The TGO Song

As I’ve posted before,  I shall sadly not be on this year’s event. However, here is my little contribution — The TGO Song.

This is a marching song with a good chorus — perfected by Challengers as we marched through the Fetteresso Forest on our way to ice cream and the coast.  The song namecheck some of our finest comrades!

When I return next year I shall expect to hear it sung with gusto!

The TGO Song  — mp3

Some clever sod asked me whether there is a B side.  There is.

Here is a ballad based on Iain Thompson’s book — Isolation Shepherd — an account of his life as a shepherd on the shores of Loch Monar —a famous TGO landmark.

The Monar Shepherd  — mp3

Of course, you don’t have to be a TGO Challenger to sing the song.  You never know, it might inspire you to tackle the event yourself!

Pyrenees/Continent — Finding Alcohol For Stoves

I’ve had a couple of queries recently about finding alcohol when you are in the mountains or on the continent. French and Spanish outdoor stores rarely carry clonal for stoves. One of my readers emailed in a slight panic yesterday from a Spanish trailhead town from where he was about to start walking.

Stove alcohol will not be found in outdoors shops. You will find it in hardware stores. Most French and Spanish towns still have stores that sell all manner of hardware products. In my experience the alcohol is of a high quality and burns well, but you will have to buy it in litre containers — containers that look like this:

In France ask for alcohol de bruyer. (The direct translation is Esprits Méthodiques but I’ve never seen it described as this).

In Spain ask for alcohol de quemar

IMG 20170410 120933


You should never have any trouble finding this. It is very cheap, 2 Euros for 1 litre at the moment I am told!

TGO Challenge Abort!

Sadly, Kate and I have both had to pull out of this year’s TGO Challenge! Kate’s mother died a few weeks ago and we are having to spend more time with her father. And just at the same time my mother’s health has taken a terminal nosedive! 

We will be back next year. Meanwhile, I suppose I should finish last year’s journal.

So, it’s back to snatched days on the hills whenever I can over the next few months. I’ll try and make these sound interesting!

For those of you preparing for the off — just make sure you have a great time!

Review (to come) TentMeals

A lot of you will know that I am a great believer in dehydrating my own meals. This is mainly because my past experience of commercial dried foods was not good. However, I’m aware that things have moved on a lot over recent years.

I’ve been recently been sent some samples for review, from TentMeals. I shan’t be using these as Challenge Freebies or anything like that but I will be testing and reviewing them.

It has always been the additives that have done me in the past. This company promise ‘high energy and healthy’ food.

You can see their stuff here:

It all looks promising. I’ll be considering whether the portion size is adequate  as well as taste and quality!  The reviews might not come all at once but will start this week.

The Big Hospice Hike: Saturday 17th June

Those of you who like supporting good cases might be interested in the Big Hospice Hike , to support the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow.


Grab your boots and get ready for our new challenge – the Big Hospice Hike. Not for the faint hearted, our 22-mile walk includes a climb up Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most southerly Munro.

Starting at Balmaha on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, the Big Hospice Hike will take you along a section of the West Highland Way to the village of Rowardennan, the starting point for the main path up Ben Lomond. You will begin your ascent up the mountain, which boasts spectacular views of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Once reaching the summit at 974m, you’ll descend and complete your challenge by walking back to the finish line at Balmaha.

About 1100 patients are cared for by the hospice each year and we are providing support for about 400 patients and family members at any one time. Our new challenge promises not only to be a rewarding experience for you but for our patients and families who will benefit from the funds raised. Teams, made up of friends, family or work colleagues, will all be walking … Why don’t you join them???

Your choices are:

1. Start at Balmaha and walk via the West Highland to Rowardennan where you’ll start your ascent of Scotland’s most southerly Munro – Ben Lomond. Once you’ve descended you’ll walk back to Balmaha where your challenge will conclude (22 miles). £30 registration fee applies. Minimum sponsorship £200.

2. If the 22-mile hike isn’t for you but you’re still keen to ‘bag a Munro’ and take in the fantastic views of the length of Loch Lomond, you can sign up for the climb-only challenge, starting and ending in Rowardennan (7.5 miles). £20 registration fee applies. Minimum sponsorship £150.

Further Details here.

Winning The Battle Against Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain

Chatting my friend Tony yesterday the subject of conversation turned to feet _ he’d been reading my recent TGO piece. He asked how my heel pain (Plantar Fasciitis) was at the moment. Well, the good news is that this is has not really been a problem for twelve months now. A lot of experimenting and following tips given by readers here seems to have made a big difference. Tony suggested writing about it.

So, here we go. These are some of the things that I’ve done which seem to help!

Edited 31 Jan 17

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A Day in Arctic Cold Warmed by Liberal Values













I’ve written a lot about my love of the changing seasons here in the UK. Mind you I could just as much talk about changing days rather than seasons. Yesterday I was back on the same hill as I was about a week ago. Then the weather was mild and benign. Yesterday’s walk was a day slog through freezing fog all set against a cutting, icy, wind

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The Sprit of John Muir v. The Donald

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Although this is a hiking and trekking blog  the political world does make its appearance from time time. Today though is a first — the first time that Trump has appeared in these pages.

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Calling Routebuddy Users

Paging anyone who uses Routebuddy on a desktop machine — Windows or Mac OSX.

I am currently producing some video tutorials on using Routebuddy and am keen to test them with some beta test volunteers.

If you would like to help, please send an email just indicating whether you are a Windows or OSX user. Emails to:

TGO Preparation 2017: Looking After Your Feet

For the latest instalment in my TGO Challenge guide for first timers, I am going to have a look at caring for your feet. Looking after your feet is pretty important — so don’t skimp here.

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