The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

TGO Challenge – Route Vetted

After a couple of posts about route planning and associated library visits back in November, I then failed to mention that by the middle of December I felt that I had done all I could on our TGOC route, and thus I submitted it for vetting.

It’s not unheard of for me to plan a route for a walk and then find, when we get to a section of it, that what I’ve plotted is nonsensical, circuitous or (at times) plain ridiculous, but that usually doesn’t matter because I haven’t had to share my plan with anyone (well, except for Mick, who does sometimes look at my proposed route before we walk it). Usually, unless I confess, no-one needs to know that I planned something nonsensical, circuitous or plain ridiculous and, as we usually do manage to spot these things in advance, we simply come up with an alternative at the appropriate time.

With a need to share our TGOC plans with a third party, and not wanting to look unduly silly, I checked, rechecked and checked again the route for glaring errors and dreaded a response along the lines of  ‘please try again and resubmit’ (although I’m sure that the very nice vetters wouldn’t ever be so unconstructively abrupt – I’m just scarred by the red pen of my teacher in Class 7 of Junior School!).

I didn’t have to wait long for a response. In fact, it was a remarkably speedy four days later, and well before Christmas, when comments were received. As well as providing us with some useful information, like in which places we would find shops, our vetter said nice things, like the following snippet:

“I think you have submitted a very interesting route for a first Challenge, including 3 – 4 Munros. To me it looks a true challenge, with 2 or 3 really hard days. My compliments for your route planning...”


I gulped slightly at the ‘2 or 3 really hard days’ but then I reminded myself that I had intentionally made bits of it slightly more challenging than anything we did last year – including the incorporation of (weather permitting) three Munros.

So, what is the route? Well, we’re starting in Oban and ending in St. Cyrus. We will be passing through Tyndrum, Blair Atholl, Glen Clova and Tarfside on the way. Perhaps scandalously, we won’t be passing through Braemar.

And now all we have to do is sit back* and wait for four months until we can go and put the plan into practice.

(*When I say ‘sit back’ I do of course mean ‘train diligently, paying particular attention to hill-work’)



  1. Well done Gayle, it sounds good, and will be particularly sociable at Tarfside.
    Sue submitted our route - Mallaig to Montrose, last week. The route has been 'pre-vetted' by the Mad Austrian, who confirms that Sue's exit from Dalwhinnie is by one of the most dire routes in Scotland, so she may get a 'try again' message from her vetter!

  2. Blimey, I'd better get on with it pronto ...

  3. Splendid sounding route, you two. Looks like we won't meet up until Montrose as Lord Elpus and I are 'doing' Torridon to Dunnotar Castle. We have yet to receive our route comments, but we always look forward to them - the vetters are splendid chaps!