Virtual Challenge Route: Reflections

So,the virtual event is over — for me at last. SO, what did I think of the experience.

This was really a meditation on the event (ora long ramble depending on how you see things). This was in the main a prose event in which I wanted to write about both experiences and feelings. A more accessible — photographic — experience is available on the TGO Challenge Facebook pages, featuring some great comments and memories:

But how do I reflect on my route?

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Day 13: Towards the End

And so, to the end.This is the last day, the walk into Stonehaven, but we will preserve the spirit of off road walking until the very last minute.

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Day 12: Into The Fetteresso

From Feughside it is on to the Fetteresso.

The Fetteresso has something of a frightening reputation amongst some people. This is commercially worked forest and on the map the tracks can look bewildering. In reality, things are much more straightforward and the tracks need to be wide enough to carry large trucks and so they are more or less constant. Anyone wanting to explore this for the first time will find some decent guidance available through the TGO Online Forum.

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Day 11: Ballater to Feughside

Despite all kinds of good intentions, and a myriad of alternative plans, I always seem to spend Day 11 walking the long walk to Feughside. But first there is breakfast to be had at the lovely little café near the village green, almost certainly the best breakfast this side of the A9. The sun is usually shining and a small bunch of Challengers gather, clearly now wee into the chill-out zone.

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Day 10 Ballater

We’re now coming out of the hills and its time to change gear and to chill out a bit. And there is probably nob place better to do this in than Ballater. a small and perfectly formed village that sits beside the River Dee. Depending on the route taken on over the couple of preceding days I’d be here mid morning or maybe later in the afternoon. But either way I’d be very glad to see this little village once again.

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Day 9: Towards Ballater

So, events, events. They always seem to conspire to get me into Braemar on Saturday. But not this time. No, this time I will be more resolute and we’ll be on our way around to Ballater. But why, do you ask, do you keep going to Braemar? Well, in all honestly the challenge is now coming to an end and already the big mountains are being left behind. Now is the time to contemplate gentler terrain and to connect with the TGO Challenge as a social event..

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Day 8: From Glenmore?

So, to Day 8. I’ve ended up in Glenmore but there are still choices of make about the route. And, to be honest, this is the part of journey where things get flaky. It’s not just he virtual Challenge that is flaky but so often on the ground things go to pot as well!

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Day 7: Aviemore and Beyond …

So, we’re at the Red Bothy. There’s nothing else for it but to stroll into Aviemore and take breakfast  at the Mountain Cafe; well it would be rude to ignore it. The stroll into Aviemore should be straightforward but in Scotland you can never rely on it!

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Day 6: Over to the Dulnain

This morning is not a bad Challenge morning. The skies area bit overcast but I is still early. Thankfully it is dry. As we ended up in Glen Mazeran I think we will start from there. Day 6 is a day that has always been good to me on the Challenge. There have been many good days, many of them to the South of the Monadliath but who I think about whee I might be on the virtual Challenge, it will have to be here, crossing the valleys of the Findhorn and the Dulnain.

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Day 5: The Monadliath Beckons ….

It’s a cold and crisp morning this morning but the suns in the sky. It is a perfect morning in which to explore the Monadliath Mountains on Day 5.

Now, there are , of course, other options for a Day 5. I might have chosen to take the pass up from Fort Augustus and then dropped down the other side or from the summit simply hopped on the ridge. I might have taken the new path up to Chalybeate Spring and then walked along the border ridge. I have fond memories of Loch Ossian and Ben Alder though these are, arguably, better explored on a shorter trip where you can make the train to Corrour and return on the line that goes through Dalwinnie. My perfect Challenge day is a walk from Ault na Goire. But which walk?

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