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Hiking Across Scotland
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Hiking Across Scotland



In May 2010, Philip Werner hiked coast-to-coast across Scotland as part of an annual, noncompetitive, event called The Great Outdoors Challenge (TGO Challenge). Philip planned his own cross-country ...

In May 2010, Philip Werner hiked coast-to-coast across Scotland as part of an annual, noncompetitive, event called The Great Outdoors Challenge (TGO Challenge). Philip planned his own cross-country route from the east coast to the west, a distance of 173 miles, backpacking through the heart of the Scottish Highlands.

Participation in the TGO Challenge requires a high degree of competence in navigation, survival techniques, backcountry camping and hill walking. A maximum of 15 days is allowed for the crossing and entrants must have previous hill walking experience in Scotland, although exceptions are made for overseas participants. In this presentation, Philip describes his route planning process, including Scottish geography and climate, shares his experiences backpacking the route and participating in the TGO Challenge, and show gorgeous pictures of Scotland’s mountains, waterfalls, and landscape.



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  • I love backpacking – feel like part of a dying breed in the AMC with the emphasis on lodging and the huts. I hike about 500 miles per year, all throughout new england, including the cakskills and adirondack I also do some winter backpacking, and fair amount of peakbagging.
  • Note other stuffed animals on challenge
  • Glen of slabs, along river croe
  • The Next morning all of the tops are covered in snow. I loll around for a while in my bag. Have some breakfast, and by then the snow has melted.
  • Considered the most beatuiful loch in scotland
  • Heart filled with joy Massive cataracts up this gully. It’s raining.
  • Not many trees, and you’ll see later that they’re fenced off to protect them from deer.
  • I had been anticipating snow at this time of year – I was going to have to make a call about whther I climbed itor not.
  • I was standing on snow bridge, alone, need an ice axe.
  • Fences to protect tress all around glen affric
  • Trees grow differently – first cultivated, amazingly dense, grow on mounds, probably dead stumps. Very eerie and imprentrable
  • Built by Genral wade – old miltary road – built in 1731
  • 50 mile view, see all the way back to Glen affric
  • Really getting into the challenge, now, lay back in the grass
  • Road walk hot, meet two other chanllenger s both name ddave and one has a luggage cart
  • Gas story – nick and his dah catch up with me
  • This is an esate, young group east fresh heather shoots
  • On this mound, controlled the river crossing for on this side of the highland.
  • Balmoral estate – royal mountain, favorite of queen, lord byron poem
  • Bacon buttie, Price Charles, challenge tradition for over 30 years – people camped there.
  • Opportune – because I discovered that I was running out of food!
  • Jocks Road – Scottish Rights of Way story
  • 2 miles long surrounded by cliffs, old beach forest, glas alt shiel bothy – all on balmoral estate, deer herds – hundred of them
  • Moont keen in distance, very boggy here
  • Bull, barking dogs

