My route for the 2015 TGO Challenge has now been vetted and approved. A big thank you to Bernie Marshall for vetting my route. My 2015 route is more ambitious than 2014. It is 21.5km longer at 301.2km and the total ascent is 9,078m compared with 6,992m.
I’ve scheduled seven Munros and one Corbett to climb. Of course, this is very weather dependent. If conditions warrant, I will have no hesitation in taking my Foul Weather Alternatives. I won’t be carrying crampons or an ice axe either, so if the tops are under snow, I’ll be taking a low route.
Here’s a summary of my route:
Dornie to Fort Augustus
Fri 8th: From Dornie, I follow the River Glennan, then over the bealach to Glen Elchaig. I’m going up the Falls of Glomach and camp somewhere beyond the top.
Sat 9th: I need good weather for this day. I’m intending to walk the ridge comprising Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and An Socach, then descending to Glen Affric to camp somewhere near Athnamulloch.
Sun 10th: This is a big day, taking in the ridge with Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean and Carn Ghluasaid, before descending to Coire Dho to camp.
Mon 11th: After two hard days, this is a little easier. After a stroll to Torgyle Bridge, it’s up the military road and through the forest to Fort Augustus. The main challenge will be route finding around the power lines. I’ve booked a B&B in Fort Augustus, where, hopefully I’ll be meeting Andy Walker.
Fort Augustus to Aviemore
Tues 12th: From Fort Augustus, Andy and I are heading up to Coire Doe and the reservoir and then to Stronelairg to camp somewhere along Glen Markie.
Weds 13th: From Glen Markie we follow the River Eskin to Dalbeg. Near Coignafearn Lodge we head south along the Elrick Burn and up and over to the Dulnain. We have the option of staying at the bothy or pushing on a bit further along the Dulnain to camp.
Thurs 14th: We follow the Dulnain to bothy no. 3 and then cross the Dulnain to the ridge with Geal-Charn Beag and Geal- Charn Mor. Then we take the Burma Road down to Aviemore. I’m staying at Coylumbridge, Andy is pushing on to Glenmore.
Aviemore to Ballater
Fri 15th: I start with an easy walk to Glenmore (perhaps stopping there for brunch), then towards Ryvoan and Bynack Stables. On the shoulder of Bynack More I turn to An Lurg and then down to the Water of Caiplich and the famous Cheese and Wine party.
Sat 16th: From Water of Caiplich to Glen Avon, crossing bridge to climb Beinn a’ Bhuird, then Leabaidh an Diamh Bhuide and down to the Gairn to camp nr Loch Builg Lodge. I need good weather for this day as it’s quite a long day with a fair amount of ascent.
Sun 17th: I’m more or less repeating the route I took this year down the Gairn to Ballater.
Ballater to Tangleha’
Mon 18th: Cycle track to Dinnet, then South to Glen Tanar, turning off to follow the Water of Allachy and camp somewhere before the Firnmounth Road.
Tues 19th: Firnmounth Road to Tarfside.
Weds 20th Trade route down the Esk to NW Bridge camp site.
Thurs 21st: Stroll on minor roads to finish at Tanglha’. Cafe in St Cyrus then bus to Montrose.
The really hard days are days 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9. However, as long as the weather is OK, I think they are not too ambitious. With the exception of Fort Augustus to Glen Markie, they all have FWAs.
Now the route is established, I need to do some meal and supply planning. This year I took a minimalist approach with only one supply package of two freeze dried meals. Next year, I think I might need to forward a bit more to Fort Augustus. Aviemore has a good Tesco’s but Ballater doesn’t have much, so I might do a bigger package this time.
Travel arrangements can’t be made until three months before the start. In terms of gear, I’ve decided most of what I’m going to take. I need to test the ZPacks Arc Blast, but assuming it’s big enough, I’ll probably use that. I have an interesting shelter on order, which should arrive in February, when I will be able to tell you more. I’m also veering towards taking a warmer sleeping bag as I can’t believe it will be as mild as it was this year.