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We enjoyed the Challenge again this year. It started on 8 May and our planned route is shown below. We blogged as we went along, and links to the blog have been inserted below. Links and photos will be added when we return. Click here to see the index.

Below these route details and our brief summaries is a kit summary with a few comments. Some links to related sites have been or will be added later - you can delve deeper by using the links in those sites. Alan Sloman, Gayle and Mick and Darren Christie also blogged their way across this year.

Planned Route and Estimated Statistics
(M) = Munro
(C) = Corbett
(G) = Graham


Day 1 - Friday 8 May
1 Inverie – via the boat from Mallaig
2 Torcuileainn
3 Point at 275 metres at NG 847 016
4 Mam Barrisdale
5 Luinne Bheinn (M)
6 Wild camp at head of Allt a Choire Odhair at NG 871 001 (approx 680 metres)

13 km
1100 metres ascent
6.5 hours

(1 Munro)

Day 1 Route

13.3 km
1107 metres ascent
5.9 hours
incl 1 hour stops
(1 Munro)

Links to blog:
Nearly ready
1st Prologue

2nd Prologue
Day 1
A smooth journey to Mallaig was followed by an easy walk in showery weather up a good path to Mam Barrisdale. It was windy there. The ascent of Luinne Bheinn was straightforward, but the descent to our camping spot needed care. We camped on the col, rather than descend a little way to a sheltered lochan, and enjoyed a good night's sleep.

On the ascent to Mam Barrisdale
Bill Childs, Brian Aspinall and Sue on the good path to Mam Barrisdale, with Luinne Bheinn in cloud above Sue's head

Day 2 - Saturday 9 May
1 Wild camp
Summit at 839 metres
4 Summit at 942 metres
5 Meall Buidhe (M)
Summit at 942 metres
6 Mam Meadail
7 Carnoch
8 Sourlies
9 Sgurr na Ciche (M)
10 Feadan na Ciche col
11 Wild camp at high lochan at NM 906 963 (approx 900 metres)

14 km
1700 metres ascent
8.0 hours
(2 Munros)

Route - Day 2

13.6 km
500 metres ascent
7.4 hours
incl 1.7 hours stops


Links to blog:
Day 2
We adopted our FWA (Foul Weather Alternative) today for the first time ever, due to cloud and slippery snow on the Knoydart ridges that we had planned to traverse, together with a snowline of 550 metres and a planned camp at 900 metres.
Our descent to the River Carnach needed care, and the rest of our low level day with occasional showers was slowed by boggy paths, river crossings, and a lack of urgency due to the shortened route.

Crossing the bridge at Carnoch
Martin crosses the welcome bridge, constructed in 1980, at Carnoch

Day 3 - Sunday 10 May
1 Wild camp
2 Garbh Chioch Mhor (M)
Col at 736 metres
4 Sgurr nan Coireachan (M)
Path by Allt Coire nan Uth
6 Glendessary
7 Strathan

Col at 436 metres
10 By Gualann nan Osna

11 Gulvain south summit
Gulvain north summit (M)

Col at 540 metres
14 Wild camp by Allt a' Choire Screamhaich at NN 021 886 (approx 480 metres)

22 km
1800 metres ascent
10.7 hours

(3 Munros)

Day 3 route

19.8 km
1495 metres ascent
10.6 hours
incl 1.9 hours stops
(1 Munro)

Links to blog:
Day 3
This was a tough day in good weather. First continuing along Knoydart's boggy paths, mainly now in Glendessarry. Then over an intermediate ridge with fine views, to a final steep ascent of Gulvain and a fabulous wild camp on a balcony at 620 metres, with fine views towards Ben Nevis.

Lunchtime view
Sue enjoys her lunch near Leac na Carnaich, with a fine view towards Streap and Sgurr Thuilm

Day 4 - Monday 11 May
1 Wild camp
2 Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean (G)
3 LRT in Glenmallie
4 Bridge
6 Track junction

Torness - Gairlochy Holiday Park - camp site at NN 188 836 (60 metres)

23 km
530 metres ascent
8.6 hours

(1 Graham)

Day 4 route

23.2 km
481 metres ascent
7.7 hours
incl 1.7 hours stops
(1 Graham)

Links to blog:
Day 4
A lovely stroll over a fine, broad ridge, with the waters of Loch Arkaig mirror still below us. A long lunch beside the loch was followed by an easy stroll in shorts and t-shirts to Gairlochy, and a pleasant afternoon with Carole Sinclair.

