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]

Monday, 5 March 2012


A while ago I stated our plans for April this year, which mainly features the length of Wales to finish our ‘lengths and breadths’ series of walks. We’re going to have a tiny bit of a break after we get to the north coast of Wales, then it’s off to Scotland for our third TGO Challenge.

Mick was more involved than normal in the route-planning this year, and a few possibilities were roughly sketched out from various starting points. Having weighed up the options the final decision was based largely on wanting to pass through the Monadhliath again before it gets covered in wind farms and the accompanying motorway-esque tracks. So, we’re setting out from Shiel Bridge this year and our route looks roughly like this:



If I’d made that line red it would have showed up a lot better, wouldn’t it?

We’re taking something of a non-standard route to get from home up to Shiel Bridge. Considering that we live in the Midlands, the obvious way to get to Scotland would be to head north. However, when we saw that we could get Sleeper tickets up to Inverness for £19 each, and tickets from home to London for £6 each, we decided that the ridiculousness of a via-London route was far outweighed by the comfort and value of the Sleeper.

We’ve not done too badly coming back either at under £35 door-to-door. The bad news is that we will be missing the post-Challenge dinner this year, as we need to travel home on the Thursday morning. More about that, though, when I publish our plans for June…


  1. Like your style re the sleeper trip - and what a price! Managed to get my TGO 'return' for about £55 in the end - steerage class of course.

    Hope to bump into the M&G duo along the way somewhere. I'll be the one with my head in my hands saying "why" to myself whilst rocking.


  2. OOoo, I have questions!(No surprise there then, have you girded your loins?) When are you getting the ferry across Loch Ness? My plan is Monday tea-time (Gordon Menzies liked my email address...) and where are you going after Ballater? Looks similar to me, but I suspect you'll be ahead of me at that point, as you are catching a train south as I make a sprint for the coast.
    (Carl, you think you'll be the only one?!)

  3. Hi Gayle - Looks like you'll spend the Challenge being at least a day ahead of me - I'm starting at Glenelg but going through Ballater not Braemar this year. Never mind, I'll just follow in your footsteps.........

    PS Someone tell me which language this non-robot thing speaks?

  4. Hi Gayle and Mick,
    Sounds great. We are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather for you and no midges.
    That will be the day.
    Have a good trip and we will enjoy the read, especially the vague June bits.

  5. Carl - If the weather's anything like last year then I may also be found to be muttering "why" whilst exhibiting a face like a wet weekend!

    Louise - We'll see you on the ferry then! We're also crossing on Monday evening. Are you planning to spend the night at Ault na Goire? Our plan then is to be in Braemar on the Saturday night and Ballater on the Sunday night before heading via a brace of Cock Hills and Clachnaben to the coast at Stonehaven, where we'll arrive on the Wednesday.

    Laura - Which day are you in Ballater? Might we see you there? (And no idea what language the captcha is speaking these days, but it's not one that I understand either!)

    Alan - Ordinarily I wouldn't expect to be troubled by midges on the Challenge - but they were out early on the west coast last year after such a dry spring, and I fear that the mild winter may mean that the (always-attractive) midge headnet will make an appearance this year. Sunshine and midges will definitely be better than rain and midges, so keep those good-weather fingers crossed (even better, let's have sunny and a bit breezy to keep the midges at bay!).

  6. I certainly am heading for Ault-na-goire. Braemar Saturday and either Braemar rest day or on to Ballater for a rest day Monday. Then a similar route until I head south east from the second Cock Hill to Charr, finishing just north of Inverbervie. At least we'll have met up somewhere!

  7. How the hell did you get it that cheap! Did you have Mick watching the net 24/7.