I’m heading home today. After a great Saturday, on Sunday morning I woke with some slight discomfort in my left knee. Trying to walk it off just made it worse and by Sunday lunchtime, it was very sore and seems to be a ligament issue from when I used to play football. I thought I’d got rid of the issue over twenty years ago. I took a taxi to meet my Challenge friends at Gairlochy campsite. It was just too sore to contemplate carrying so the sensible thing was not to aggravate it further and to come home. Unfortunately it’s going to be a long day. I’m afraid this year is turning out to be a bit dismal.
I’m not able to participate in this year’s TGO Challenge because I can’t be away from home for more than a week. However, I’m going to have a week in Scotland and will meet with a few Challengers for three days, with two solo days either side. On Friday evening, I’ll get the sleeper up to Corrour for Saturday morning. I’ll take two days walking through Glen Nevis, Ft. William and the Great Glen to Gairlochy. Then over Creag Meagaidh and to Garva Bridge. Lastly, I’ll take the ridge on the northern side of the Spey to Aviemore. It is just under one hundred miles and will take seven days. The weather forecast looks good, so it should be fun.
I was rather pleased with my Dartmoor video/slideshow so I’ve compiled one for my Not the TGO Challenge trip in May of this year. Hope you enjoy it.
Alex Roddie has written a feature for the TGO Magazine website on the experiences of six Challengers. I was part of the group asked to share our experiences and you can read the article here: https://www.tgomagazine.co.uk/news/digital-feature-what-makes-the-tgo-challenge-special/
Overall I was pleased with my gear choices for this trip. In particular I was glad that I use my Lightwave Ultrahike as it carried the extra weight well and definitely the right choice. I managed to do without the Inov-8 belt pack for the majority of the time and should’ve left it behind. The Tread Lite shoulder strap camera pouch was excellent and compensated for no hip pockets.
The Tramplite shelter was fine, coping with the strong winds on Saturday night/Sunday morning really well. For choice, it’s a little cramped inside and if weight had not been a major consideration, I would’ve taken my Scarp. However, the Tramplite is half the weight. My sleeping system of As Tucas down quilt and Thermarest X Lite short was perfect. The new Sea to Summit Aeros UL pillow was comfortable, especially if slightly under inflated.
In terms of clothing, I loved the Rab Interval T. The thin material evaporates sweat quickly and didn’t smell even wearing it for four days in a row. Even though it wasn’t that cold, I was glad of the As Tucas Sestrals insulated trousers in the evening. The Berghaus Furnace jacket was about right, but if it had been colder, I would’ve preferred my PHD Minimus jacket. I slept in my Helley Hansen Lifa long sleeve polo shirt. It wasn’t as warm as I thought it would be and I think I’d take a warmer layer for this kind of trip in future. The Paramo 3rd Element jacket worked well and I appreciated the flexibility of being able to use it as a gilet. I really liked my new Outdoor Research Swift cap. The partial mesh kept me cool and largely sweat free, while the solid crown gave me adequate sun protection. The one thing I wish I’d taken was my Montane Featherlite windproof smock. At 88g, it weighs virtually nothing and I should’ve taken it.
I didn’t need my waders, but they are good insurance. I left my umbrella behind, but I didn’t have any occasion where I could’ve used it. I was pleased with my Olight Nova H1 headtorch and I will do a separate review. I had a new Tread Lite USB lantern, which was excellent. I used an Anker Power Core 10000 battery charging pack for my iPhone, which not only carried enough power to charge my iPhone most days with plenty to spare, it was also quick to charge and very light for its capacity at 177g. I should also mention my Bioskin neoprene knee support which was a real life saver when I tweaked a knee ligament on the first day.
If I go on next year’s Challenge, I would probably swap out the Ultrahike for the Tramplite Pack as I wouldn’t be carrying so much food. I’d take a warmer sleeping base layer top, a windproof smock or jacket and probably a warmer down jacket. Beyond that, my gear wouldn’t be much different.
It was an interesting exercise taking nearly one week’s food on my recent trip. To recap, I took six breakfasts and six evening meals and enough for seven lunches. The total weight including packaging and packing cells/food bag was 5.4kg. I reckon I could cut around 600g from that total and still be OK.
I finished with quite a lot of nuts left over. I carried 620g of Brazils/macademias/almonds plus a 200g packet of salted peanuts and cashews (which I finished) . I think 350g (50g per day) of Brazils/macademias would have been enough (I’d leave out the almonds too). I had some surplus dried fuit, around 150g. The Biltong was great to mix in with breakfast and some evening meals but I could’ve done without it saving 200g or so. Six packets of Biltong was surprisingly bulky as well. Most of the rest of the food I ate completely.
As a rule of thumb, I think 700-800g is reasonable per day. You could probably get away with a bit less if you were resupplying every 3-4 days and eating in civilization. However, for a wilderness trip of a week, I think the minimum per day you could get away with is about 750g per day. Indeed, if you were going somewhere obscure, you’d probably want to take a bit extra to cater for potential delays.
I really liked having the Summit to Eat Scrambled Eggs with Cheese for breakfast, despite taking a bit longer to prepare and some extra fuel to heat the water. This in combination with a granola bar (and some tea) was quite a satisfying breakfast. For evening meals, I’m happy with a freeze-dried main meal and some dried fruit for dessert (dried dates for four meals and dried mandarins for two).
At lunch time, I didn’t particularly miss sandwich type lunches and a combination of Tracker bars, Tunnock’s caramel wafers, Nakd fruit fars, sesame seed bars, nuts (Brazils, macademias, almonds, cashews, peanuts) and dried fruit (banana chips plus berry mix) kept me going both for lunch and for snacks.
I didn’t tot up calories but I’d be really surprised if my daily intake was enough to compensate for my energy consumption. I had definitely lost weight by the end of the trip, although how much I don’t know as we don’t having any scales at home.
Slideshow video: https://youtu.be/3Oqj-Krpngs