Sue looks out over Loch Arkaig
Sue admires the reflections in Loch Arkaig

Day 5 - Tuesday 12 May
1 Gairlochy Holiday Park
2 Spean Bridge
3 Bridge
4 Achluachrach
Burnside Cottage
6 Path junction
7 Turn to ascend
8 Beinn Teallach (M)
Wild camp near Cairn at Tom Mor - NN 371 867 (approx 600 metres)

29 km
1200 metres ascent
12.0 hours
(1 Munro)

Day 5 route

29.6 km
1166 metres ascent
10.4 hours
incl 2.3 hours stops
(1 Munro)

Links to blog:
Day 5
Spean Bridge's Little Chef provided a truly 'Olympic Breakfast' to help us speed off, initially with Carole Sinclair, on good paths to the south of the River Spean. A short road section then led to pleasant woodland where we enjoyed lunch before ambling up the gentle slopes of Beinn Teallach. A heathery camping spot in the lee of a freshening easterly wind had a very 'wilderness' feel to it.

Ben Nevis from below the Commando Memorial
Aonach Mor and Ben Nevis from our path to Spean Bridge, below the Commando Memorial

Day 6 - Wednesday 13 May
1 Wild camp
2 North top of Beinn a' Chaorainn
Beinn a' Chaorainn (M)
4 South top of Beinn a' Chaorainn
3 Beinn a' Chaorainn
2 North top of Beinn a' Chaorainn
Bealach a' Bharnish
6 Creag Meagaidh (M)

7 The Window
Stob Poite Coire Ardair (M)
9 Summit at 991 metres
10 Meall an t-Snain
11 Carn Liath (M)
Summit at 903 metres
13 Wild camp at stream junction by Allt Crunachdain - NN 510 909 (approx 450 metres)

21 km
1300 metres ascent
9.6 hours

(4 Munros)

Day 6 route

21.9 km
1289 metres ascent
8.6 hours
incl 1.3 hours stops
(4 Munros)

Links to blog:
Day 6
A beautiful day with clear skies and crystalline views. But it was tough, due to a cold easterly wind from which there was very little respite.
A really fine mountain excursion, with another remote wild camp.

Panorama from Beinn a' Chaorainn
Sue admires the view, with Ben Nevis to the right, from the north summit of Beinn a' Chaorainn

Day 7 - Thursday 14 May
1 Wild camp
Kinloch Laggan
Forest edge
5 Meall nan Eagan (G)
Path by ridge
A889 road
Dalwhinnie Inn (with a proper bed at 360 metres!)

21 km
600 metres ascent
8.3 hours

(1 Graham)

Day 7 route

22.2 km
748 metres ascent
7.5 hours
incl 1.5 hours stops
(1 Graham)

Links to blog:
Day 7
Loch Laggan was reached easily and afforded excellent reflective views. The path to Dalwhinnie was hard work and hard to navigate, with the very rough minor summit of Meall nan Eagan, in a still brisk easterly, proving quite demanding.
It was good to join Denis Pidgeon and others at the Dalwhinnie Inn for a jolly afternoon and evening.

Reflections on Loch Laggan
Loch Laggan - mirror smooth in the morning sunshine

Day 8 - Friday 15 May
1 Dalwhinnie Inn
2 Leave the A9
3 Carn na Caim (M)
4 A' Bhuidheanach
5 A' Bhuidheanac
h Bheag (M)
6 Glas Mheall Mòr

Edendon Water

8 Path junction
9 Another path junction
10 Wild camp by Lochan a' Ghaorra - NN 758 835 (approx 450 metres)

27 km
1000 metres ascent
11.1 hours

(2 Munros)

Day 8 route

27.8 km
1040 metres ascent
8.5 hours
incl 0.5 hour stops
(2 Munros)

Links to blog:
Day 8
On a cloudy day, with the persistent cool easterly on top, we spent several hours high up in the treeless Dalnacardoch Forest. Good paths led us easily over the two planned Munro summits, from which we descended roughly down to Edendon Water, and a path north past a derelict lodge to Gaick. Just as we were looking for a camping spot before the rain started, we met four jolly Challengers - Heather, John, Peter and Barbara. They continued into the face of the easterly and its moist accompaniment whilst we stopped in a sheltered spot before we got wet.

