The Great Outdoors Challenge for 2015 takes place between May 08th and May 22nd. Around 300 backpackers will be hiking from Scotland’s west coast to east coast, through some of the most stunning and testing landscape in Europe. It’s a test of back country skills, navigation and stamina – but Challengers also share wonderful camaraderie and friendship.
The trip from the start at Lochailort on the West Coast of Scotland to Stonehaven on the East coast of Scotland is about 320 km (210 km point-to-point).
This year it is organised by Sue Oxley and Ali Ogden along with a small army of vetters and many others who work behind the scenes. Without them there will be no event. Thanks. .
The sponsors for this event are: The TGO Magazine, Hanwag – a German maker of alpine and trekking footwear and Fjällräven – a Swedish maker of outdoor equipment.
The final Details give good advice on missing bridges, blocked forest exits, and the devastation of the countryside by wind farms and logging companies. This enables us to make a safe crossing. It also includes a short list of landowners that do not like backpackers, but a much longer list of B&B’s, camp sites and private residences that will go out of their way to welcome us. Even if we are wet and full of mud! This is the reason I am going for my third crossing.
On my first TGO Challenge crossing in 2012, I was out of water on a very hot day. I knocked on a farmers door, was invited in and had tea and cake with the family.
This year the ages range from a 22-year-old to a very experienced couple from the USA whose ages add up to 168 years!
Entries are from all parts of the UK as well as Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, USA and Barbados.
Of the 300 backpackers, 87 are crossing for their first time and 147 are walking solo. Nine backpackers are on the tenth, two on their twentieth crossing. Bill Robertson, at 82-years-old, will be making his 32nd crossing.
If you pass a tent with a Barbados flag flying stop for a drink.
Good luck to all and see you at the Park Hotel in Montrose.
For details on my May 2015 crossing click here.