After twelve days and some two hundred miles I arrived in Montrose and my sixteenth TGO Challenge was over. Now I'm thinking back over the journey - the places, the people, the wild camps, the wildlife. It always takes time to absorb a long trip and I know that memories will come and go over the weeks and months ahead.
The weather dominated the walk from Spean Bridge as the calm and quiet changed to dramatic and unpredictable. The wind strengthened and became cold and northerly, bringing heavy showers, sometimes of hail. The rivers were roaring and waterfalls spectacular. I walked into Braemar in heavy rain and over Jocks Road in shifting mists with the ground sodden. The path down into Glen Doll was running with water. My camp in that glen above the forest was the most spectacular of the walk as the rocky hills rose into dark clouds and water crashed down every ravine and cliff. The last two days were dry but the wind was bitterly cold and very strong. I hadn't expected to be walking in hat, gloves, insulated jacket in late May. My last camp was on a tiny shelf just below the tops, partly sheltered but still blustery.
Then it was the final road to Montrose and the Park Hotel and two days of old friends and new, a sharing of experiences and love of backpacking and wild places that is one of the things that makes the Challenge so special. I'll be back.
There'll be a further report with more photos once I'm home and have downloaded them from my cameras. The pictures posted so far are from my phone.