I have now successfully resurrected our actual TGO route from the SPOT web service. This was a lesson in taking a dependency on assumed API behavior rather than documented semantics. To cut a long story short the SPOT web service only provides access to the last 7 days of tracking information. However logging into your account page (https://login.findmespot.com) will gives the ability to download all data for the past 30 days. I’ve jiggered up the tracking page to show the actual route we took.
We’ll do it again another year and pick a route with less road walking The time with spent with my family was priceless – we got to spent a few days prior and a long weekend at the end of our trip. One thing that worked amazingly well (perhaps luck) was all the planned travel came through without a hitch – planes, trains and automobiles not a single problem. I wish all my trips worked out that way.
For those who followed our blog as we hiked, thank you for all your comments. It was very encouraging for us was we pushed our way across.
Last night Lynn and I ate dinner in the hotel bar. We were lamenting the fact that we were missing the TGO party at the NWB campsite. Within minutes a group of Challengers walked in the door and joined us for a hilarious dinner. Present were Andy, Richard, Alistsair, Gordon, Jim and Bill. We had a very good laugh sharing stories from our crossing.
Today marks the end of our coast to coast adventure (at least the walking part). We left the hotel in Edzell after the full Scottish culinary experience with a nice early 7:55am start. Brett will be happy to know the bacon butties were fantastic! The nasty weather of yesteday had cleared and we were greeted with blue skies and sun!
A few of our American readers have been confused by some of the terms used in our posts. Here’s our effort to add enlightenment.
Bothy: usually some form of stone shelter made ‘safe’ structurally by volunteers. Usually has a dirt floor and roof. Some have old stone fireplaces. A few have plywood sleeping shelves, table, and ancient chairs salvaged from dump. All are near water sources so you can heat water for tea without venturing too far. Most bothys have no toilet but come with a spade for digging a nice hole.
Butty: slang for sandwich. Ex: bacon butty; grilled bacon on bread.
Challenger: wet, cold, insane hiker taking part in coast to coast walk. Often confused for homeless person wandering in remote Scottish towns.
Nip or ‘wee dram’: shot of Scottish whiskey.
Did we miss any? Let us know…
We left Braemar around 9am after a lovely breakfast of porridge with ‘the full Scottish’ cooked breakfast. To Lynn’s delight this B&B (Calleter Lodge) served real (even by Seattle standards) coffee. We left the B&B fully caffeinated and took a path up and over the Lions Face. It was named this because of a limestone rock face that is supposed to resemble… a lion’s face. I think I might have been able to see it too with the help of LSD.
Short day yesterday with a nice 5km amble from Mar Lodge into the small village of Braemar. First stop was the pharmacy for blister relief then the gear shop for Lynn’s road walking shoes (TNF Hedgehog XCR) and finally the Hungry Highlander chippy for lunch. My fish was so large we called it Moby Dick!
Today we leave Braemar and head back into the hills. We’ll wild camp tonight and then camp in a local village tomorrow at St Drognas Lodge (the bacon butties there are supposedly champion). From there were pretty much out if the mountains and amble on to Edzell for lunch and then stay at Northwater Bridge Campsite. From there it’s an easy 15km to the coast.
I was told that getting to Braemar would feel somewhat like the challenge was ending and there’s truth to that. With one more day of real hills left we’re now in the hone stretch.
I’m writing this from the warmth and comfort of Mars Lodge, a historic shooting lodge near Braemar. The estate is 770,000 acres of amazing terrain. It’s owned by the Scottish National Trust and is open all year around for accomodation, hunting and fishing. The lodge ballroom is bizaire with 2500 deer antlers mounted on the ceiling (apologies for the blurry photo).
We left Kingussie two days ago and passed by the beautiful Ruthven Barracks. They were built in 1715 by the English to quel the Jacobite uprisings. After the battle if Culloden the Scots captured then burned them down. The site is still very well preserved.
I’m writing this from the plush comfort of a real bed in Kingussie. The past few days gave been long and hard but have been worth the reward. The scenery is stunning and keeps changing. We’ve been through at least three distinct climates so far with more on the way.
As Brett noticed there are lots if sheep around right now. We’re in the middle of lambing season and the little lambs are super cute. There must me more sheep than people right now.
My favorite day so far was the hike from Ft Augustus over the Carriairick pass. Very windy with great views over Loch Ness.
Today we head into the Caingorns for two nights of wild camping and will arrive in Breamar for a big TGO gathering on Saturday. Mileage for the next three days is much easier at ~15km per day
We’ll likely be out of cellphone range until Saturday so just follow the blueline and keep thinking goo thought to keep this great weather going…
Thanks for the encouraging comments from folks following our trip. It really helps reading then at the end of a hard slog. Brett suggested getting a hip flask for a ‘wee dram’. You’ll be pleased to read we sorted this out before leaving Dornie – there were many nips taken in the hills!
Glad the SPOT is tracking well; the display on our ‘easy showily’ packed in so it’ll be the only way we get to see our actual route.
The weather for the last three days has been outstanding. Blue skies and sun; so much so that our arms and neck are pretty red – will be covering up. Our hands have a nice white lines across them from the straps on our hiking poles.
[lost the first draft so this is a short redo]
Day 1: Dornie to Falls of Glomach
Gales force winds, sleet (1inch bombs), gushing rivers that were challenging to cross, amazing climb (bit dodgy) to Falls of Glomach. Tent camp on first night was exciting when our main guyline let loose at 2an during a wind and hail storm. Oh and let’s not forget the malfunctioning ‘flying jetting’ propane tank!
Day 2: Falls of Glomach to Athnamulloch
Special note to Craig and Julie: in the book "Lamb" by Chris Moore when Jesus was stump jumping was an exact depiction of our first experience crossing the "Scottish Bog". Very hard going today- it was a super-saturated wet trail. Lots of excitement crossing the stepping stones at the head of the loch. Camped by an open barn with four other challengers – great fun.
Day 3: Anathnamulloch to Cougie Lodge
Easy hike compared with last two days but slogging it through lots of heather marsh on hillside. Dry boots are a mere memory. Lynn loves cougie lodge. Wonderful hospitality and lots of animals. Lynn wants to spend the next TGO here on a working vacation there while Nigel and Brett ‘hill walk’