Hiking Across Scotland Hiking Across Scotland Presentation Transcript

  • Backpacking Coast-to-Coast Across Scotland Philip Werner [email_address]
  • Agenda
    • TGO Challenge Overview
    • Preparation
    • The Hike
    • Q & A
  • The TGO Challenge Overview
  • Scotland – 2010 Route
  • About the TGO Challenge
    • Coast-to-Coast Hike
      • Attributed to Hamish Brown
      • Started in 1980
      • 300 participants a year
      • Non-competitive
      • 15 days maximum
      • Design your own route
      • Solo or in a group
      • Foot travel only
      • Camp or B&B
      • Average 180 miles
  • Repeat Offenders Courtesy Alan Sloman
  • Planning Help and Advice Mike Knipe, Northern Pies Chris Townsend, Townsend Outdoors Martin Rye, Summit and Valley
  • Challenger Camaraderie
  • Challenger Camaraderie
  • Challenger Camaraderie
  • Getting into the Challenge
    • Scottish hill walking experience required, but can be waived
    An Tealloch, West Highlands Eildon Hills, Scottish Borders
  • Challenge Timeline
    • October 15 - Applications Due
    • December 1 – Hiker Selection
    • February 28 – Route Plans Due
    • March 30 – Vetter Comments
    • May 13-14 – Start Point Sign-outs
      • 3 check-ins with Challenge Control
    • May 26 & 27– Sign Out in Montrose
      • Banquet at Park Hotel
  • Backpacking in the States White Mountain Trails
  • There is no “trail”
  • Cross Country Hiking in Scotland
    • Scottish Rights of Way Law
    • Unpredictable Weather
      • Snow and Rain
    • In May, 19 hours of Daylight
    • Natural Barriers
      • Mountain Ranges and Passes
      • Great Glen (Loch Ness)
      • Rivers
      • Bogs
    • Sparsely Populated
    • Learn a Little Gaelic
    • Different Map Coordinate System
  • Guidelines for First Time Challengers
    • Take a Low Level Route
    • Follow River Valleys
    • Verify all Bridges
    • Use Hill Tracks
    • Avoid High Mountain Passes
    • Make sure Towns on Maps Have Shops or Inhabitants
  • Challenge Route Plan Vetter Response, with route amendments and suggestions
  • Preparation
  • Raising Charity for My Walk
  • Sponsors
  • Gear Choices
    • Shoes – Trail Runners – Dry Quickly
    • Shelter – Pyramid Tarp- Wind Resistance
    • Bivy Bag with Head Net – Water Resistance/Bugs
    • Backpack – Cuben Fiber - Lightweight
    • Chlorine Dioxide – Water Treatment
    • 1 Qt Plastic Bottle – Hydration
    • Navigation – Garmin Geko 301 – Position Checks
    • Tracking/Emergency– SPOT II GPS Messenger
    • Stove – Snowpeak Giga – Fast
      • Bad Choice
  • Basil, the Moose
  • The Hike
  • Boston to Shiel Bridge
    • Boston to Dublin - Fly
    • Dublin to Glasgow – Fly
    • Glasgow to Shiel Bridge - Cab
  • Scotland – 2010 TGO Route Shiel Bridge Fort Augustus Kinguissie Lochnagar Montrose
  • Shiel Bridge – Kintail Lodge
  • The Isobutane Saga
  • Shiel Bridge to Fort Augustus (~50 miles)
  • Five Sisters of Kintail
  • Day 1, Dawn at Shiel Bridge
  • Waterfalls along Gleann Licht
  • Looking Backwards
  • First Water Break
  • Canban Bothy – Lunch Stop
  • Alt Grannda
  • Day 1, Sputan Ban Waterfall
  • Glen Affric
  • Allt Corie Leachavie
  • Glen Affric – Looking Back
  • Mam Sodhail
  • Mam Sodhail Summit Ridge
  • Day 2, South Side, Glen Affric
  • Tree Farms near Glen Affric
  • Road to Fort Augustus
  • Fort Augustus to Kingussie
  • Leaving Fort Augustus
  • Jane Egg
  • Looking Back to Loch Ness
  • Corrieyairick Pass
  • Blackburn Bothy, Corrieyairick Pass
  • Inside my Tarp
  • Moment of Contentment
  • Corrieyairick Pass
  • Spey River Valley
  • Garva Bridge, Road to Laggan
  • Monadhliath Hotel
  • Phones Track
  • Ruthven Barracks, Kingussie
  • Kingussie
  • Columba House Garden
  • Resupply and Laundry
  • Kingussie to Lochnagar
  • Baileguish
  • Feshie Bridge, The Last Bridge
  • The Trees of Glen Feshie
  • Upper Feshie
  • Stream Crossing
  • Upper Feshie Camp
  • Source of the Feshie
  • Peat Bog
  • Pass through the Cairngorms to the Dee
  • White Bridge over the River Dee
  • Scottish Tan
  • Lin of Dee
  • Glen Clunie
  • Camping along Callater Burn
  • Lochnagar and Surrounds
  • Loch Callater
  • Stan and Bill’s, Callater Lodge
  • My First Bacon Buttie
  • Glen Callater and Jocks Road
  • Graham Lewis – Mr REI
  • Lochnagar
  • Lochnagar Summit
  • The Stuic and Loch nan Eun
  • Cac Carn Mor
  • Lochnagar, North Face
  • Lochnagar to Montrose
  • Waterfall
  • Graham Lewis
  • Loch Muick
  • Shielin of Mark
  • Hilleberg Atko
  • Hiking Down to Glen Lee
  • Adder Skin
  • St Drostan’s - Tarfside
  • St Drostan’s
  • The Ladies of St. Drostan’s
  • Glen Esk
  • Tuck Inn, Edzell
  • Fields outside Montrose
  • First Glimpse of the Sea
  • Montrose – Journey’s End
  • The Park Hotel
  • Signing Out at Challenge Control
  • The Banquet
  • Journey Home