What on earth is the TGO Challenge?
What, indeed, and on earth, is the TGO Challenge?
We posted on our Insta feed recently that Simon and I had applied to get on TGO Challenge in 2019.
But WTF is it?!
Well, I guess we’d better tell you. The Great Outdoors Challenge (TGOC) is an organised backpacking event which has been running every year for the past 39 years. Each year, between 350 and 400 ‘challengers’ make their way on foot, and unassisted, from the west coast of Scotland to the east, via the Highlands. Imagine that!
Isn't that a bit of a crowd?
The great thing is, you get to choose your own route, your start point, and your end point. We know – it’s amazing! It’s not a race, there’s no running allowed, and sadly, you can’t take your dog. (Boo!).
Where do you sleep?
You can choose to wild camp (Yay!) or use designated camp sites. You can stay in hostels, B&B’s, hotels, stay with friends who live on the route, but you can’t use any sort of powered transport. Well, you can take a boat across the Great Glen – that’s permitted. But you can’t get a cab for the last few miles because your legs ache. That just wouldn't be in the spirit of the challenge. Most people mix it up, wild camping most of the way and adding the odd campsite, hostel or B&B every now and again to get stuff washed and dried. And to de-stink, of course.
So. How far is it from west to east?
About 200 miles, give or take. Because you get to choose your route, the distance varies from less than two hundred miles to anywhere up to 300 (for the hardcore mile crunchers among you).
Who is responsible for this madness?
The challenge is run by Kelsey Media, who publish The Great Outdoors (TGO) magazine. They release the applications in September each year to coincide with the October issue of the mag. If you haven’t read the mag before, we recommend it. It’s usually filled with great trip reports, tips and ideas, and gear reviews which take the guesswork out of buying gear which can obviously be really expensive.
Assuming you have successfully completed the challenge, you receive a certificate, embroidered badge, and the right to sit at the table among challenge legends, those who have completed ten, twenty, even thirty or more crossings, at the challenge dinner.
Get amongst it!
In a nutshell, that’s it. So go on... what are you waiting for? Log on to www.tgochallenge.co.uk and apply. We guarantee that you will find it an incredibly tough, exhilarating, life-changing and in some cases, social, experience.
Want to see how it's done?
Follow our progress as we await the result of the selection process, plan our route, check, assess and choose our gear.
We’ll also share how we plan to get to our start point, and return from the ultimate finish point at the Park Hotel in Montrose. We’ll tell you where we are staying, how much it’s costing, and once we’re back we’ll post an account of how we got on, with info about the places we’ve stayed, and the people we have met along the way.
Stay up to date on everything FYA by following our social media channels @FindYourAdv (on Insta/Twitter/Facebook and... well, basically all of them!
If you want to read Carl's account from his 2012 you can read it from start to finish here at https://locomountaineer.blogspot.co.uk
Hit us up with a question if you have one, or tell us about your times on the trail and check out Carl's YouTube video on why you should give it a whirl - right here...
Carl & Simon.