TGO Challenge – Application and Initial Plans

Well, the application for the TGO Challenge came out on September 15. If you are not familiar with the Challenge see this post.

I was on the trail last weekend but immediately filled out the online application Sunday night when I got back. I didn’t think I could get more obsessed with this idea than I already was…but I was mistaken.  Since I got a (very prompt) response from the organizers letting me know I passed the qualifications screening, I can’t seem to get the idea out of my head for more than a few hours.

The last time I spent more than a week in Scotland was when I was growing up there…I am on the left on the shore of Loch Lomond. Now I am hoping to spend two weeks walking across the country of my birth!

Now that my hat is in the ring, so to speak, for the potential lottery in November, I am spending a lot of free time poring over maps in more detail. I already had a couple of potential routes picked out but as it gets more real, I am revisiting my initial thoughts.  So far I know that I want to approach this as three consecutive approximate 4-5 day trips, which is my typical routine now.  These are my tentative sections and each location includes a hotel stay to dry off and rest (one each at the start and end, and two in the middle).

  • Dornie to Drumnadrochit
  • Drumnadrochit to Braemar
  • Braemar to Stonehaven (stay in Montrose)

There may be an optional added campground or hotel at Newtonmore or Aviemore if I need it or want a longer break for equipment issues, resupply etc.  Otherwise, my current plan is to wild camp the rest of the days.  Each of the four locations also has a castle I would like to see (Eilean Donan, Urquhart, Braemar, and Dunnottar) and be major landmarks on which I can focus – something that always helps my progress.  There are many other landmarks on the way but there is something about seeing these spots that really inspires me.

I won’t know until early November if I get in, but there is a silver lining…those qualified folks that don’t get picked are guaranteed a place the next year. So it’s just a matter of time before I attempt to walk across my homeland! In the meantime, I’ll be training by seeking out the boggiest areas, steep rocky trails, and windiest, wettest weekends I can find!

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