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At long last the TGO Challenge has almost arrived- one week today at 9.00 we be signing out at Challenge control at Shiel Bridge taking our first steps walking across the country, something I’ve dreamnt about doing for many years and feel ready to take on this mighty challenge!

For me, it is a holiday and couldnt think of something better to do for a fornights backpacking through the Glens and over Mountain Passes. Others may think- how can that be a holiday walking all that miles with a big pack on, and say- how can that be a holiday when you are meant to be relaxing?

Truth is, I do find out relaxing- mentally anyway! Phiscally I will also feel better after too- giving my body a good workout. Half a day lying under the sun at a beach in Spain, I’d get bored and fidgety and want to be off exploring.


I havent done as much training for this walk as I wanted to. It hasnt been too bad though with me and Lynn, getting away camping and bothying most weekends since January up up until mid March. I’ve had a persistant cold/ manflu since begining of April. It hung around for a month before I got rid of it and I was physically shattered so missed out on a few weeks of walking.

Despite the minor setback, I feel very confident with managing this walk, and it spurs me on more so, knowing that we have raised a good amount of money for the charity SARDA Scotland- (Search And Rescue Dog Association).

Earlier this week, I headed to Aberlour after finishing work mid-morning and took a walk over the Gownie to Dufftown and back to Aberlour along the old railway line. It started off quite hazy, then as I left Dufffown it was clear skies.

It was the first time I had stopped at the Dufftown station- part of the Keith to Dufftown Railway. The trains only run at weekends, but they do meals and snacks on one of the carriages during the week. Perhaps I will walk the Isla Way from Keith and get the train back at some point soon.

Our route across Scotland was finalized back in January. I chose a route taking in many glens and some mountain passes. Some people yomp across as many Munros possible on the challenge, but we wanted to spend more time enjoying ourselves rather than toiling with a pack every day climbing Munros. Low level much as possible with a few climbs here and there was what I had intended for, as I didnt want to do it on my first challenge- its the first time I will have backpacked for this length of time.

Our starting point on the Challenge is one of a choice of 13 for everybody and ourstarting point is also the busiest one with a total of 70 challengers setting foot from Sheil Bridge next Friday. Im sure the first few miles will be busy, but after that- people will be heading up hills and taking different glens.

We have manged to get a lift to Shiel Bridge next Thursday, courtesy of Dan and I’m even just looking forward to the drive across being passenger soaking up the views on the way.

Thursday night, the bar at the Kintail Lodge will be packed with challengers- I will have to be strict with myself, as Im sure it will be a great evening meeting new people and exchanging stories with each other- with the beer flowing fast. I dont want to start my trek dehydrated with a hangover!