The road from Dalwhinnie
Setting off from Dalwhinnie, in fair weather, with Carn na Caim's summit to the left

Day 9 - Saturday 16 May
1 Wild camp by Lochan a' Ghaorra
Path junction
3 Feith Ghorm Ailleag
Path junction
Beinn Gharbh
6 Beinn Dearg (M)
Northern summit of Beinn Dearg
8 Elrig 'ic an Toisich
Wild camp near col - NN 874 779
(approx 740 metres)

20 km
1000 metres ascent
8.5 hours
(1 Munro)


Day 9 route

19.5 km
970 metres ascent
8.3 hours
incl 1.2 hours stops
(1 Munro)

Links to blog:
Day 9
A very rough crossing over a high watershed to Glen Bruar, where we had a fruitful encounter with Peter and Barbara. Whilst they continued to Blair Atholl, we headed up Beinn Dearg in damp weather (the camera was stashed away nearly all day), but amazingly we got a view from the top. We descended to another high watershed - 720 metres - for yet another excellent wilderness camp.

At the head of Glen Bruar
Mountain scenery at the head of Glen Bruar

Day 10 - Sunday 17 May
1 Wild camp at 740 metres
Carn a' Chiaraidh
3 Beinn Mheadhonach (C)
4 Aonach na Cloiche Moire
Carn a' Chlamain (M)
6 South of Allt na Maraig
Path junction by Forest Lodge
8 Past bridge
9 Past Falls of Tarf
Fealar Lodge
11 Wild camp at Allt a' Ghlinne Bhig
- NO 020 790 (approx 600 metres)

23 km
1100 metres ascent
10.0 hours

(1 Munro, 1 Corbett)

Day 10 route

23.0 km
1093 metres ascent
9.6 hours
incl 1.3 hours stops
(1 Munro, 1 Corbett)

Links to blog:
Day 10
After waking in cloud, we enjoyed clearing weather as we ascended today's Corbett and Munro. A beautiful winding path led down into Glen Tilt, and a fine sheltered lunch spot. Then we enjoyed the beautiful glen in wonderful weather, up to the Falls of Tarf. Another lovely path led over to the pink buildings of Fealar Lodge, a remote working farm. From there we headed over high moorland to our final wild camp of the trip, a lovely flat grassy area reached via a river crossing. We were alone at all of our 8 wild campsites of the trip, and saw nobody else whilst at any of these remote spots.

Glen Tilt
Glen Tilt, from our lunch spot

Day 11 - Monday 18 May
1 Wild camp
2 Col at 780 metres
Carn an Righ (M)
2 Col at 780 metres
4 End of ridge
5 Glas Tulaichean (M)
Glenlochsie Lodge
Dalmunzie House
8 Spittal of Glenshee Hotel (340 metres - start of 'the TGOC for softies')

18 km
840 metres ascent
7.7 hours
(2 Munros)

Day 11 route

20.6 km
853 metres ascent
7.0 hours
incl 1.1 hours stops
(2 Munros)

Links to blog:
Day 11
For only the second day of the trip, the camera was stashed for most of the day due to persistent rain. But the cloud base remained high and we got a view from our first Munro, Carn an Righ. The rain was cold. We overshot the ridge up Glas Tulaichean by over 500 metres due to low cloud and a failure to concentrate, our only real navigation blip of the whole trip. The route was easily retrieved, and we easily reached the summit of our final (13th) Munro of the trip, Glas Tulaichean, although it was our first with no view. After our lunch was doused by a shower we were pleased to reach the Spittal of Glenshee, where we enjoyed the company of Peter and Barbara during an evening in the hotel.

Glenshee from the slopes of Glas Tulaichean
Glen Shee from the slopes of Glas Tulaichean

Day 12 - Tuesday 19 May
1 Spittal of Glenshee
2 Westerton of Runavey
3 Dalhenzean
Leave the A93
5 B951 road
6 Mount Blair (G)
7 Nether Craig
8 Brewlands Bridge
Path junction
10 Glenisla Hotel (250 metres)

22 km
700 metres ascent
8.9 hours
(1 Graham)

Day 12 route

20.8 km
659 metres ascent
7.4 hours
incl 1.3 hour stops
(1 Graham)

Links to blog:
Final Summit
Day 12
The well-signposted Cateran Trail made the morning's walk very pastoral and straightforward, as we tried to get used to lower climes. The showers were supposed to diminish, but after another doused lunch we headed up our final hill, Mount Blair, in steady rain. But there was a view from the summit, and we found our way to our comfortable hotel at Kirkton of Glenisla via quiet lanes and a very boggy sting in the tail through farmland.

