Tuesday, November 11

Numbering the days or Counting the cost


My age next year.

For those of you that have had the dubious distinction of meeting me in the flesh that's probably a hard fact to swallow. But a true one nevertheless. This lithe body, is a temple, testament to years of loose living & looser women (I remain ever hopeful - lol) Amazingly still unfettered by any short term leasing arrangement with certain Dark Forces.

Nope - its all my own work, as it were. For luckily I've inherited a simple healthiness with a level of natural fitness that becomes the envy of those tubby-tum middle-aged men I see amongst my age group these days.

The number of places available on the 2009 TGO Challenge, 60 up on the usual 300 limit, in recognition of the 30th anniversary of this event.

The number of applications received for 2009. With wider publicity of recent years the TGO continues to go from strength to strength as an internationally famous event, despite the physical and mental rigours required of those taking part, and the self reliant nature of the challenge.

The number of those initially listed on the short list.

Those on the short list who may be lucky enough, so I'm informed by those with experience of past events, to move over to the entrant list as some of the 2009 Challengers find themselves having to withdraw ahead of the event.

My short list number.

Well that's me buggered then.

I thought something suitably emphatic was called for in 2009. A symbolic achievement on passing my half century mark. An age that many years ago I wouldn't have seriously expected to reach, such was my lifestyle and its associated high risk activities (Lots of fun along the way though)

So that leaves me with a quandary. What else to do with the 2 week break from work that is already booked?

Too short a time to wildcamp the SW Coastal Footpath, one of my long term ambitions. All too easily 'squandered' on challenging, but potentially unmemorable, wildcamping weeks of my own design. Definitely too disinterested in the usual fall backs such as Coast to Coast, Pennine Way, Offa Dyke etc. All undoubtedly superb end to end journeys in themselves, but not that ....... well ..........different ....... to be honest.

Hmm. I guess that's what I'm looking for. A trip that delivers the chance for my steady movement across this land of ours. A point to point challenge with a recognisable aim, even to a non walker, but with that special something that I can look back at in the years ahead, and grin at having done it.

Any ideas folks?

All comments count. Naturally.

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Why this land? How about the Dingle Peninsula? The Ring of Kerry? Finisterre (the French one)? Or maybe even the North Sea Trail (http://www.northseatrail.org/index.php/en/maps)?
You could do what I did, and looked at the Cicerone book collection for ideas.
Markus the Lazy Austrian has this idea for a year when he doesn't make the cut:
"If I´ve not made the draw for 09 I´m aiming for an alternative trek to Cape Wrath. Starting from Kinlochleven my planned route heads via Ft. Augustus - Tomich - Loch Monar - Achnasheen - Loch Fannich - Aultguish - Alladale Forest - Strath Oykle - Kylesku - Sandwood Bay to the Cape. Quite a walk for lazy characters!"
And this year people on the reserve list up into at least the 80's got in (albeit at short notice), so all hope may not be lost.
GR20 (Corsica) might be a great route early in the season before it gets too busy.
There's so much to choose from!
Have fun!
I'm told it may be just possible to walk Scotland coast to coast WITHOUT BEING PART OF THE TGO CHALLENGE! (Don't spread it around, through - it may be illegal or something)
Plan your route and JUST DO IT ANYWAY.
I disagree. Walking across Scotland after having been excluded from the Challenge is obviously quite legal, but not in the spirit of the need to keep numbers (impact on environment, etc) to an acceptable level. In my opinion the Lazy Austrian's approach is to be preferred.
But it is worth planning a route - you may well get in at the last minute.
You could try one of the routes in Backpacking in Wales by Showell Styles.
(There are two used copies available on Amazon.)
The North coast to South coast route is mostly low-level, and might be practical at this time of year.
That's an excellent idea - coast to coast - 183 miles in two weeks - just the job (must do it sometime!). I can bring the book to Cambridge if you'd like to look at it , John, but you should have it in your library.
I couldn't do the Challenge this year because of work commitments so instead I did two two week walks to make up for it.

1. St. Bees - Robin Hood's Bay C2C (June)
Added a couple of variations in Lake District & really enjoyed whole walk.

2. Cape Wrath Trail (September)
We did the whole trail, but started with Ferry from Mallaig to Inverie and walked through Knoydart, which is a much more interesting start than Fort William. A 'challenging' route if not on Challenge!
Hi John

Sorry to hear of your standby position - bit of a sod that.

If you are really, really committed to doing it and are willing to wait until the very bitter end, you may still have a reasonable chance of success - as in most years people drop out literally with a day to go!

Anyone who is willing to wait until then (and there are not many who will have that patience) is virtually guaranted to get on - and earn Uncle Roger's undying thanks in doing so.

Hang in there fella and let Roger know if you are prepared to wait.

(I can give you more details on this if you email me)
Cheers Alan for the suggestions & the offer of follow-up, but this time around I'll come up with something solo I think
.....and to the rest of you - thanks for the feedback & ideas

Most appreciated
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