TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

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TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Thu 29 Nov, 2012 11:58 am

I had such a good time doing the Challenge in 2010 that I entered again this October and luckily, I got in.

The Challenge is a coast-to-coast (west to east) hiking event that takes place in Scotland each May. For some years, the event has been limited to 300 participants and is oversubscribed, resulting in a draw for places. Apparently, there were over 400 applicants this year.

The challenge is to plan, provision, and execute the hike over 2 weeks. Each participant (or small group, max of 3 or 4 I think) has to arrive at a route across the country and submit it for evaluation by experienced 'Vetters'. Any high routes need to be accompanied by a FWA (Foul Weather Alternative) for safety reasons. Participants can camp every night, or if they choose a suitable route it must be possible to stay in a B&B each night. Most do a bit of both but mostly camping is the order of the day. I plan to meet up with family every 3-4 days on the way over, and otherwise wild camp every night.

Distance ranges around 300km depending on directness of route. In 2010 mine was 320km, so the average over 14 days (max days is actually 15) is about 23km per day. I had a rest day on the way over so the actual average is more like 25km. When planning, I start to get Leary when the planned day's walk goes over 30km. Given the terrain and possible conditions, that can be a hard ask. Better to add extra distance on the ground when things are running to plan.

Kit. Expecting to be lighter this trip. Last time, I used my Scarp1 tent, which was brilliant. This time I will either take the Notch which is about half the weight, or the Trailstar with a nest which in total is a little heavier than the Notch, but still a lot lighter than the Scarp. My only reservation on the Notch is in high winds which incidentally struck the 2011 and 1012 events. :shock: Pack will be Mariposa Plus, I have a choice of sleeping bags and clothing, but I intend to walk in Paramo which is well suited to the local conditions. Jetboil will replace the SnowPeak 100 I used last time. Also, last time I carried significant recharging gear for GPS and phone, which turned out to be a complete faff and I won't be repeating that particular exercise. Instead of the Spot, I will have the InReach. I haven't sorted my kit list yet, but aiming for significant baseweight savings on my 2010 kit.

Camera. In 2010 I carried my Lumix GF1 with 20mm and 7-14mm in a waist pouch. I recently managed to soak this camera which brought home just how easy that is to do, a few seconds is all it takes. The GF1 has survived after extensive sleeping bag drying but I'm playing with other possibilities at the moment. The OM-D is one of those under consideration, being 'weatherproof'.

My route is taking shape, I'm almost half way over on my first cut.

I'll update this thread as things progress.
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby gayet » Thu 29 Nov, 2012 1:28 pm

Congratulations! :D
You were doubtful of making it I recall....

Now, does this put paid to the Flinders trip? :shock:
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Thu 29 Nov, 2012 1:37 pm

gayet wrote:Now, does this put paid to the Flinders trip? :shock:


Mine or yours? :mrgreen:

Yes, I was doubtful. As it happens there are over 100 first timers on this event, so I'm thinking there was a bit of luck involved.
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby gayet » Thu 29 Nov, 2012 1:46 pm

nah... No luck just good reputation.

So, Flinders is still happening perhaps? I am yet to find out what I'll be doing or where I will be located that time next year, so at this point it is your Flinders trip and my Flinders trip plan
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby forest » Thu 29 Nov, 2012 3:03 pm

Sounds like a blast. Congrat's on getting drawn and having the time to do it.
I'd love a crack at it myself, time permitting. (Which is limited currently)
I am a GEAR JUNKIE and GRAM COUNTER !!

There, It's out. I said it, Ahh I feel better now :lol:
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Thu 13 Dec, 2012 7:08 pm

Small update.

My route planning has been going well. I'm at Braemar and seem to have been hit with a bit of lethargy :) I'm thinking of heading east (as you do on the Challenge) :) and then dropping down over Mt Keen to Tarfside. Plenty of time to decide.

My TGO 2013 Gear List is up. Unfortunately, the darn blog ate my 2010 list during an upgrade, so not much to compare to, I am well under my 2010 pack weight though.

Philip Werner has a tidy post about the TGO Challenge on his SectionHiker blog. Phil was also on the 2010 Challenge, so I will have to try and catch up with him this time. By the sound of his route, we may not cross paths much as it sounds like he will be dragged kicking and screaming up every available mountain between Torridon and Montrose by his team mates. :mrgreen:
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby wayno » Thu 13 Dec, 2012 7:18 pm

the answer for lethargy, eat more and rest up..... then go for it.....
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Thu 13 Dec, 2012 9:16 pm

wayno wrote:the answer for lethargy, eat more and rest up..... then go for it.....