Glen Shee
A morning view towards yesterday's route, from the Spittal of Glenshee

Day 13 - Wednesday 20 May
1 Glenisla Hotel
2 Path junction
3 B951 road
4 Dykend

5 Road junction
6 Gairlaw
7 Kirkton of Kingoldrum
8 By Loch of Kinnordy

9 Kirriemuir
10 Path junction
11 Lochside Caravan Park (campsite in Forfar at 60 metres)

33 km
460 metres ascent
12.0 hours

Day 13 route

34.6 km
528 metres ascent
8.9 hours
incl 1.3 hours stops


Links to blog:
Day 13
Today we found quiet green lanes, with only a little tarmac, for the gentle stroll to Forfar, via the picturesque town of Kirriemuir, with its statue of Peter Pan (JM Barrie was born here). The sounds and sights of the lowland were a delight after previous days of high level moors and mountains (not to denigrate the latter, of course!).

Back to the Fleshpots - Kirriemuir

Day 14 - Thursday 21 May
1 Campsite in Forfar
2 Welton
3 Burnside
4 Road junction

5 Hillside
6 Cotton of Guthrie
7 A933 road
8 Kinnell

9 Nicholl's Loch
10 Braehead of Lunan
11 Usan
12 Scurdie Ness (Finish)
5 km road walk to Montrose Camp Site

Plan (including Appendix - AKA 'Sting in Tail')
42 km
440 metres ascent
14.8 hours

Day 14 route

43.1 km
471 metres ascent
9.9 hours
incl 1.6 hours stops


Links to blog:
Day 14
An early start saw us getting miles under our belts until we tried a green lanes that was frustratingly blocked. After that we resigned ourselves to mainly tarmac, though we enjoyed a break from that by Nicholl's Loch for our final alfresco lunch.
We took a more direct route to Scurdie Ness than planned and luckily reached the lighthouse at the same time (2.30pm) as Andrew and Eileen Partington, from Bodmin. These were the first Challengers we had seen since the Spittal of Glenshee.
Later, after walking to the Park Hotel, we saw many more.
Party Time!

Coastal view
The long straight lane towards Scurdie Ness is on the right, with the Montrose Basin and the sea beyond heralding the end of our stroll

2009 Plan
Total Distance 328 km (205 miles)
Total Ascent 13770 metres
136.7 hours including stops

17 Munros
1 Corbett
3 Grahams

NB Timings are based on 3 kph, plus an hour for each 500 metres of ascent. This is realistic in the mountains but very conservative on the approach to Montrose.

Actual 2009 (S + M) 2008 (S + M) 2007 (M solo)
Total Distance in km (miles) 333 (208) 323 (202) 343 (214)
Ascent in metres 12,400 12,544 12,942
Hours taken including stops 118 112 113
Munros 13 16 2
Corbetts 1 3 8
Grahams 3 1 2
Marilyns not included above 0 0 1

The overall weight of around 14kg (about 31lb) is about 1kg heavier than last year, but 2kg of extra weight relates to food and water, which have been included at the maximum we will carry. So as last year we should only rarely go over 30lb in old money.

