I thought I would pass on/distribute a few useful sites for folks like me who are planning on applying for the TGO Challenge for the first time. Several excellent information sources I have found include:
- TGO Challenge (http://www.tgochallenge.co.uk/) – The official website chock full of excellent information from the general guidelines to specific information. The Message Board has a wealth of info from the old timers to excellent questions and worries of those starting out. Also, since the 2017 event concluded a month ago there are some fantastic links to blogs, videos, and photo galleries sharing many of the experiences.
- Section Hiker (https://sectionhiker.com/category/trip-report/scotland/) – Philip Werner has consolidated an excellent page of information for those planning to hike in Scotland (TGO Challenge or otherwise). From trip reports to advice on planning and equipment, his experience and perspective coming from the US is invaluable for someone like me planning hopefully for the first time next year. Plus he spells his name right with one L!
- On Historic Routes (http://on-historic-routes.com/2015/08/11/planning-the-tgo-challenge-from-abroad/) – Another great site with experience planning the TGO Challenge from outside the UK. Excellent suggestions to make things easier.
I hope these help fellow first time international hopefuls for the TGO Challenge – maybe I’ll see you in the Highlands!
In the last few months, I have become infatuated, maybe even obsessed, with the idea of walking across Scotland – either on my own or hopefully, if accepted, in the TGO (The Great Outdoors) Challenge. This annual event in May organizes a two-week crossing of the Scottish Highlands for around 300 folks. They keep the entrants to a mixture of about half new and half returning walkers.
I can’t pin down one reason this event has captured my interest, but realistically it is a combination of multiple factors:
- Interest in going back and hiking some of the areas I walked with my grandfather in distant memories growing up in Scotland.
- The passing of my Scottish mother last year, leaving me as the last Scottish-born member of the immediate family.
- My love for high, open country and walking in all sorts of weather.
- The descriptions of the hiking including bog and stream crossings, that I have “trained” for all my professional career slogging through all types of wetlands.
- Vague memories of towns and vacations in the highlands coming back stronger when I look at maps of Scotland.
- My enjoyment of single malt Scotch whisky and good Scottish food (especially breakfasts and pies!).
- Turning 50 in 2018 and hoping to celebrate with the walk through my birthplace in the highlands.
I’ll try to document my progress in researching, planning, applying, and (hopefully) going on the TGO Challenge from the start. There are many excellent blogs associated with the Challenge, including some from newcomers. I’ll add those to the links page as well over time as I read through more of them. I am looking forward to this journey in a way I have never felt about any other backpacking trip!