Wayno. Mate. I'm PLANNING, Not walking at the moment. The Challenge begins in May 2013.

Thanks for the tip anyway. :D
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby wayno » Fri 14 Dec, 2012 5:33 am

hmm maybe its time to walk more :D
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Fri 14 Dec, 2012 2:35 pm

Fleece replacement therapy turned up today.

I was looking for something at least as warm as a light fleece, windproof, somewhat waterproof, and light weight. After looking at various Polartec NeoShell jackets I came to the conclusion they were trying to do too much for what I wanted (and flippin expensive), so I looked for something else. Found the 2012 Montane Fireball Smock which is a Primaloft ECO insulated pullover with Pertex Quantum fabric outer shell.

Fit is good and weight runs 264g for my size M. Tried it on, but too warm here today. It will replace my RAB 100 fleece smock for less weight and more features. Ideal on it's own or layered depending on the weather in Scotland.

Packs tiny!
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby wayno » Fri 14 Dec, 2012 3:24 pm

sounds like the plan.... pretty good bet going with montane...
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby andrewbish » Fri 14 Dec, 2012 3:53 pm

Congrats, Photohiker. Sounds awesome. Keep up the updates.
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Tue 18 Dec, 2012 10:24 pm

Email from Sean at Oookworks. He is back on the net so response times should improve now.

Received and paid invoice for OookStar nest for the TrailStar.

First cut of my route is finished:

    Day 1: 18.5 km Dornie - Glen Glennan - Glen Elchaig - Allt a Ghiomaich - Falls of Glomach

    Day 2: 25.8km Gleann Gaorsaic - Glen Affric - Cougie

    Day 3: 19.5km Cougie -- Tomich -- Cannich

    Day 4: 19.8km Cannich -- Drumnadrochit

    Day 5: 28.7km Drumnadrochit -- Inverfarigaig -- Carn Ban -- Glen Mazeran

    Day 6: 30.5km Glen Mazeran -- Caggan -- Burma Road -- Aviemore

    Day 7: 27.8km Aviemore --Glenmore -- Strath Nethy -- Loch Etchachan

    Day 8: 23.2km Loch Etchachan -- Derry Lodge -- Braemar

    Day 9: Rest Day

    Day 10: 27.9km Braemar -- Easter Balmoral -- Ballater

    Day 11: 27.2km Ballater -- Mt Keen -- Tarfside

    Day 12: 26.9km Tarfside -- Hill of Wirren -- North Water Bridge

    Day 13: 14.2km North Water Bridge -- Morphie -- St Cyrus

    Total 290km


If the weather is good, I have some alternative diversions to visit peaks and camp high along the route. Should be able to submit the route for vetting before Christmas.
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Wed 19 Dec, 2012 4:50 pm

Another busy day in TGO Prep Land :)

Completed my Route. Filled in the Route submission form detailing my route including distance, ascent, nightly stop, FWA's (Fowl Weather Alternative route), etc. Route came to 290km and 7810m ascent total.

Sawyer 3-way inline filter arrived today.

I forgot to mention that the 'Tick Twister' Tick removal gizmos arrived the other day. At this stage, I'm now just waiting for the TrailStar and OookStar with over 4 months to the start.
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby north-north-west » Wed 19 Dec, 2012 7:22 pm

That's a cute little jigger. Are there really that many ticks in Scotland?
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Wed 19 Dec, 2012 9:33 pm

Yes. There are ticks. The main concern is Lymes Disease. Not all ticks carry it, but if you are not careful removing them there is a risk of them dumping their stomach contents into the bite. Not good if they are carrying the bug.

Last Challenge, I didn't get a single tick, but I did see them, and was asked to help remove them from fellow challengers. We only had tweezers between us, which are not ideal for the job.

They have snakes too, but they're pretty lame compared to ours. :mrgreen:
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Sat 30 Mar, 2013 1:31 pm

Update

It's still cold up there. The MET office is predicting cooler than normal weather until late April.

Found a 24hr webcam in Braemar (half way through the walk, Altitude 339m)

Image is 'current' it should update every time you revisit this page:
Image

Kit changes.

My NeoAir has started to self-deflate. Not bad mind, but it's seen a bit of use and given the liklihood of a colder than normal crossing, failure is not an option. I've bought one of the new NeoAir XTherm from the UK for $175 inc freight. 450g

Camera. I was looking at the OMD. Nope. Too much camera for a big walk. Water resistance was tempting though. Then I was looking at the new Fuji X20. Nope. Nice Camera but the images fall apart too easily for me, I think I'm expecting too much of that sensor. I've settled on the Sony RX100. I think Wayno has one of these (or did). Anyway, light, compact, not bad image quality. Plonked it in a BlackRapid SnapR10 case, added a Franiac grip and a MagFilter polarising filter and we're good to go. 360 grams with case.

