Farewell Lovely Scotland

It has been a few weeks since we have returned from Scotland and I continue to daydream about the trek, the people, and the dramatic scenery.

After we finished at the North Sea on the east coast of Scotland, we hiked south to Dunnottar Castle then by bus to the Challenge Control at the Park Hotel in Montrose.


Challengers must check in at Control Headquarters to complete the crossing. This is where the TGO organizers track the progress of the walkers across Scotland. We were greeted heartedly and were very excited to receive our t-shirt, Buff, certificate, and even hot coffee, tea, and treats.


I was also really excited to meet Gayle and Mick of the blog,  M&G Go for a Walk. I met Gayle on the Internet before the Challenge. She provided us with tips and guidebook pages. Here is a pic of Gayle and I.


It was fun to see so many packs piled up in a fancy hotel. It reminded me of Trail Crest, where hikers leave their packs on the way to summit Mount Whitney.


In the evening the Challenge is celebrated with a dinner, speeches, and presentations. It was touching, rambunctious, and very entertaining. Challengers were recognized by the number of TGO crossings completed and countries represented. Humphrey Weightman even introduced Dan and I as “the gurus of cool”. How fun is that?



After the dinner we were whisked away by the most amazing host family ever, the Smiths. We spent the next few days being wined and dined, doing touristy things, and more importantly golfing.


Many of you expressed your love of golf and after all Scotland is the home of this very popular game. Here we are standing on the very famous Swilcan Bridge that spans the 1st and 18th holes at St. Andrews Old Course.




Thank you Smiths for generously opening your home, your lives, and Scotland. We hope you will come and visit us soon!

Post TGO Thoughts:

Thank you to all the TGO organizers, volunteers, and the many walkers that helped make our crossing a success. I highly recommend this experience. We met so many fine and helpful people that we hope to stay in contact with.

And heck, who gets to say they have created a route and hiked across a country? I cannot  count the amount of times Dan and I have looked at each other and exclaimed, “We hiked across an entire country!”



All our gear and clothing systems worked perfectly. I wouldn’t change anything. Some of our favorites:



We loved our system of combining paper maps with technology. This is what we used:

-Route Buddy software on my mac to plan and create gpx. files of our route to upload to iPhone.
-Viewranger gps iPhone app to view our route, location, and to navigate. We also used the BuddyBeacon feature to share our location on a  map.

– We carried the beautiful and accurate Ordinance  Survey maps. We also carried Harvey British Mountain Maps in the Highland and Cairngorm mountains. Before the trip, Dan cut the maps down to size we needed along with the surrounding area and ticked off mileage marks.



All of our Scotland photos are up on Flickr. They’re a beaut. Enjoy.



  1. Nice to read your tales and great photos of your cross Scotland hike. I am Scottish but have spent much time in the US on the PCT, CDT and last year the Hayduke with my wife Martina. It was interesting to read of your perspective of our country and I am glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Hi Rockin
    I was also on the TGOC this year and we were both at Tarfside on the same evening. I didn’t get the chance to speak to you (I’m very shy!!!), but I did at least make it into your last photo of that day in your trip report. It was really enjoyable reading the feelings about the event of someone like you who hadn’t been to Scotland before. Anyway, I was very interested in the fact you used a Z Packs Duplex. I’m trying to lighten my gear and was thinking about it, not least because it looks very spacious I’m very tall and want to be able to backpack with my dog. Have you experienced using it in strong winds and rain? If so how did it do – especially with the wind? I’m UK based and we do get a lot of wind and rain here 🙁

  3. Hi. I’m think I’m planning a trip to Scotland with my wife in August. Do you have any recommendations on guidebooks, routes and other information?

  4. Hi Rockin! It’s been such fun to follow your journey. Thanks for all the wonderful stories and tips!

  5. It was great to meet you both 🙂

    Pleased to see that you made it onto the Old Course – and with lovely weather too.

  6. Yes, I definitely see you as the gurus of cool. 🙂 Thanks for the coupon for the backpack. I’ve been thinking of getting another one and will check this out. Next stop: to view your photos.

  7. Amazing post Rockin’. Great stories, photos, and of course gear reviews!

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