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TGO 2018

TGO 2018

Postby Guinessman » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:19 pm

Date walked: 11/05/2018

Time taken: 14 days

Distance: 313.7 km

Ascent: 8264m

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Friday 11 th May
Lochailort to Oban Bothy 15.4k 826metres.
I recall reading about the TGO in the TGO magazine as a schoolboy way back in 1979. It was the first event and was then called the Ultimate challenge. I was interested but I knew nothing backpacking then and as holidays were usually taken in either Skye or Glencoe there was little scope for an extended trip into areas I hadn't even looked at let alone venture into. Time has moved on and with the compleation of the Munros and doing the wainwrights and Donalds and several backpacking trips under the belt it was time to give the TGO a blast.An application was input and to my surprise was accepted the first time. I had read previously of stand by lists and people being deferred to the following year. Working out the route was new on me, I normally do a rough route but not to the extent required for the route checkers. I chose Lochailort as my starting point reasoning that throughout my travels in the Highlands I had a pretty good knowledge of the ground in most places bar to the west of Glenfinnan and the area east of Ballater. Having had to bail out of the SNT last April when I had a severe stomach bug and was seriously run down due to 20 mile days at the start I intended this time to do 15/ 16 miles a day
Route accepted, it was off to Fort william on the Thursday 10th. Lochailort had been booked up so I opted for a B and B and then the 8.30 train out in the morning. Off the train and after signing out at the hotel it was off around 9.30 back up the A830 road to Arieniskill and then under the railway before the path up to the col. It was a grey day and I was aware that it was due to rain about 4 so I wasn't hanging around. I caught up with fellow TGOers at the col and due to the path disappearing we all made attempts to descend through the woods to the W edge of Loch Beoraid. I had initially planned to go along the loch and ascend via the 2 lochs but on descending the path to Meoble looked better so I took that and ascended the estate path into Slaite Coire and over the trackless col and down into Gleann cul an Staca where the burn was easily forded before descending down to the loch side and along to the bothy getting there about 4pm only getting a 5 minute shower as the rain started. Throughout the evening people arrived complaining of a tough stage and eventually there were 10 in the bothy. Around the 9 the rain stopped giving a good sunset
Saturday 12th May
Oban Bothy to Kinbreak 17.7k 892m
A bright and warm day and was to be the first of many . Set away around 9am and off into Glen Pean an area I had never been to and what a revelation. An absolutely beautiful glen with views at every twist and turn. The path was a surprise, I was constantly looking for it and thought I was too high at times before dropping down and up again. Passed 2 german girls who had walked from Strathan and were going to Sourlies, probably the hard way I remarked. when I got to Lochan Leum an T Sagairt I made the mistake of staying on the north side and it was a laborious time getting past it before the boggy approach to Pean Bothy where I had a break before the short boggy section up to the forest track. From there it was a quick track down to Strathan before the track up by the Dearg Allt. I had initially planned to do the 2 Corbetts either side, but it was hot and opted out. I had planned to use Kinbreak Bothy but on going up the pass I went by 3 lads who asked where the bothy was. I had been there before and knew it wasnt that big and with it being a warm night opted to camp below the bothy.
Sunday 13th May
KInbreak to Poulary 18.1k 938m.
A disappointing start to the day, very damp with low cloud and plans to ascend Gairich by its west ridge were abandoned. The Kingie was crossed easily and then onto the track heading East out of Glen Kingie. Once out of Kingie I skirted the shoulder of Gairich and then joined the track to the dam of Loch Quioch before road walking down Nr to Poulary where I camped opposite the track over to Claunie. Another short day, shortened by the omission of Gairich.
Monday 14 th May.
Poulary to Invergarry 23.2k 515m
A warm morning and it was to get hotter. Today was a low level day, I had booked into a B and b in Invergarry though in reality could have easily walked onto Fort Augustus.The day began with a road walk down to Greenfield and across the bridge onto the forest tracks. I had been this way on my CWT in 2015 going the other way. Due to the heat it was a hot dusty walk through the deforested areas with the occasional truck going by stirring up a dust storm. Not much effort on this day, merely a case of getting on with it and not much to interest the walker. Took the longer way round to Invergarry in order to get a drink and walked the 1 mile W out to the B and B for a clean up before a return to the hotel for drinks meeting a few TGO ,ers
[url =https://flic.kr/p/29AMjyH]Image[/url]DSC02594
Tuesday 15th May.
Invergarry to Blackburn bothy 21.8k 671m
After a healthy breakfast it was off up the GG way and then the canal track for around 3 1/2hrs to Fort Augustus where I did a shop and had a few coffees before climbing the track up through the graveyard and up the Corrieyairack to Blackburn Bothy where I spent the night in the company of 3 other TGO, ers.
Wednesday 16th May.
Blackburn Bothy to Garva bridge. 19.2k 619m.
