TGO2022 Kilchoan to Montrose, on one hill a day

Munros: Beinn Bhrotain, Driesh, Mayar, Meall Chuaich, Monadh Mòr, The Devil's Point, Tolmount, Tom Buidhe
Corbetts: Beinn Odhar Bheag, Ben Tirran, Cruach Innse, Sgùrr Innse, Stob Coire a' Chearcaill, The Fara
Fionas: Binnein Shuas, Croit Bheinn
Sub 2000s: Meall nan Con

Date walked: 11/05/2022

Time taken: 120 hours

Distance: 375km

Hi All,
Midwinter, time to get the maps out. Then I discovered I hadn't added any of the hills I bagged during my crossing of Scotland in 2022, as a participant in The Great Outdoors Challenge. So, some homework to do.

To keep it very short, I found there's two sides to the TGO. One is the preparation. You need to fill in a route sheet so meticulously it forces you to research every nook and cranny of the Highlands. This is fun. On the other hand, this high level of organisation, and the fact that quite a lot of people move along the same route in the latter stages, spoils the sense of roaming the Highlands, blending in, following your every whim. Since the roaming thing is what I come for, I don't think I'll be in the TGO Challenge again. The way the TGO is organised attracts well organised people and very few 'gangrels'. I would never put myself in the experienced cohort of hillwalkers, but compared to most participants I was very experienced, most following tried and tested low routes. However, there's a few connoisseurs, who can't be bothered with speed or distance, only with quality of route and landscape. There you have it, my lofty ambition ;-)

To keep it a little less short, please read the text below the images for an impression of the route.

My initial route went west and north, to cross the giant volcanic mishap that is Ardnamurchan.

Arrival of the Kilchoan ferry in Tobermory, Mull, to take me to the starting point. The bad weather in the distance was missed by my late start.

Coming down Meall nan Con, Rhum and Eigg on the horizon. Fine weather.

Coastal camping spot. On the second day I took off before 6AM, to be able to miss the bad weather that would come in after 2PM.

Visiting the ruins of Ulgary, up the river Moidart on the way to the summit of Croit Beinn. Really lonely spot, and very very wet under foot. I started the day as late as 1PM to avoid gales and rain. Gaining the summit of Croat Beinn felt great. It took me back to 1998, when I walked Glen Alladale on the way to Rois-Bheinn.

In the first 3 days, some 80 walkers quit the Challenge due to the bad weather. Well, not because of the bad weather, but because of their reaction to it, like walking double distances on wet feet instead of calling it a day and finding a bothy or pitching the tent early. Knowing when to change plans is crucial.

Camp in Glen Alladale, on the way to Beinn Odhar Beag & Mhor

On the ridge between Beinn Odhar Beag and Mhor, nice 'n rugged.

This is the shortest way down to Glenfinnan, across quite confusing terrain. This descent was strongly advised against by the people vetting my route. But complex rocky descents are a thrill, so I went ahead. Once down, I followed the road to the dining car for a grand lunch.

The fifth day took me across Stob Coire a Chearcaill. My face mirrors the fact that the morning was good enough for a sun hat, but the afternoon turned colder and wet, with rain for the fifth day in a row. This induces a kind of rebellious spirit in me, and a taste for more hills.

View back across the wild bunch of Ardgour.

Ben Nevis in sight, and a bunch of cows. I took this photo just after they bolted and ran at me. I trotted off, then ran, then sprinted and dove hard right down the river bank. In the proces I lost my phone, the whole herd seemingly running over it. I made a detour to come back behind the herd and found my phone unscathed (it has a hideous lilac cover, easy to spot)

After re-stocking in Fort William I walked along the aluminum works railroad, dismantled very much, to reach a camping spot between Sgurr and Cruach Inse. I climbed the higher one in the evening, and the lower one next morning, before moving on to Fersit. This shot was taken during the evening climb. I felt great, elated that the weather lifted just enough. Great two hills, these.

Camp at Lochan na h-Earba after crossing Binnein Shuas. I made a mistake judging the wind. When it picked up speed in the evening, the tent faced the wrong way. I decided not to rotate it but instead to pack it in and find a new spot in the woods to the northeast.

Walk around midnight. "Atmospheric", or should I say spooky?

After crossing The Fara and replenishing at Dalwhinnie, I climbed Meall Cuaich with Gerry (77!). Very good company. We met again later on and camped together in Glen Feshie. We drank and finished his mix of drambuie and whisky.

Glen Feshie. Great campsite, used by three horses, one helicopter and (at 4AM) a black grouse. In the morning, after the posh people left by helicopter, I turned north. Gerry turned south-east, on a more direct route to Braemar. Glen Feshie: the best argument for keeping deer out of the Highlands.

Following a tip from one of Chris Townsend's blogs I used Coire Garbhlach to gain the main Cairngorms plateau. Great route in and out of a bouldery river bed, very much enclosed by cliffs and then suddenly breaking out onto the wide plateau.

I 'parked' the tent at Lochan nan Stuirteag and used the evening to climb both Beinn Bhrotain and Monadh Mor. Not easy, and very cold rain and high winds almost from the start. In the evening I re-pitched the tent to cope with the wind roaring down from the plateau at 860m. Another walker pitched nearby, signalled by me that there was one more dry-ish spot.

View to MacDui from The Devil's Point. After this, we walked out to Braemar, where the chips were good and the desert at the Flying Stag tasted well. Many more TGO-walkers here.

