Yaaaaaay…happy news! The route we created and submitted crossing Scotland from the west coast to the east coast for The Great Outdoors Challenge was vetted and APPROVED. This is largely due to the amazing help from the Challenge Forum of experienced TGO Challengers: Humphrey, Colin, Section Hiker, Vicky, and Gayleybird. Colin Tock, our vetter graciously sent us meticulous notes with camping, town, and route suggestions. Thank you everyone for your encouragement and very helpful suggestions.
Rockin’ and Dan’s TGO Route Stats:
- 13 days
- 218 miles or 351 kilometers
- elevation gain – 43,566 feet or 13,279 meters
- Start point – Shiel Bridge – May 10
- Finish point – Stonehaven – May 22
- Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet) – 12
- COUNTLESS water crossings
The Challenge requires a detailed plan with daily kilometers traveled, meters ascent, overnight camps, GPS coordinates, and Foul Weather Alternate routes. The Foul Weather Alternates are routes to take for safety in case of storms (Scotland is known for them) and dangerous water crossings. This winter Scotland is currently experiencing record snow. From the notes from our vetter, Colin Tock:
“At the time of this writing Scotland is experiencing some of the heaviest snowfalls in living memory with greater accumulations at the main ski centres than most of the European resorts, Whistler and even Sochi. By May snow is usually – but not always – restricted to the higher tops, although snow melt can obviously add to river difficulties.”
This was by far the biggest project I have taken on. At first, I was more than frustrated, but after finding a few tools it was fun. After experimenting with mapping software, websites and apps, I ended up using Routebuddy mapping software to create our route and Viewranger iPhone GPS app. The process required hours of analyzing maps, reading books, and plotting routes on software.
Gotta say I printed a ton of maps and taped them together. At one time the floor of my office was completely covered in a taped together maps offering possible routes. This visual made a great reference and helped to make important decisions.
It was the moment that I first looked at a topographical map of the area we would be crossing in Scotland that I knew this was a different kind of undertaking.
The map language was Gaelic, which may well have been in Swedish.
Place Name charts were very helpful, but don’t even ask me to pronounce even one name. That learning curve is for another day.
Check…Route has been vetted…
Check..Transportation arrangements are reserved
Check…New rain gear bought (gear list upcoming)
To do…Still tons
Always be able to look back and say “At least I didn’t lead no humdrum life. ”