Monday 27 May 2019

The TGO Challenge 2019 - first thoughts and pictures

Sunrise, Loch Beoraid

Last Wednesday I walked into Montrose and completed my sixteenth TGO Challenge coast to coast crossing of the Scottish Highlands. Here are some initial thoughts and a few of the 400+ images I took during the walk. I'll write and post more in the coming days as I go through the pictures and contemplate the trip.

The South Top of Gulvain

The walk began with exceptional heat and ended with not-so-exceptional rain and cold. My very last camp was the coldest, my first one the second coldest. Both were frosty, the only ones of the walk. In the usually boggy and wet west where keeping your feet dry can be difficult the ground was crisp and dusty. The heat and a lack of water sources high up were the only problems; sunscreen, dark glasses and a sunhat the most essential equipment. In the east, where it's usually drier, heavy rain made for swollen burns and deep bogs. Keeping warm and dry and not getting lost in the mist were the problems; waterproofs, warm clothing, GPS, compass and map all essential. Once in the west I almost ran out of water, once in the east I wondered whether a river would burst its banks and flood my camp.

Sunset, Gulvain

Both extremes of weather made for interesting walking. I enjoyed it all. The heat brought colour and brightness, deep blue skies and fresh green trees, a touch, it felt, of mountains in hotter, drier countries. The rain and mist brought a northern feel, more arctic than alpine; gloomy, Gothic, Nordic and awe-inspiring.

Binnein Mor & Binnein Beag

Staoineag bothy


Ben Tirran


  1. Great pictures!

    Myself I had just finished a hike from Milngavie to Cape Wrath (simply joining the West Highland Way and Cape Wrath Trail) on 8 May, so on my way home I met many hikers who were just starting the TGO Challenge.

    On the Cape Wrath Trail I had ridiculously dry conditions. Never ever did I get wet feet (wearing boots) and all streams I could simply cross with dry feet. Areas that are normally very boggy were also really dry.

    I did one morning (May 4th) wake up in a completely white landscape (just past Oykel Bridge) and experienced a few more light rain and snow showers but never with much water content.

    1. I've never seen the west so dry. I was wearing mesh trail shoes and never got my feet wet. Then from Dalwhinnie onwards my feet were soaked all the time.

  2. Chris judging by what I have seen of your route is that not Staoineag bothy?

  3. Oops! Of course it is! Thanks for pointing it out. I've corrected it.