TGOC Kit List 2009
Tent - Hilleberg Nallo 2 Pegs, poles, cord, spares 530 Tent and fly 1570 Excellent
Rucksac GoLite Quest 1365 Jaguar GR65L KS60ht 1800
Rucksac liner Exped 65 litre 180 Exped 65 litre 180
Plastic bags/day sac Stuff sac/bags 140 Waterproof 75
Sleeping bag Rab Quantum 400 915 Rab Quantum 400 915 We were never cold
Liner Lifeventure 135 Silk 175
Sleeping mat Multimat 160 Thermarest - Prolite 620
Sitmat 0 Purple 25
Waterproof top Rab Super Dru 410 RAB Drillium (new) 370 We were dry
Waterproof trousers M E Paclite 300 Berghaus Paclite 205 Sue's need replacing
Fleece jacket Rab TGO special (2009) 235 Haglofs 470
Neckerchief White 30 White 30
Balaclava Dartmouth 45 Lowe Alpine cap 80
Headband 0   0
Walking poles Leki Makalu 545 Makalu Ultralight 440
Socks Sealskinz light 85 Bridgedale + Sealskinz 185 Sealskinz worked when the boots seeped
Trainers Crocs 290 Holey Soles 250 Perfect for rivers and casual
Socks for trainers Liners 30 Liners
Briefs Rohan X-stinctive 50 Rohan X-stinctive x 2 65
      Bra 50
T-shirt North Face polartec 155 North Face 200
Extra warmth Blue silk top  80 Icebreaker 190
Down jacket 0 ME Lightline 470
Trousers See below 0 Patagonia leggings 150
Spare handkerchief One 15  
Bag for clothes Tesco 10
Torch Black Diamond 30 Black Diamond 30
Gloves Regatta 105 Thin 40 The late purchase of Sealskinz proved invaluable. All these gloves got good use
Second gloves Sealskinz 170 Mountain Designs 70
Third gloves     Trekmates Paclite
Stove MSR Superfly 155
Impeccable, as ever
Gas cylinders One 375 One
Pan + cosy Snowpeak titanium set 290
2 pans plus lid and cosy
Windshield Aluminium 50
Mug Red 70 Blue 60
Plate Green 70 Green 70
Cutlery Folding spork 15 Folding spork 15
  Wooden spoon 20
Swiss knife/can opener Sharp knife 20 Swiss 100
J-cloth, scourer, basic provisions t-bags, salt, pepper, etc 250 J-cloth for tent and self 15
2 days food each Food for 2 days 2150 Food for 2 days 2200 This is the maximum we will carry
Dried milk (M) 150 0
Water bottle Laken 160 Sigg 135
Water Nearly full bottle 850 Nearly full bottle 850
Second water bottle Nalgene 110 Nalgene 150
Third water bottle Blue folding 55 0  
Aquagear Filtration Bottle 140 0  
Camera and case Canon Powershot G10 530   0
Binoculars 0 Praktica 8x21
Spare batteries for torch and camera 1 x camera, 2 x GPS 100   0
Tripod Small
Maps Toughprint - Anquet 205 Back up 105
Docs and wallet Lifeventure 250 Small 100
Notebook 60
Book to read   0 Ipod
Toilet roll and matches 130 50
Spectacles Incl case 75 0
Sunglasses Julbo 60 Bloc 90
Compass Recta 50 Silva 35
GPS Garmin Vista 200 0
Whistle On rucksack 0 Pink 10
First aid kit Incl bag 240 Sundry items 100
Suntan cream and lipsalve Sundry 55 Sundry 50
Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss Included below Included below 0
Shampoo, razor, comb, nail clips etc Complete wash kit 245 Wash kit 160
Towel Lifeventure hand towel 75 Lifeventure hand towel 75
Plasters, Aspirin, Diacalm, savlon, etc In 1st aid kit 0 0
Nail clippers In toilet bag 0 0
Other toiletries In toilet bag 0
Soap for washing self + clothes Dry wash/soap - incl elsewhere 0
  Soap flakes 115
Matches, needle, thread, tape Included elsewhere 0
Passport, licence, currency, etc  )
Wallet )See above 0 See above
Tickets, insurance, paperwork )
Addresses for postcards/this list )
Keys Car 25
Vaseline In bag 0 0 A useful item
Mobile Phone + case + charger Blackberry 8320 280 Nokia 1100 145
Boot cleaner 0
Trowel Plastic, + handwash + bag 165
Tent spares, midge rep/net, talc etc 150 See above 0
TOTAL 14060 13950
T-shirt Rohan  100 Rohan 90
Socks X-socks 60 Bridgedale 95
Briefs Rohan X-stinctive 50 Rohan X-stinctive + bra 85
Shorts/trousers Rohan Conv Goas 350 Rohan Conv Goas 285
Sunhat Tilley 145 Tilley 90
Handkerchief One 15 One 20
Watch/clock Suunto Altimax 55 Casio 30
Gaiters Trekmates 270 Mountain Hardware 370
Boots Asolo Fugitive 1420 Hanwag Lady 1440 Dry through much bog, but they eventually seeped


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