TGOC 2017 the next 5 days

I’m in Braemar now. From Ft Aggie, I went through the Stronelairg wind farm development. What a catastrophe! Absolutely appalling. The only merit was a wonderful camp site at Chalybeate Spring setting me up for the next day. As if to make up for the horror of the previous day, the weather was superb for walking along the ridge on the northern side of the Spey. Even the afternoon showers missed me. To cap it all, I had a superb camping spot below Am Bodach. Resupply at Kingussie a bit limited but the walk along the lower Feshie was lovely, culminating in another great camp spot beneath a tree, giving me protection from the evening rain. Yesterday it rained nearly all day but not too heavily. My umbrella and the beauty of the Feshie was compensation. Today was a shortish walk into Braemar, lunch, then camp at the well appointed camp site. So far all is well. Even my Salomon X Ultras kept my feet dry yesterday. I’m generally using my iPhone for bad weather photos, so there’s not a great selection for live blogging. 

Camp at Chalybeate Spring

Big skies over the Monadhliath

Camp in Glen Feshie

Eidart Falls

Shepherds pie in Braemar

TGOC 2017 first 5 days

Arrived at Ft Augustus yesterday. So far the weather has been mixed but not as bad as forecast. However, rain, cloud and wind have meant I’ve stayed low. I’ll leave a proper write up until I’ve finished but, so far, things have gone reasonably smoothly. Here’s a few photos. 


Glen Affric

Camp at Athnamulloch

Coire Dho

TGO Challenge 2017

Well, tomorrow evening I’ll be off on the 2017 TGO Challenge. Preparation has been good, if low key. I’ll do my packing today, and lower the stress levels for tomorrow. I’ve not published my route as I’ve built in a number of variants, but the basic outline is Plockton, Loch Mullardoch, Affric, Ft Augustus, Glen Doe, National Park boundary, Kingussie, Glen Feshie, Cairn Toul, Braemar, Ballater, Glen Tanar, Fetteresso Forest, Stonehaven. The forecast is typical changeable Scottish weather. The only fly in the ointment has been that my wife’s health has not been good, so I’m hoping she’ll be OK while I’m away. I might do some on the trail posts, depending on WiFi etc. Toodle pip!

TGOC Daunder 2017

Last weekend I took part in the famous TGOC Daunder, preparing for the real thing in just over two weeks time. David has written an account on his blog Fellbound. Instead of repeating his account (however fanciful), I’ll just contribute some photos.

Alan finds some “interesting” photos on the internet.

Steep climb from Little Dale

Lunch on the flank of Robinson

Little Dale and Newlands

“View” from Hindscarth

Towards Dale Head

Newlands from Dale Head

Dale Head Tarn

Borrowdale from Rigghead Quarries


Camp above Borrowdale


View from Thornythwaite Fell

View from Thornythwaite Fell

Great Gable

Allen Crags from Glaramara

Tarn between Glaramara and Allen Crags looking towards Langdale

Great Gable

Angle Tarn and Bowfell


Packing up at Stonethwaite camp site


River Derwent


Derwent Water and Blencathra

New Mariposa hipbelt

I didn’t realise until recently that the new style hipbelt for the Gossamer Gear Mariposa is backward compatible with my old style dyneema Mariposa. The new hipbelt has two significant advantages over the old style.

Firstly, the ends of the aluminium stays locate directly into pockets in the hipbelt. This means that the load transfer of the pack to the hipbelt is directly coupled. Additionally, the hipbelt is stiffer and has more padding, both of which should improve both the dynamics and the comfort of the hipbelt.

Secondly, the pockets are larger. In the old hipbelt, the pockets were only big enough for a small compact camera like the Sony WX100. A larger compact like the Sony RX100 was a bit of a squeeze. With larger pockets, it fits with ease. It also means a bit more space for snacks in the other pocket.

The only modification needed in the old Mariposa is to cut a couple of small holes in the channels containing the frame so they can exit the pack body and locate into the hipbelt. It was really easy. One tip is to insert (and then remove!) a pencil into the hipbelt stay pockets as they are quite tight and need to be opened up a bit. I bought my hipbelt from . Bob has a useful video on how to fit the hipbelt.

I’ve not given it a full test yet, but my initial impression is that it is a signicant improvement over the old hipbelt.  Here’s some pictures.

Travelled Far by Keith Foskett

Travelled Far is Keith’s latest book. Unlike his previous books which covered complete long distance treks, this is a collection of reflections on various shorter walks, with the exception of a revisit to the Camino and his aborted PCT walk. One of Keith’s previous books, The Last Englishman, about his PCT hike, is one of my favourite books. Balancing on Blue, on his AT trek, is also a good read, so I approached this book with relish.

Because it’s not about one trek, you can dip in and out of it, rather than his other books which draw you into the world of the through hiker and constantly nag you to turn the next page. Many of chapters are about his walks in Sussex, which is familiar territory to me as it was where I was raised as a kid and was the starting point for my hiking and backpacking adventures.

Keith doesn’t come from a journalistic background, so it’s been interesting to see his writing develop over the years. His writing has the immediacy and urgency of someone who puts in big miles every day. If I had one criticism, sometimes I wish he would slow down a bit to reflect on his journey. That said, you could never accuse him of sitting still and navel gazing!

The most interesting chapters for me were on the Camino and his aborted CDT trek. I knew a bit of the background to the CDT, but it was good to read the full story. I hope he can go back and do the full trek some time. The Camino is a completely different trek. It’s a shame he didn’t write a bit more on this, although I ought to get his first book, The Journey in Between, about his initial trek on the Camino.

Overall this book is an enjoyable read and hopefully there will be more books in the pipeline. I’d love Keith to do LEJOG and write about it! The book is available both in paperback and on Kindle (both available through Amazon). Keith kindly sent me a paperback copy for review and it’s good quality. One other thing to mention is that all the profits from the book will go Mountain Rescue UK.

My review of The Last Englishman

My review of Balancing on Blue

Disclaimer: Keith gave me a free copy of Travelled Far with no obligations or conditions. 

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