Hiking Across Scotland

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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

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

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