Hung around the bothy until 9pm. The others had left around 7.30am but i decided on a later start as I found I was covering the ground quickly and doing short days.Climbed the pass and took a breather by the hut at the top of the pass, taking in the scene and identifying the hills over to the west. Continued on the pass down to Kinbreak bothy, getting their about 2 after an extended dinner at the bottom of the zig zag paths. Went into the bothy to get out of the sun and found that several TGO,ers had the same idea. I knew I had only just over an hour easy walking to Garva Bridge ,the overnight stop, so another break in the bothy before setting away around 3.30 and walking the tarmacked road to Garva Bridge for the overnight stop.
Thursday 17Th May.
Garva Bridge to Glen Banchor 26.1k 394m
Longest day so far and another hot day right from around 9am prompting a change into shorts en route.The initial destination was Laggan and to get there before the newly opened cafe closed for the day. I knew from TGO e-mails that the cafe usually has a day off midweek but a half day had been arranged. The route is a 7 mile road walk into Laggan where again I took shelter from the sun for an hour and enjoyed the facilities of the cafe. then it was onto the back road into Balgowan where I saw a handwritten sign indicating that the Glen Banchor path was another 150yrds on, though I gathered later that the people normally go through Cluny Castle. As it was the path I took was a pleasant able through the woods until I came to a forest gate which with a Karabinier in an unusual twisted position which took a while to unravel. Then it was on up the forest edge to the path that leads into upper Glen Banchor.. Followed this and paid a visit to the estate bothy where I bumped into 2 lads that I had seen a few times over the last 2 days. First time I had seen this bothy, definitely worth a revisit. They were going to Kingussie so I had an extended break not having as far to go, before moving on. I had an idea where I was going to camp, not far from the road end, an area that I had seen on a previous motorhome visit to the glen to bag the munros
Friday 18 th May.
Glen Banchor to Aviemore 28.9k 444m.
The longest day for me. I was away at 7.30, intentionally not having any food left as I was getting breakfast in Kingussie, would skip lunch and then do a re shop in Aviemore tonight's destination. Dropped down into Newtonmore and then followed the cycle track to Kingussie where it was a stop at the first cafe on the right, meeting the same two lads from the previous day. After a breakfast followed the road out to Tromie bridge and then rather than take the various paths took the road out as far as Insh where I opted for the various woodland tracks before the drop down to Loch Insh and then road again to Kincraig where I joined the Speyside way which is easy walking all the way up to Aviemore. Got to the top roundabout where strangely a car containing 5 teenagers passed and one of the rear passengers gave me the finger! Into the bunkhouse around 4pm for a welcome shower, then a restock and a few beers.
Saturday 19 th May.
Aviemore to Fords of Avon 23k 700m.
Originally the plan had been to go to Faindouran but the would have made the following day shorter so Fords of Avon. Was up early in the bunkhouse so went out after breakfast and returned around 9 to do the packing as there were 3 other room occupants who didn't surface whilst I was packing. Off up the logging track again and by 11.30 I was at Glenmore having a further coffee before the track up to Ryvoan and then up over the top towards the Fords of Avon. As I was dropping saw 6 mountain bikers pushing bikes coming from the direction of the refuge, who had come from Aviemore as it transpired so only knows how far they had pushed! The lead man approached and asked how long before they could ride on the way back over the shoulder to Ryvoan. The topic turned to the heat as we were talking. Just as the second was arriving I said " Packed too much for this heat" Hearing this the second biker said "got no sympathy for you" Asked why he said " you packed it" I responded "What and you're having to push a bike over these hills!", prize tool!. The rest of the conversation was a bit strained before I moved on. Got to the refuge and found two occupants already. With the wind getting up I opted for a sheltered spot by the crossing point.
Sunday 20 th May.
Fords of Avon to Corndavon lodge 25k 628m.
Easy start getting onto the path into Glen Avon and then towards Faindouran. It was a windy day and scuppered my plans of Beinn A Bhuird and Ben Avon. It was an easy walk down the glen taking a break in the ponymans hut before the drop to the Lin Of Avon. From there it was into the wind which was blowing fiercely down from Loch Builg and was heads down all the way. Passed 3 TGO ers who didn't have much crack, maybe because of the wind, and then starte to think about shelter for a later camp as the wind at the time was too strong for a tent in the open. I was aware of old building around Corndavon so I headed off there and got shelter in the lee of the bothy. About 2 hours later one of the group of 3 that I had passed earlier in the day came around the corner of the bothy building, obviously checking for shelter and didn't bother to speak when he walked passed my tent door. So much for the social side of the TGO!
Monday 21 st May
Corndavon Bothy to Ballater 22k 737m.
Pleasant walk down the Gairn in the early morning before getting to the road and then across and onto the path to Geallaig hill getting onto the summit in 1 hour. My only hill of the trip as it turned out. Its a pleasant hill, reminiscent of the Rothbury area of Northumberland, and gives good views of Lochnagar and Mount Keen. Followed the track to Carn Dearg and then dropped down SE to pick up a path through the woods leading to the road nr Culsh. From there I ignored the riverside path and walked into the town to get a drink before going onto the campsite and then a few beers and restock for the last few days.

