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.
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:
- Gossamer Gear Mariposa and Gorilla backpacks
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.