TGO: Using the Challenge Noticeboard

Perhaps the most annoying thing about loosing a year’s worth of posts a month or so ago was the feeling that I wouldn’t be able to re-create the TGO preparation posts that I wrote last year. They were written as a first-timer and, in that sense, were probably quite useful to other first timers (at least that was the intention).

However, I eed not have worried. As I go through the same routine again this year there is a tremendous sense of deja-vu; it all keeps coming back.

For example, I remember writing about the online TGO Challenge Notice Board and blow me down the same experiences are happening this year.

The Notice Board is one of the best resources open to first timer and inexperienced Challengers. The board can be used to ask about routes, find accommodation, work out timings and to find out about appropriate kit. The trouble is that it sometimes doesn’t seem too friendly – just don’t worry about it.

First off, the Challenge Board seems to have its own rather bizarre sense of humour. You’ll see people there with names such as ‘Mr.Grumpy’, G.W. Bush and Condie Rice. Quite frankly after a year of living with these I still don’t understand what some of the posts are about. Also, there are the usual angry people you get on internet discussion groups, who from time to time think you have broken the spirit of the board and they can be very aggressive. Expect to get flamed from time to time (why do internet people do this do you wonder?).

However, don’t let this intimidate you. Don’t worry about asking a basic question or being seen to be a bit dumb! People will always take the time to answer your requests and will always provide you with lots of information. In the main these replies will come via, email and not the notice board. I’m constantly amazed at how generous people can be with both their time and their advice.

Last week I inadvertently upset one of the crust old hands – can’t see why. A flame war ensued. What was nice was that a lot of other users emailed me to apologise for others (for whom they had no responsibility) and to tell me not to worry about things. This kind of thing rarely upsets me – but it is nice to receive the support of other Challengers.

I mention this simply because you don’t see these comments on the forum.

So, if you have a query ask. Someone will almost certainly take the time to help you.


  1. “Don’t let the buggers get you down”

    I bet these grumpy old men are the ones with the deadweight packs – perhaps thats why they are so irritable !

  2. Actually, I’ve got cause to thank the most grumpy of them. If you’ve read the trail diary you’ll have read about my stay in Kingussie – where I was the only resident in the hotel. It was a fantastic place. They’d been urged to put a notice on the TGO Board by one of their regular bar drinkers who’d done the Challenge a number of times. I believe it is the same gentleman!

  3. Peter Goddard says:

    Hi Andy,
    You are certainly correct about how useful the board can be and not only for first timers; I have found that I get a lot of new information from it every year. However it is not there to plan a complete route for any Challenger old or new. Much of the pleasure and spirit of the Challenge is in the planning and the expectation none of which you would get if all you did was to follow someone else’s plan. When any Challenger asks for information I will help if I can, preferably direct to their e-mail address, but if someone asks for a complete route I am afraid they deserve all the adverse comment they get on the board. A FAQ page would be useful but all these things take time and many Challengers already give huge amounts of their own, unpaid, time behind the scenes. Many experienced Challengers appear short tempered and miserable (according to some) but if you ask a reasonable question you will be treated with respect and given as much help as you can handle.

  4. Thanks for that Grumps. It is the case that requests for help often receive extremely valuable replies by private email.

    Don’t be afraid to ask folks!

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