TGO Challenge 2014 Day 12

Glen Tanar to Tarfside

Tuesday 20th May

Start 8:30, finish1:30,16.4km

Day 12

When I got up at 6:30am, it looked like it was going to be a fine day. Although there was some hill fog, the sky was mainly clear. As I was eating breakfast, Andy Gerrard swung by. He was making an early start and heading for Tarfside. My start was rather more leisurely.

DSC01791Rob Leech

I was packed by around 8:15, by which time Ant and Sean could be seen climbing up the path to Mount Keen having camped a bit further down the glen. I stopped for a chat with Rob, who explained a bit more about his Challenge.

DSC01795Glen Tanar

It was warm enough to wear just a base layer and fleece, without a windproof. The path up from Glen Tanar is well graded, so I made good progress. The views behind were glorious, so I took a number of photos. Near the end of the first section of the climb, I caught Ant and Sean.

DSC01803Glen Tanar from near the top of Mount Keen

I was feeling good, so I surged ahead. After a flat section, I stormed up the steeper rocky section to the top. Not far from the top, the views disappeared as I climbed into the cloud. By this time I had put on my windproof top as it had become windy and somewhat chilly.

DSC01804Summit selfie

It took me an hour and ten minutes to reach the summit from Glen Tanar, which I thought was a good effort with a full pack. Unfortunately, there were no views, so I had a quick bite to eat, sheltered by a rock outcrop and started my descent.

DSC01807The way down

The path down was excellent, although I was walking into the full force of the wind. Part way down, I phoned Challenge Control to let them know that all was well. I emerged below the cloud where the path meets the LRT that goes down to Glen Mark. The rougher LRT made for slower going. I winced as I thought of Rob Leech coming down here with his 34kg pack.

DSC01812Dropping below the cloud

The descent into Glen Mark was lovely, especially in the lower reaches. By the time I made the building, the sun was shining. I diverted to look at the Queen’s Well, where the water was covered in weed.

DSC01817Glen Mark

A little further on, I met a farmer releasing his sheep onto the hillside. We had a chat for about ten minutes, then I was on my way again.

DSC01824The Queen’s Well

The lower part of Glen Mark is less interesting, although still pleasant. The track made for good progress. At the junction with the road, I bumped into Norman Reeves (or Stormin’ Norman as he is known). He was suffering a bit, so after a quick chat, I stepped on the accelerator and pushed on ahead.

DSC01839Hill of Rowen

The distinctive monument on the Hill of Rowen, suggested that I didn’t have far to go. I overtook some other Challengers and soon I was in Tarfside. I decided to pitch my tent before visiting St Drostan’s.


I was surprised how few tents were on the field, but it was quite early. I pitched my tent down near the river, as I though it was bit more secluded and I was less likely to be disturbed any any snoring.

After pitching, I spotted Andy Walker. So much for Alan and team not visiting Tarfside this year! I went to the hostel and pigged on two bacon buns, cake and tea. I chatted to several other Challengers including David and Margaret Brocklehurst. The Tarfside team did us proud. Outside, I had a chat to Vicky and Toby Grace who I “knew” through Twitter.


Back at the camp site, I saw David Hale and Ray Disson. I caught up with their news. By now the field was filling with tents and I was glad that I had chosen a more secluded spot. Back at my tent, Peter Dixon and Lee Taylor wandered over to introduce themselves. They too were people I had been in contact with through Twitter.

At around six o’clock, a car pulled up and someone from The Retreat arrived to take food orders for delivery to the camp site. This was an opportunity not to be missed! I ordered a burger (!) and chips. About half an hour later it arrived and I sat down with Dave and Ray on the grassy bank next to Dave’s tent for a scoff.

DSC01848The Mason’s

After a brief respite, it was on to the Mason’s for a drink with Ray, Vicky & Toby, Dave and John & Sue Tattersall. Then Alan Sloman walked in with some half baked excuse about hurting his knee and having to change his route. After a while, Ray and I left the hardened drinkers to it and retired to our respective tents.

I really enjoyed Mount Keen. It was a shame there were no views at  the very the top. I wasn’t sure what to expect at Tarfside. I’m not one for crowds. However, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the camaraderie. St. Drostan’s and the Mason’s were good fun. As with all the Challenge, everyone I met was very friendly. It was a really good day, perhaps tinged with a little sadness as the end was drawing near.


5 thoughts on “TGO Challenge 2014 Day 12”

  1. “Then Alan Sloman walked in with some half baked excuse about hurting his knee and having to change his route…”
    I’ll have you know, my hurty knee still isn’t too good.
    Let me tell you, it was a miracle I got across this year. There again, it’s a miracle I get across every year.

  2. Mr Walker:
    Ms Hepburn said to me over breakfast on the Geldie “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
    What a woman…

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