A “Challenging” Thought

06 Nov

A couple of days ago I had a dig at the geocachers…again. 

“Unfair!” you cry.  “Pick on someone your own size!”

So, being a caring organisation that is prepared to take into account the views of its readers, The Fatdog Broadcasting Corporation has taken the not so difficult decision…to have a go at the Outdoor Bloggers instead .

The OB’s are buzzing just now with one topic in particular – next years TGO Challenge.  The event, organised/promoted by the walking magazine TGO, appears to be organised so that walkers from south of the border can be invited to participate in their own cross country walk across Scotland in the merry month of May.  

May!  The midges are only just beginning to flap about ineffectually in May.  Call that a challenge!  Why not tackle it in July or August then we’ll see how hard you are 😯 . 

I digress. 

Oddly enough I’ve never noticed anything about the TGO Challenge on the Scottish hillwalking forums so maybe it’s less frequented by us Picts.  I’ve no doubt some of my distinguished fellow bloggers will keep me right on that point…or tell me I read the wrong forums.

The excitement exuded by the OB’s is equal to that of nervous weans waiting for their exam results to pop through the letterbox. 

“Will I get a big envelope?” A thought which appears to bring big happy smiles to their eager little faces.

“Or, will it be a little envelope?”  Sounds of uncontrollable sobbing can be heard in anticipation of this unspeakable possibility.

Well, the results are now in and the weans are posting up faster than a bunch of 13 year old girls on the subjects of clothes and boys.  It’s time for congratulations and consolations.

There was one comment that caught my eye.  An unfortunate soul had been given a D- and as a result had been told that they were not being allowed to go on the school trip.  Fair play though, the miserable creature recovered well and through the sobs pointed out that there were lots of other trips that could be done instead.  The others crowded round patting shoulders consolingly.

My forehead thumped rhythmically off the desk in front of me.

Am I being totally dense here?  So you can’t be registered but what difference does that make?  I’m sure you’re still allowed to walk across Scotland with your mates when you want, or is nobody else allowed to walk across the country in May other than TGO participants? 

Hmm (scratches head and studies the resulting un-housed parasites), I’ve never thought about it but maybe it’s against the “rools” to walk with someone who is registered.  Worse still, maybe you’re not even allowed to talk to someone who is registered?  In order to maintain the purity of the event has Mr.McN resorted to snatch squads stationed across the country ready to descend in dead of night and silently remove unregistered rejects? 


I’m baffled.

All in all I think I’ll leave them to it.  For those of you with the big envelopes have fun and for those unfortunate enough to have small envelopes well…be little devils…sneak along for the walk.


Posted by on November 6, 2009 in General Drivel


11 responses to “A “Challenging” Thought

  1. Anonymous

    November 6, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I`ve never ever understood the urge to participate in this event either.I think they should all get their certificates or whatever but have staggered times throughout a four month period in which to complete it.Only so many “allowed” to go each week.

    I remember my first encounter with them in the Cairngorms.I had a lovely pitch to myself in Glen Callater and within the space of a few hours I was surrounded by tents and lightweight gear freaks.God knows what they thought of my oiled cotton waterproof weighed a ton 🙂

    Don`t get me started on the 3 Peaks buffoons and the Caledonian Challenge tossers and Water Aid this and Erosion Across Scotland that….too late…I`ve started 🙂

  2. Alex

    November 6, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Eh…that was me Ken.

  3. fatdogwalks

    November 6, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Well…that got us started with a bang 😯 !

    I’m sure Scott will come along in a while and rant about the Jessiehikers as well 😆 !

    So…I think we can assume that you got a little letter then Alex 😉 ?

    I don’t know where I stand on the event as a whole i.e. is it a good thing, a bad thing etc. Lots of people seem to have fun doing it but I take the point that most wild campers don’t want to see an army of, by now, the great unwashed descend upon them at any time.

    Being a self confessed 4Star+ accommodation freak myself I tend to view the whole sleeping outside bit as a masochistic perversion. I mean…room service? Most definitely essential.

    However I have thought of a “Challenge” myself! (ain’t I just a clever clogs)

    Alex, according to Bob you’re possibly the world’s most addicted bagger…so I have an idea. Come May we head out 2 days only – with the cameras – and bag us a few TGOers. May the best bagger win! 😀 Verification may be a problem ’cause I don’t trust me not to cheat.

  4. BG!

    November 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    You’d have thought that it would be a real challenge to do something different, rather than the same old same old. I can just imagine the headscratching in TGOCHQ…

    “Hmm, what devious task should we set for the next chally?”
    “I know, let’s get them to walk across Scotland from the West Coast to the East.”
    “How about sometime during May?”
    “Great idea! We’ve not done that for ages!”

    To help the planners to avoid cranial meltdown in trying to figure out how add a little variation, I’ve drafted a cheat-sheet of radical terms.

    Let’s start with the easiest concept first:
    East-to-West – it’s just like West-to-East, but in reverse.

