Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Wild Camps on TGO Challenge 2019

Dawn at Loch Beoraid after a frosty night

At the big celebration dinner in Montrose Hamish Brown, who came up with the idea of the TGO Challenge, spoke about memories of the event being as much about the camps as the walking. That's certainly the case for me. The succession of camps in wild places is one of the big attractions and I usually spend several hours at each site.

Glen Finnan.

This year on the Challenge I had ten camps, with one night in a B&B in Fort William. Here I'm posting pictures of eight of them, with two each for four that were really special. Missing is the one in Dalwhinnie next to the hotel - it wasn't a wild or attractive site and that was the night the weather broke and it rained constantly - and the one the day after Dalwhinnie somewhere above the headwaters of the River Feshie as again it rained all night and this time I was in the mist too.

Coire a'Chaorainn, Gulvain.

My camping gear for this trip consisted of my Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar, which has now seen over 150 nights use, and a Luxe Outdoor Tyvek groundsheet. The Trailstar is still in excellent condition, the groundsheet, which has been used on sixty plus nights, isn't as waterproof as it was so this was its last trip.

Loch Beoraid.

Glen Finnan.

Coire a'Chaorainn, Gulvain.

By the Abhainn Rath below Binnein Mor and Binnein Beag in the Mamores.

In the Uisge Labhair glen between Loch Ossian and the Bealach Dubh.

White Bridge, River Dee. Another Challenger camped on the far bank, the only time I camped near anyone else.

Looking down river at the White Bridge camp. The start of a very wet day.

Camp in Glen Callater after a very wet night when I wondered if the river would burst its banks.

Last and coldest camp. The wet Trailstar froze inside and out. By the Muckle Falloch, a tributary of the Water of Saughs.


5 comments:

  1. Great camp spots and photos Chris. Like you I did 10 nights out on this years Challenge. Will we see a full gear list used published?

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    1. Thanks Martin. I'll post a gear list sometime soon.

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  2. This post might just be the one to kick me up the posterior and get me back out into the hills on foot. (I have cycled into the hills recently.) Some inspiring images.

    The photos of your pitch in Coire a'Chaorainn are an excellent chastisement to those of us who have only treated that lovely corner of Scotland as an up and down between Munros.

    You've had better luck with your Luxe groundsheet than me. Mine was never waterproof - a real disappointment. Forget the elbow test. It couldn't even pass the buttock test. And it acquired the Stink - the same odour as an elderly, synthetic baselayer. It's been relegated to the protection of my Oookworks products.

    Great to see the Trailstar getting so much use. Is there a more reliable shelter in a storm?

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    1. Thanks John. My Luxe groundsheet was waterproof when new. I didn't expect this to last as I knew Tyvek was only just waterproof. In fact it's lasted better than I expected. I used it on my Yosemite Valley to Death Valley and GR5 Through the Alps walk and it was fine on both (though on the first the ground was always dry). It did stink after the GR5, which I put down to camping on ground used by cattle and sheep. Hanging it on the washing line for a few weeks removed the smell. However it's back after the Challenge. I'll still probably replace it with another one though, due to the weight.

      The Trailstar is certainly the best shelter in a storm at weights suitable for solo use that I've used. Next up would be geodesic domes weighing well over 2kg.

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  3. Great post, and thanks for sharing. Even on tent-bound bad weather days, it gave me the opportunity for taking care of chores eg. foot care, equipment maintenance etc. which enabled a more problem-free continuation of the journey. Its all good in retrospect!

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