Tuesday 22 nd May
I had studied the forecast the night before as the next few days were to go over the Fungle road and then over the hills to the Fettereso forest but the forecast was poor instead of saying mist it stated fog. Apart from Mount Keen from Tanar this was first visit walking the area and I was unaware of the coastal fog that can occur around this area. With that forecast in mind I decide to change plan and opt for the Deeside Way. I hadn't studied it but I aware it was it was 40 miles which I could do in 2 1/2 days and was waymaked so I set off on that meeting a TGO, er on the way who I had met in Blackburn Bothy when I gave her a hand after she hadn't met somebody at a pre- arranged point. They said TGO control stated the Deeside way could take 4 days which I doubted. I had no idea of where to camp overnight so I just kept on walking for about 17 miles until I came to a fishing hut on the riverbank just outside Kincardine O Neil and camped beside that around 6pm.
Wednesday 23rd May.
Kincardine O Neill to Drumoak 26.6k 431m.
I was away early just in case any fisherman objected to the usage of their spot and ironically within an hour, passed a free camping area at Potarch. Onwards up the old military road and into Blackhall forest before going into Banchory for a brew and then rejoining the old railway track all the way to Drumoak where the way drops down to a riverside football pitch which was perfect for camping. I don,t know if it is a weekend youth camping spot but the riverside bins were full of beer cans and old duvets so I camped well away from there however there was no bother
Thursday 24th May.
Last day and only about 10 miles to go. Because of the location I was away around 8 and walked along increasingly built up areas before dropping into Duthie park and into the cafe. From there it was a quick check on google of the beach area and then a quick walk before dipping the boots into the North sea and the finish. After that it was the train to Montrose and the sign out
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Re: TGO 2018

Postby walkingpoles » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:40 am

Well done and nice report!

Is there a good reason to make such a trek as a TGO instead of freestyle solo?
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