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.
For some years now I have been utilising my down gear as a ‘sleep system’. UK manufacturers PHD have now produced their own complete system. This is not cheap but install might appeal to new TGO challengers who have yet to compete their kit (and who have a decent credit card limit).
This is another subject I’ve covered in the past and which is worth looking at again. There’s nothing particularly revolutionary here but just some very simple things that can always be overlooked in these days of GPS navigation!
By now most first time TGO Challengers will have created their route and probably had it vetted and approved. You will probably also be well on your way to acquiring any kit that you think you need.
I’ve decided to continue this series after a couple of discussions with first timers, really about the things that sit at the back of your mind and worry you — especially is this is your first long multi day hike and wild camp.
So, let’s think about how we get through the day. As always, the rest of the team — feel free to add in your words of wisdom.
Every year I post my TGO route once I’ve finalised it. So, here is the route for 2017. This is always helpful for, firstly, those who are interested in bumping into me and,s secondly, those who want to avoid me!
I intend to look at the slightly controversial subject of footwear separately — trail shoes v. boots and so on. However, this post dwells on foot care which is very important on a long distance trek.
One of the biggest challengers facing first-time challengers, South of the border, is actually getting North! Factor this into your planning now!
When considering you kit requirements for the Challenge have a good think about layers, even if you are using the Paramo system.
Being outside in the elements for days on end can be a very different experience than a normal walking holiday, even when the weather is dreadful. Relentless wind and rain can grind you down and really dampen the spirits. In these circumstances even and little additional insulation or protection can make a big difference.
If you are reading this you have probably been successful in your application for net year’s TGO Challenge. Congratulations. No doubt — like me years ago — you’ve brewed up a cup of tea and are now thinking — how the hell do I start?
I’ll start with the weather! In the Scotland you need protection so it seems proper to start by looking at shell clothing — waterproof jackets and trousers. You have to be prepared for anything on the TGO. You may be lucky and have a sunny and mainly dry crossing. I’ve certainly experienced some great weather crossings but usually the really decent weather is reserved for the last few days. But on these days the weather can be dreadful. On some years the weather never seems to let up and you can certainly find yourselves walking for two or three days through driving wind and rain. So, protection is important!