The only cat who knows where it's at ...
The TGO Challenge is an annual self-supported walk across the Highlands of Scotland, west coast to east coast. The Challenge was the original idea of Hamish Brown, the writer and mountaineer, and has taken place every May since 1980. Still known to many as the "Ultimate Challenge" after the original sponsor, Ultimate Equipment, it is now sponsored by TGO, the walkers' magazine in partnership with Hanwag, the footwear and boot manufacturer. Application forms appear in the October issue of the TGO magazine (out September). More information can be found on the Challenge website.
Some challengers have published their diaries of the event on line - usually posting the address on one of the message boards. Trouble is, as time rolls on, these posts disappear, and most of the pre digital diaries and stories have never been shared beyond family and friends. This is a shame, as there are some great stories out there. So we have gathered a few here for the enjoyment (and entertainment) of fellow challengers, and to encourage those who may be thinking about taking up the Challenge.
|Click on any title|
|Phil Lambert on Challenge 2014 NEW!!|
|Jean Turner's 2011 Diary - Ardrishaig to Lunan Bay|
|Phil Lambert's 2011 Challenge - Torridon to Arbroath|
|Derek Goffin on the 'Top Half of The Highlands' 2009 - Oban to Montrose|
|Mike Knipe's 2009 Account - Glenelg to Johnshaven|
|Steve Smith's Complete Challenge Accounts to2010|
|Gordon Green's 2009 Account - Strathcarron to St Cyrus|
|Mike Knipe's 2008 Account - Dornie to Dunottar castle|
|Jean Turner's 2007 Diary - Ardnoe Point to Rattray Head|
|Alan Sloman's 2005 Diary - Acharacle to St Cyrus|
|Jean Turner's 2005 Diary - Shiel Bridge to St Cyrus|
|Mike Knipe's 2004 Account - Lochailort to Lunan Bay|
|Bob Cartwright's 2005 Diary|
|Bob Cartwright's 2004 Diary|
|Challenge 1999 - Strathcarron to Arbroath
An Excerpt from Ken Proudler's Cape Wrath to Edale Book
|Derek Emsley's 1999 "3 Generation" diary - Oban to St Cyrus|
|Marian Emsley's 1996 Account - Mallaig to St Cyrus|
|Peter Goddard's 1995 Crossing - Oban to Long Meg|
|Geoff Reed's 1995 Crossing - Oban to Auchmithie|
|A Sploshing Dutchman 1990|
|Peter Goddard's 1989 Crossing - Shiel Bridge to St Cyrus||Peter Goddard's 1988 Crossing - Lochailort to St Cyrus|
|Mike Daniel's 1987 Crossing - the 4000' route|
|Derek Emsley's 1987 Crossing - Torridon to Arbroath|
|Big John Hutchinson's 1986 Crossing - Lochailort to Montrose|
|Peter Goddard's 1984 Crossing - Lochailort to Montrose|
|Derek Emsley's 1983 Crossing - Mallaig to Montrose|
|Peter Goddard's 1983 Crossing - Morar to Montrose|
The next selection is all links to external websites that we think have outstanding Challenge stories - we hope you enjoy them as much as we did, and if you know of a site that we've missed, let us know.
Some of the stories below are culled from blogs, and therefore are in reverse order (i.e. they begin at the end if you see what I mean)
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|Dave Wood's 2011 Challenge - Acharacle to Stonehaven|
|Gordon Green's 2011 Challenge - Oban to St Cyrus|
|Judith Barnes 2011 Challenge - Torridon to Portlethen Village|
|Louise's Big Adventure 2011 - Shiel Bridge to St Cyrus|
|Mick & Gayle's 2011 Account - Strathcarron to St Cyrus|
|Andrew Walker's 2011 Account|
|Andy Howell's accounts 2005 to 2011 plus useful tips and guidance.|
|Martin Banfield's 2010 Account|
|Alan Sloman's 2011 TGO Challenge|
|Alan Sloman's 2010 TGO Challenge|
|John Hesp's 2010 Account|
|Alan Sloman's 2009 TGO Challenge|
|John Hesp's 2009 Account|
|Andy Howell's 2009 Account|
|Martin & Sue Banfield's 2009 Account|
|Nigel Ellis' 2009 TGO Challenge|
|Alan Sloman's 2008 TGO Challenge|
|Martin + Sue Banfield's 2008 TGO Blog|
|Theo Fokker's 2007 Challenge and much much more|
|Roger Boston's 2007, 2006 & 2005 accounts|
|Martin Banfield's 2007 TGO...and a lot more besides!|
|Ian Cotterill's Photo diaries Photo essays from 2005 to 2012 - images to inspire.|
|Steve Smith's Challenge's 2004 - 2009 & much more! Wry & witty.|
Audiophiles will be pleased to know that in addition to the links above, there is a series of Podcasts from Bob Cartwright. Do have a look around his shopping site Backpackinglight as well. Bob sells a wide range of lightweight kit, much of which you won't find in your local gear shop - and as challengers themselves, you can be assured that Bob & Rose will give good advice on your choice of equipment for your adventure.
For the time being we have decided that what we have here gives a sufficient flavour of the event and plenty of inspiration for those planning a route for the first time. We won't be adding more for a while as the ethos of the Challenge is self sufficiency, and that especially applies to route planning.
We hope that you've enjoyed these Challenge tales - and if you've not yet taken up the TGO Challenge, why not give it a try? Scotland offers superb backpacking country, and May is just the right time to enjoy it.
Go on. You know you want to.