Saturday, 4 October 2008


David's getting really carried away now. Either that or my rather rusty navigation skills are concerning him somewhat! Anyway, he's ordered some books which have arrived this morning and they have already recieved a good thumbing. I still need to get on the hillside with a map and compass, but the clear instructions given should help.

So far, we have Navigation for Walkers by Julian Tippett and Hillwalking by Steve Long.

I've also been reassured somewhat on the matter of wild water. Carrying enough fresh water to avoid having to use wild water was going to be difficult for the odd wild camps I have planned (so far), but so long as we check the water supply upstream for a couple hundred yards, we should be safe enough, so that's another worry sorted. At the moment. Until I have nightmares!

My other skills aren't as bad as I thought, it's really a lot of common sense about what to carry, planning a route, picking the best path on the hillside, walking pace etc. and I can manage most of that. Where best to pitch a tent, cross a stream and things like that are the snippets I'm interested in. Lots of reading to do.

Will make a change from The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness and Harry Potter...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Planning and research

Still planning my route and researching equipment.

I don't know how many times I can review and tweek my route, but I've currently made alterations after my stop at Braemar by including Carn an t'Sagairt Mor, Carn a Choire Bhoideach and Lochnagar enroute to Glas-allt-Shiel bothy and then continue onto Clova the following day, as originally planned.

Mind you, I think at the moment it's just all what appeals. In the end, it will depend on my fitness and stamina, although my stamina is usually quite good. Perhaps my plans will even change as I go, if my feet get sore!

As to equipment, I want a Shewee, (said in hushed tones for the sake of propriety, yours, not mine!) and I'm going to have one with an extension pipe, so there!

'Nuff said about that.

I want a down jacket that I can stuff into small spaces that will keep me warm of an evening, post walk and before bed, so I've got my eyes on something by North Face, Mountain Equipment or Rab. They all have warm stuffability, it'll be the best bargain I can find in the end! I would have preferred something that wasn't black, but if I do need to wear it and be visible, I might have a hi-viz vest stashed away, (perhaps a bit too sad, even by my standards...) or if I have to remain in one position I can use the bright orange survival bag! Should do the trick.

I want new walking trousers and a trekking jacket of some variety and I've settled on my baselayer, I think, I've seen a recommendation for some from Millets, of all places. I good price clinched that one too.

What is it I say to my children? Oh yes. "I want never gets." We'll see about that!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

A contribution

David's taking a little more interest now, getting a little more involved. I think he thought I was barking being so organised so far in advance, (especially when we might not even get on it next year!), but he's bought something for me.

A compass.

It's lovely and shiny and I'm sure it'll be very useful.

That's if I'm better using it 'in the field' than I am sitting in the lounge.

There's time.

Monday, 1 September 2008


Unfortunately, one of the main restrictions we have on the equipment we purchase is cost, so I am trying to buy the best we can afford.

The sleeping bags that fitted most of the criteria were Vango Venom 300, which should cope with the climate, with a comfort rating of 0c to +25c, are quite light at 880gr and compress to 22 x 14cm. I found them online at a very reasonable price and tried mine out, as soon as it arrived it was unpacked, fluffed and contained me!

I was snug, but then, I was lying on the bedroom floor, fully clothed, on a warm evening on my Thermarest Prolite 3 Womens Regular self-inflating mat. Sad. I am very excitable!

I got David the same sleeping bag and his own mat, because he didn't already have one. His is perhaps a little better than mine, a Thermarest Prolite 4 Regular, but I've used mine backpacking before and I know I'm quite comfortable on it, so I'm not jealous.

Better not start any more research now, I mustn't spend everynight doing this when I have nearly 20 months to plan it!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

The general idea

I have given myself a Challenge, which my dear other half will accompany me on, and I thought rather than bore anyone who wasn't interested in this kind of adventure, I'd start (yet another) blog, specific to this Challenge.

So, the Challenge is the TGO Challenge, to walk across Scotland, West Coast to East Coast, in a specified fortnight in May each year.

I happened upon this completely by accident and was intrigued. The more I investigated, the more fascinated and obsessed I became. Now, I've got to do it.

There are currently a choice of 12 starting points, between Ardrishaig and Torridon. I have decided to register in Mallaig. You can finish anywhere on the East Coast between Fraserburgh and Arbroath, but ultimately have to report to Montrose.

I used Memory Map and my vague knowledge of some footpaths, General Wade's military roads and the like and came up with a route that I could work on and improve, Mallaig, ferry to Inverie, Sourlies, Glendessary, Kinbreak, Tomdoun, Invergarry, Culhachy House, Corrieyairack Pass, Laggan, Kingussie, Cairngorm Footbrige, Lairig Ghru, Braemar, Lochcallater Lodge, Jock's Road, Clova, Tarfside, Edzell, North Water Bridge, St Cyrus. Roughly 180 miles.

I found numerous blogs about this and have found quite a few 'first timers' who have done this or a very similar route, so this has given me confidence in my planning so far.

I'm now onto kit and have researched, found, compared and ordered our new technical sleeping bags and a self-inflating mat for David. I already have one!

I'm also making a huge effort to get back into walking regularly and will build up distance gradually. I've allowed myself 20 months to plan this, so can take my time! I walk too fast naturally, which on my regular walks is fine, but it just means I will allow a slower speed in my planning and rely on the weight of my pack to slow me down.

Did I mention I have to carry all my own kit, I'm not allowed to get someone to take it ahead for me in a car? Oddly enough, I'm not devious enough for that to have crossed my mind.

Ofcourse, as there are a limited amount of places available and a pulling out of the hat way of picking participants, my first hurdle will actually be to get picked! However, I want to be ready should the time come, so I will continue with the preparation.

Anyway, I shall keep you posted as to how I go on. If you're interested, drop by from time to time!