backpacking tent 34 years ago

Daletrekker Sombrero – my first backpacking tent 34 years ago

Before I could spend too much time deliberating, cogitating and digesting all the gear options for this years TGO challenge, a grainy old photo (discovered while writing my About me page) leapt out to give me a much needed reality check and kick up the derrière.

Taken 32 years ago when I was a fledgling 15 year old backpacker, it showed all my kit laid out ready for the Pennine Way in 1982. Continue reading