I love backpacking
The TGO Challenge is an event that never entered my mind to do until May 2008, when I was in the Dalwhinnie Hotel.
I knew about it but didn't think ordinary backpackers could enter.
In the hotel, I got talking to some fit and eager people who were breezing across on the 2008 TGO. They intrigued me with tails of derring do on the Challenge.
When I queried how to enter, I was surprised to learn that it wasn't some event only open to a select few - anyone can enter.
That was also a great year to be doing the TGOC - as the weather was superb.
I had done a fair few long distance walks including: the Ridgeway - my most exhausting trip to date (all the wrong gear); The Coast to Coast (x 3); the Pennine Way (x2) and LEJOG which wrapped up the North side of the SWCP and various links up to JOG including most of the Pennine Way - again!
All my backpacking was by myself.
Of course, as you do I did get talking to people - and, I am a reasonably sociable person.
So I applied to enter the 2009 TGOC.
I entered, as always, as a solo walker. But, of course, the great aspect of the TGO is the social element - either walking along with others for a while, or, having a pint and a chat with folk at one of the bottlenecks, or, saying hello to folk camped in the middle of nowhere.
I love the TGO Challenge
So I did the 2009 TGO Challenge and applied to enter the 2010 event.
I was 113 on the standby list in 2010.
But, I had to get up to Knoydart, backpacking, in May 2010 - and coincidently met the snake of 2010 TGO people wending their way from Inverie to Sourlies - and the East coast. Some I knew and had a chat with.
So I applied for the 2011 and 2012 and 2013 TGO's. - despite the really good weather and complete lack of anything to tax me, or, fellow Challenge folk - especially in the last two years.
So, I guess I like the way the TGO gets you across Nirvana and gets you to meet new people, old people - as in people I know - and gives you a fantastic unpredictable experience.
What's Over the Hill?
In the same way that I didn't know much about the TGO in 2008, I knew of the Over the Hill Club but didn't know who was in it ,or, how it operated.
So, as I walked from Garve Bridge to Newtonmore, via Laggan last May, I had the pleasure of chatting to John Hutchinson aka Big John. He explained the way the Club operated and suggested I may want to come along to a meeting to see if I'd like it. And, coincidently, Big John was the person who my e-mail would reach when I followed up on our chat.
This was in May.
For various reasons I could not make a couple of meetings that John advised me of. However, I did get to the AGM held over this last weekend in Dufton.
The Club was founded off the back of the Ultimate Challenge - as then was.
The Patron of the Club is Hamish Brown and without his creation of the, now, TGO Challenge, the Over the Hill Club would not exist.
Further information on the Over the Hill Club can be found by Googling in - Over The Hill Club.
I found myself on a superb weekend - where I knew a number of people from the Challenge.
I also met a lot of others who together had a world of experience in the Mountains - not just in Scotland, but all over the World. The company was great and the weekend gave me a really good feel for how the club operated, the people in it, and the many activites that take place throughout the year.
I joined the walk organised for Saturday:
A new Club Member
I joined the Over The Hill Club.
If you, like me, enjoy meeting folk on the TGO, but, would like to meet up with them and do interesting trips at other times - then the Over The Hill Club may be of interest.
I'm not a typical club person, but, the Over The Hill Club is just the sort of club that I know I will enjoy - as I do the TGO Challenge.