The Great Outdoor Challenge 2023: Mallaig to Portlethen

My TGOC (The Great Outdoor Challenge) 2023 started in Mallaig and ended 14 days later in Portlethen. It was approximately 300Km with a climb of +6,000 meters. A low level and easy route. I plotted an easy route as the memories of the aborted crossing of TGOC 2018 were fresh when I made it.

This year the “planets lined up” to give me a very enjoyable time. I enjoy each TGOC crossing but some days I ask myself “what the hell am I doing here”. Like when I am having a wet day, stuck in a bog not sure if to go back or push on. Or when I break concentration for a second and fall. But those events are quickly forgotten.

I left Barbados feeling better prepared mentally and physically than some previous TGOC years. The weather played its part. Naturally some days were wet with low cloud but others were “Caribbean Blue Sky” and hot. I arrived at the North Sea feeling like I could do another few days.

Below are photographs from my TGOC 2023 crossing from Mallaig to Portlethen. Mouse over the image to read the caption or click on any image to expand and view all the photos and captions in the media viewer.

Getting there / Day 1 (11/12th May 2022)

Day 2 (13th May 2023)

Day 3 (14th May 2023)

Day 4 (15th May 2023)

Day 5 & 6 (16/17th May 2023)

Day 7 – Rest day (18th May 2023)

Day 8 (19th May 2023)

Day 9 (20th May 2023)

Day 10 (21st May 2023)

Day 11 (22nd May 2023)

Day 12 (23rd May 2023)

Day 13 (24th May 2023)

Day 14 (25th May 2023)

There you have it, my sixth Scottish coast-to-coast TGOC completion.

Homeward bound…

TGOC 2023 dun – homeward bound and the BajanThings crew catchup with a walk in Windsor Park and lunch at a local hostelry before my flight back to Barbados…

Coast-to-coast walks….

I’m a great fan of coast-to-coast walks. My favourite is The Great Outdoor Challenge (TGOC) coast-to-coast walks from the West coast of Scotland to the East coast of Scotland which is about 320 km (210 km point-to-point).

TGO 2015: Lochailort to Stonehaven
My TGOC 2015
Lochailort on the West Coast of Scotland to Stonehaven on the East coast of Scotland.

I now have six completions of the Scottish TGOC coast-to-coast crossing (TGOC 2012, TGOC 2013, TGOC 2015, TGOC 2016, TGOC 2019 and TGOC 2023) and one retirement due to injury (TGOC 2018). In 2017 I did a section of the Cape Wrath Trail.  Covid-19 caused the cancellation of TGOC 2020 and the postponement of TGOC 2021 so in 2021 I did the Northern English coast-to-coast Alfred Wainwright walk.

Responses to “The Great Outdoor Challenge 2023: Mallaig to Portlethen”

  1. An excellent review of your crossing.

    It was good to catch up with you by Ben Alder Lodge – just a shame I couldn’t keep up with you!

    It was another brilliant Challenge – and what wonderful weather, I can’t wait for TGOC2024, my route is almost ready!

    For those with nowt better to do, have a read of my TGOC2023:

    Part 1: Oban to Dalwhinnie

    Part 2: Dalwhinnie to Lochcallater

    Part 3: Lochcallater to the end

    With luck we’ll both be back next year.

    Best wishes,


    1. Hi John
      I am glad someone else found that the walk along Loch Erchit was not flat and very long. Finding the approved crossing of the train line took some time.
      It was a welcome bright day after 2 days of rain. Hope to meet you again in 2024

  2. Garth

    Great achievement William. Way to go. Thanks for the pictures.

  3. Lotte Starck

    Stunning achievements, William – with reference to your TGOC – targets and underlining your newly enjoyed TGOC 2023 ‘walk’.
    It seems as if you’ve been fit for this hiking and walking in most of your lifetime. Turning out as a fine ‘role-model’ for a rare combination and mix of genuine nature with good health.
    PS! Having hiked Jungfrau to Kleine Scheidegg, I bought a train ticket to get down again. And with crossings of Kilimanjaro it was by Landrover. Embarrassed – though nice tours :-)

  4. Louise

    Looks like a great crossing William, well done!

    1. William

      Thanks Louise. It was a very good year. Now to think about TGOC2024…. if my name comes out of the hat.

  5. John Knox

    Lovely photos. Glad you enjoyed yourself.

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