|Glen Coe – last time I visited Scotland was in 2005!|
For a number of years, I’ve always fancied taking part in the TGO Challenge – a backpacking event beginning on the west coast of Scotland and finishing on the east coast. However, I could never afford the time off to take part.
Furthermore, I always took the attitude of why do it as part of an event when I could easily make such a trek any time I wish. But after meeting the likes of Martin (Summit and Valley), James (Backpackingbongos) and Mike (Northernpies) and hearing their stories of previous challenges, it only served to whet my appetite in taking part.
What with with the flexibility of my time with work now, I figured “What the hell!” and put my name into the hat. Admittedly, I did ponder how I’m going to make up for the loss of income (I’ll worry about that later) – but the social side of it all really appeals to me.
Of course, backpacking through Scotland is a big draw too! I’ve not visited this fantastic corner of the British Isles for over 5 years now. Work, money, time and distance has always put to bed any hopes and plans for me heading north of the border. And to top that off, I’ve never truly backpacked anywhere in the Highlands either. A couple of walks and so on – but that’s it.
Well, next May will be a real baptism of fire for me as I’ve been confirmed a place on next years TGO Challenge.
And to top that off (don’t laugh!), I’ll be Rab’s diplomatic ambassador for the event too (they sponsor the challenge). Bolt out of the blue that was. I put my application in and now find myself on one of the places saved for sponsors and so on. My relationship with Rab is mutually exclusive by the way – so there’s no ‘favouritism’ involved in case any one wonders. I’ve been truly humbled by it all in truth – though no doubt some folk out there will slate me for it.
I’ve got conversations going concerning me filming my crossing and all it entails. Think of it as a documentary with some video diary stuff thrown into the mix, showing the camaraderie, the landscapes – with my usual creative stamp on it. But I’m not too keen to be participating in the TGO Challenge as a ‘busman’s holiday’ in truth – but I really like the idea at the same time. My only gripe is time, distance and weight of lugging my video gear around.
I’m sure I could work something out of course – but we’ll see what happens on that front. It’s all up in the air at the moment.
I noticed in the list of participants that came in the post today a number of familiar names too. Be it fellow bloggers and folk I talk to on Twitter. Will be great to meet up with everyone at some point.
Anyway, I’m really looking forward to this and May can’t come quick enough!
For now, I’m off to pack my rucksack and head out to work in the Peak District for a few days….