One of the social highlights: Lochcallater Lodge, with free tea, bacon rolls and warm rooms. I sat out a bout of bad weather, listening to a plea for drinking clouded cider and home-made whisky at the same time, to achieve a pleasant loss of control. I left for Tolmount well after lunchtime.

Tolmount summit. I really enjoyed the windy weather and the great range of grey-green-blonde hues on the hills.

I camped very high, within 1km of the summit of Mayar. After climbing Driesh I followed the ridge to the Clova hotel and crossed the valley, evading yet another shower. In the afternoon I climbed Ben Tirran and came down into Glen Lethnot (yes, 10 days get you hill-fit). This is grouse shooting country, where everything is killed, culled, burned or fenced off to enable the shooting of grouse.

For most walkers, the last two days to the east coast consist of road walking. However, Slowways.org and some research shows that there's just enough tracks crossing this agricultural area to make the walk a little less tedious.

The North Sea!

My dear LaSportiva TX4's where eaten by the wet and acid.

At the finish line you get a nice shirt! Really nice bunch of people, the organisers. Very competent and fun.


Not as detailed as a gpx. If you are a future Challenger, send me a message if you want .gpx files. You're very welcome, it's a nice route. Or use the images below:




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Comments: 1

High camps, low streams: Mull, Morvern, Mamores (11 days)

Attachment(s) Munros: Am Bodach, An Gearanach, Aonach Beag (Nevis Range), Aonach Mòr, Ben More (Mull), Ben Nevis, Binnein Mòr, Càrn Mòr Dearg, Mullach nan Coirean, Na Gruagaichean, Sgùrr a' Mhàim, Stob Bàn (Mamores), Stob Coire a' Chàirn
Corbetts: Creach Bheinn (Morvern), Fuar Bheinn
Fionas: Beinn Mheadhoin (Morvern), Corra-bheinn
Sub 2000s: Beinn Chreagach (Ulva)
Date walked: 29/08/2021
Distance: 220km
Ascent: 9500m
Comments: 6
Views: 2423

Am Bàthach from Rannoch (9 snowy days)

Attachment(s) Munros: Gairich, Gleouraich, Sgùrr Mòr (Loch Quoich), Stob Bàn (Grey Corries), Stob Coire an Laoigh
Corbetts: Am Bathach, Sgùrr an Fhuarain
Date walked: 20/02/2020
Distance: 165km
Ascent: 6700m
Comments: 13
Views: 6013

Jura, Islay and some Argyll hills (9 days)

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Bhuidhe
Corbetts: Beinn an Òir, Ben Donich, Meall an Fhudair, The Brack
Fionas: Beinn a' Chaolais
Sub 2000s: Beinn Bhreac North (Jura), Ben Garrisdale (Jura), Cruach na Seilcheig (Jura), Dubh Bheinn (Jura), Sgòrr nam Faoileann (Islay)
Date walked: 28/03/2019
Distance: 180km
Comments: 3
Views: 4330

Barra to Harris (9 days)

Attachment(s) Fionas: Beinn Mhór (Uist)
Sub 2000s: An Coileach (Harris), Beinn Corradail (South Uist), Beinn Sciathain (Eriskay), Eaval (North Uist), Heileasbhal Mòr (Harris), Roineabhal (Harris), Sheabhal (Barra), Stulabhal (South Uist), Thacla (South Uist), Triuirebheinn (South Uist)
Date walked: 17/04/2018
Distance: 204km
Ascent: 5800m
Comments: 14
Views: 7708

1, 2

Beinn Alligin from Forsinard (9 days)

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Klibreck, Ben More Assynt, Conival, Sgùrr Mòr (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)
Corbetts: Beinn a' Chaisgein Mòr, Beinn an Eoin, Beinn Dearg Bheag, Beinn Dearg Mòr, Beinn Lair, Beinn Leoìd, Sail Mhòr
Sub 2000s: Ben Griam Beg, Ben Griam Mor
Date walked: 01/04/2014
Distance: 191km
Ascent: 10325m
Comments: 23
Views: 22187

Beinn Fhada end-to-end

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Fhada
Date walked: 25/03/2013
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 900m
Views: 4491

1, 2, 3

Ladhar Bheinn from Achanalt (9 cold days)

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Fhada, Beinn Sgritheall, Càrn nan Gobhar (Strathfarrar), Ladhar Bheinn
Corbetts: Beinn na Caillich, Beinn na h-Eaglaise, Beinn nan Caorach, Meallan nan Uan, Sgòrr na Diollaid, Sgùrr a' Mhuilinn
Date walked: 21/03/2013
Distance: 182km
Ascent: 10674m
Comments: 39
Views: 28014

Carn na Nathrach (route description)

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Càrn na Nathrach
Date walked: 20/03/2012
Distance: 22km
Ascent: 800m
Views: 3209

Ben Cruachan North Ridge (+ route description)

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh
Date walked: 17/03/2012
Distance: 22km
Ascent: 1420m
Comments: 12
Views: 11015


User avatar
Location: Santpoort-Zuid, The Netherlands
Occupation: explanation designer
Interests: Landscape
Activity: Hill Bagger
Mountain: Suilven
Place: Ullapool
Gear: a pen
Ideal day out: A rugges coastal or island walk to an out of the way hill, camp and go further still.

Munros: 168
Corbetts: 71
Fionas: 13
Hewitts: 49
Sub 2000: 22
Islands: 11

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