No TGO Challenge for me this year. The Netherlands are on the UK Amber List, so any walk in Scotland would need a ten day quarantine. The organisation have offered me a place on the 2022 edition, which I hope I can accept.
I wish all Challengers a great trip. That won’t be a problem, I know. On the other hand, I read challenger’s stories about blisters, too long days, and boredom, disappointment and mood swings. A long distance walk resembles life. Duh.
Hopefully, I will walk my Challenge route, or most of it, early September, if Covid restrictions are lifted. My walking tactics (wouldn’t call them ’tips’, but they might inspire you):
Wild camping will feel like a bigger reward if you go out to a summit during the day, even in inclement weather. Or climb a summit from camp in the morning or as an evening walk. Any low summit with a view or a rocky spine will do. Returning to a tent feels good!
When rainy, follow a high route, it makes for a more interesting day than trudging through the glens. Swim or bathe in a stream or loch whenever you can, it feels very outdoorsy.
For navigation, use streams, ridges and glens instead of looking at your phone/map all the time. Avoid looking at your watch or checking your phone. This can wait. Forget about daily targets and walk less or more as you please. Let your body be the judge instead of your schedule. Get rid of the inner voice that says you’re slow or lazy, it’s bloody nonsense.
Quit eating sugary food, it gives your mood all those highs and lows. Don’t bring ‘spare’ food, you’ll only take it to the next shop. Don’t bring water, any more than a few mouthfuls, it is heavier than any piece of gear. Just drink from the streams (bring a filter if the land dries up and you’re forced to drink from still water)
5 Blogs and photos
Write about the very particular and peculiar. Make it personal, talk to the reader, talk about people. Don’t write about each and every hour or mile. Never exaggerate danger or bad weather. Shut up about gear, unless it fails you.
All photo’s have already been taken, so take as much as you like, but please select only a handful for a blog or album. Try bad light, close-up, odd angles, bad weather, parties. If photographing views or hills, please think about a foreground, and avoid all mid-day pictures, they’re dull. Selfies only if you’re knackered or exhilarated.
Come 27 August, find me on Instagram (@klaasloopt) to follow my trip, or look for Klaasloopt on Walkhighlands where I will post my trip report.