Seriously considering picking up some Kahtoola MicroSpikes in case the cold weather continues...
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby wayno » Sat 30 Mar, 2013 1:37 pm

yup still have the RX100, plus one for it, not as good as larger format cameras in low light, otherwise it takes stunning photos for it's size.... and videos are also amazing...
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby wayno » Mon 01 Apr, 2013 1:58 pm

when are you leaving?
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Mon 01 Apr, 2013 5:11 pm

First week of May. Challenge starts on 10th.

Why, you offering to fly over and carry my pack? :mrgreen:
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby wayno » Mon 01 Apr, 2013 5:20 pm

I have to run that past the better half. i'm being told to save my leave to visit the inlaws in Japan....
are you taking the synapse boots?
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Mon 01 Apr, 2013 5:52 pm

Nope, the WP version is too smelly :) and the non-WP version would be too wet...

Comets are the go. They arrived and I have worn them in, but too hot most days around here. They should be ideal for Scotland and Tassie though.

My non-waterproof synapses are holding out well. Noticeable wear on the heels now, but they have been my primary training shoe all summer. I haven't worked out how many km they have done, but it will be quite a lot.

Edit: Close to 1000km on them now.
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby wayno » Mon 01 Apr, 2013 6:14 pm

i picked up the salomon x-ultra mids on sale. i was in the cosmics every day for two weeks around tas,,, got a bit sick of the weight, the high ankle and stiffness. still use them for multi day trips, but the ultras will be better for long holidays and day trips...
hte conquests could be the next heavy duty boot, 1 kilo and high ankle, but the cosmics have a load of life left in them, i never bothered to check the weight when i bought them....
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby wayno » Wed 03 Apr, 2013 4:50 am

from the land of the long white clouds...
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 11:13 am

Update.

My route is now online at Social Hiking The track colours have meanings: Orange is the main route. Red is FWA (Foul Weather Alternative) and Blue is the 'maybe' extension if the weather and conditions are great.

I can't embed the map directly here because the forum does not support html/iframe.

I've changed the plan for the first day. My original route ran north from Dornie, east beside the river Elchaig and then ascending from the glen beside the Falls of Glomach to a wildcamp above the falls. Thusly:

Image

What I didn't realise was that the track beside the falls is severely degraded and the falls are one of the highest in the UK. The prospect of climbing a degraded path beside a 100m+ drop in bad weather Challenging Conditions got me looking for a better route. :) This is the result:

Image

It's a few km further, but if the weather is good it should give spectacular views across the Loch.

Pretty neat service at Social Hiking. As well as being able to store route plans, if you send it locations from the hike (either by Spot or from smartphone, etc), it will place them 'live' on the map for you and also integrate with photos and messages from the field. Supports InReach too.

Edit: Improved maps. wayno correction for 'bad weather' :)
Last edited by photohiker on Wed 10 Apr, 2013 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby wayno » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 11:39 am

no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing....
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 11:41 am

"Challenging Conditions" then. :)
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby wayno » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 11:46 am

aparently the milting of the polar ice cap has changed the wind patterns and meant more storms coming from the north than there used to be, the wind used to circulate around the pole keeping the coldest air trapped up there but now it comes south more frequently
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby photohiker » Wed 17 Apr, 2013 6:42 pm

Did an update to my TGO Gear List and also a test packing into the Mariposa.

Weight on my bathroom scales of 6.3Kg plus water and food, there remains a few minor light items to add, still be less than 7kg I think. I'll be carrying a max of 3 days dehy food (+1 for safety) so my max full pack weight is going to be under 9Kg with a litre of water on board.

Happy with that. :)
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Re: TGO Challenge 2013 - I'm in!

Postby durks » Thu 18 Apr, 2013 9:38 am

wayno wrote:wildfire at fort william

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-h ... s-21999542


There were quite a few fires in the western highlands a few weeks ago: we had a prolonged spell of cold easterlies, and the west coast got very dry. The crazy thing is that most of those fires were 'controlled' heather burns that got out of hand: land managers are accustomed to doing such burns at the end of Winter, and it seems as if they went ahead with them this year at the same time, regardless of conditions on the ground.

Fortunately, no important habitats were affected as far as I know.
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