    Now for some more involved stuff:
    North-to-South – It’s just like West-to-East, but sideways.
    South-to-North – It’s just like West-to-East, but sideways the other way.
    (Handy tip: Normal compasses have the strange symbols “N” and “S” somewhere on the bezel. TGOC compasses generally don’t have these markings, as they’re regarded as superfluous extra weight.)

    Now for a few foreign terms that could be of use:
    Wales, Ireland, Europe, The Rest Of The World, January, February, March, April, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.


    FWIW, not all OBs are Challengers. For some (such as me), the only envelope that they can expect is the car-tax reminder.


  5. fatdogwalks

    November 6, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Oh Dear 😦 Another one who got the little letter!

    Hi Stef 😀 – good to see you around.

    There does seem to be a wee bit of an air of predictability about it, but I suspect that’s why many keep on doing it. Meeting up with old friends in familiar places etc. Nothing wrong with that, but judging by the comments I saw I can’t help but wonder if new people are being kept out because of an unofficial old boys network…I don’t mean that in a nasty way merely suggesting that there may be a practice of favouring those who have done it regularly.

    I wonder how the allocation of places is made? First come first served? Familiar faces? Strange pie-shaped brown envelopes? Maybe Mike will drop in and put me firmly in my place 😆

    I decided to tar all OB’s with the same brush – saved a lot of time and was bound to generate more comments 😀 !

    PS – BTW what does FWIW mean Stef – I’m crap with these abbreviations.

    PPS – You missed out the diagonals in your concepts…just thought I’d point that out. 😉

  6. Fenlander

    November 6, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    FWIW (for what it’s worth) Ken, I have to concur with your observations.
    There are those among the OBers who have failed to ‘make the cut’ is the expression I think, who seem ready to voluntarily depart this world (or worse, stay here and moan and groan about it). Why? If you must cross Scotland in May then DO SO is my comment. WTF stops you?
    In days gone by I remember the Lyke Wake Walk being treated in a similar fashion. If one volunteered for a team and were not selected then you were???? (don’t know – I never volunteered for a team. I completed the Lyke Wake Walk 12 times and once the double – but I walked solo – never faced de-selection that way!)
    By the way Ken I’M BACK – flames and all.

  7. fatdogwalks

    November 6, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Veritably piling on the “Flames” Robin 😉 ! My wee blog will soon be recognised as a hideaway for OB subversives.

    On a more serious side it’s been a bit one sided so far – I was kinda hoping some of the others would drop in to talk about the up side of the “Challenge”. There are real enthusiasts out there and I’m interested to find out why it’s such a big event for them and why failure to be accepted for registration should deter people from doing their own thing with or without those who have been accepted.

  8. scott

    November 6, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    I suppose if you’re the type of person who needs to “apply” to walk across Scotland, then you’re the type that’s no’ going to do it unless your application is successful.

    I’m more intrigued by the rule that says you can’t have more than four in a group. The pressure would really be on if you were in a group of four, trying to stay ahead of a group of two not far behind you.

    Incidentally I could do it, easy, but you’re not allowed to take dugs, so it’d hardly be a challenge if I didny need to keep Jorja under control.

  9. fatdogwalks

    November 6, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Visions of a group of “Challengers” trying to outrun the group behind for fear of being caught is beginning to sound like a Monty Python sketch 😆

    I noticed the dug rule myself and instantly stopped reading. I would have instantly stopped reading if they did allow dugs because the biggest “Challenge” would then have been carrying The Fatdogs food supply 😯 !

    Mind you she could have just have picked off a few of the stragglers…

  10. BG!

    November 7, 2009 at 1:26 am

    So, Ken, during your TGOer-bagging challenge are you (and the Fatdog) aiming to tag on to any “groups of four” in order to test the vigilance of the organisers and the honesty of the crossers? After all, it’s a free country where you can walk wherever you want.

    Seriously though, does the “no dugs” rule apply to guide-dugs and hearing-dugs for the deaf, or are the keepers of such beasts ineligible for the event?

  11. fatdogwalks

    November 7, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Oddly enough when we were on Beinn Chochuill a few months back I realised we were looking down into one of the glens on someone’s route last year (I think it was Darrens)and thought it would be a bit of a wheez to tag along, on the ridges above, then let The Fatdog loose on a rucksack raiding party when they stopped for lunch 😯 .

    I did seriously think about intercepting on some of the routes just to drop in and say hello to some of the guys but it’s trying to get the days and the weather to tie up…not to mention the timing. To be honest it’s fairly easy to “bump into” people as there ain’t too many paths to choose from – so as long as they miss out the forests it’s fairly do-able.

    Might give it a go next year.

    (There…that should ensure a lot of plans stay top secret 😉 )

    Don’t know about the guide-dugs, mainly because I haven’t thought about it too hard. Looks like Scott’s been over the rules with a fine toothcomb (occupational hazard I assume) so he might know.


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