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, 21 May 2019

TGO Challenge Day 12 - North Water Bridge to Montrose

Tuesday 21 May (0615-0835)
Distance: around 8 miles*
Weather: rainy start, dry finish

The kit failures continue. After a night of rain, we woke up with the floor of our tent masquerading as a paddling pool this morning. Poor Vera Voyager has had a long and hard life and as well as her seams not being as well taped as they once were, it seems her floor may have become porous too. We've been happy with our gear for many years and have no interest in buying new stuff for the sake of it. The downside is that everything is getting old and has been very well used, so we're suffering a glut of things reaching the end of their lives.

Looking on the bright side, at least we've had a dry crossing. Had we had the weather of, say, 2009 (rain for 9 days of our 13 day crossing), the leakiness of the tent would have been a problem. As it goes, we slept well last night and didn't notice the ingress until we came to pack away.

It was raining as we packed and as we set out (requiring waterproof overtrousers for only the second time of the trip) but with hints in the distance that it would stop. It did, eventually, but with barely a breath of wind, the fairer sky took a long time to reach us.

In view of the weather, my good intentions of taking a slightly indirect route, using some of the Core Path network, to Montrose were abandoned and I opted for the shorter and faster option of the road.

Meanwhile, Mick nearly opted for a different finish point. Before I left him in my wake, just after crossing the A90 dual carriageway (his poorly ankle couldn't take the pace and I had a train to catch), he was contemplating going to St Cyrus, but after talking through the pros and cons, he trailed me to Montrose.

Ahead of me was Byron, who I caught up at Hillside, walking into Montrose with him until the point where he turned towards the coast and I went via a shop for a few supplies for the rest of the day.

Before 9am, both Mick and I were sitting in Challenge Control at the Park Hotel, with Mick now officially a Leg End Legend for having completed 10 TGO Challenges. It was an excellent, fun crossing for his tenth too, only marred in the latter stages by Mick's poorly ankle (this isn't the Achiles issue, although that is also still paining him. He twisted his other ankle a few days back. I'm sure it'll soon be fine now he can stop using it).

For today he is loitering in the Park Hotel, where I stayed only long enough for a cup of tea and a shower. As I type this, I'm on a train to retrieve Bertie-the-Motorhome from his storage location. Having arrived in Montrose earlier than planned, it will be handy to have our own accommodation for the rest of the week.

(*During those 8ish miles I managed to cover, according to the road signs, 3 miles in 20 minutes. Three road signs in the space of a mile reported the distance to Montrose as 9, 7 and 6 miles. My measurement concurred only with the last sign (which came only a few hundred yards after the 7 mile marker). The 9 mile one was so far out that I wonder how it has never been challenged and changed.)


  1. Hpw did the Thermarest repair go? When I finished my LEJOG I had twenty minutes at John 'o Groats before boarding the bus and spent it buying a Scottish polo shirt, like you, so as not to be offensive to fellow passengers. I did the same in Fishguard when I finished my Wales Circular buying a bright red T shirt with Welsh Dragons displayed.

  2. I can't believe I forgot to mention the Thermarest! The repair held. In fact, it was as good as new, in that it also eradicated the slow leak (confirming that the leak was the first symptom of the valve coming adrift).

    All completing Challengers get given a t-shirt when they 'sign out' at Challenge Control, so everyone has something clean to wear for the dinner and/or to travel home. This year it's a Berghaus technical T, rather than the usual cotton job. And, we've been given some Berghaus socks this year too, solving another stinky-kit issue.

    I'm still happy to have done the laundry, though; my trousers were not fit to be worn in polite company!

  3. Congratulations to you both on another finish. I didn't realise when I made the above comment.

    1. Thank you. Having finished this year's walk separately (unnecessary as it turned out as Mick walked faster than he thought he could) hopefully at some point over the next couple of days we'll make it down to the beach together for our official finish photo. Two individual beach selfies is not quite the same. I just need to get Mick away from his Tea Boy duties in Challenge Control...

  4. Well done with the thermarest .. I might have a look at the valve on my one just in case that is where the slow leak is ..
    And well done with the TGO challenge .. though you've probably forgotten all about it by now!

  5. So Mick has done 10 TGOs, how many have you done, Gayle? Are you almost a leg end?

    1. This was my sixth. When I stopped at 5 (in 2014), I said that I would join Mick for his tenth. I have no intention of becoming a Leg End myself, although I wouldn't go as far as to say that I won't Challenge again.