Monday, 9 June 2014

TGO Challenge 2014 Day 5: Coffee, Cake and Elsan

Tuesday 13 May 2014 21km walked, 347 metres climbed. Sunny with a few light showers that were not worth mentioning. So why did I?

Day 5 Route: Yes that was a lot of road

Garva Bridge, early one morning, just as the sun was rising. The pyramid thingie belongs to Mr and Mrs Frederick of la belle France

It was a cold night.  I woke early as is my want. No it’s not as is my bl**dy want.  It’s as it happens to be.  I’d like a lie in actually.  Fat chance.  I can’t remember the last time I slept beyond 5.00am.  It was certainly several years ago.  Anyway, having taken Mr Blizzard Stake for a walk across to a discreet spot, I climbed back into my sleeping bag and brewed up.  The sun emerged over a hill to the east and that delicious feeling of warmth as its rays hit the tent enveloped me.  It’s something you pretty much only experience whilst camping.  I brewed up again and made up my placky bag full of porridge, added a squirt of condensed milk and had a quick suck on the tube of Primula to get my morning fix.  What more could a man ask for?  Well there are one or two things but you get my drift.  I was enjoying this.

Brewing up in the tent again

Today was to be all road, and one of only two on the Challenge when I walked all by my own.  I was up and off by 8.15am, passing Sybren and Ronald a few kilometres further on as they were wandering around, slowly packing their gear in the sun by their tents, looking as cool as cool can be when it is in the sunshine.

I walked on to Laggan.  I was very impressed with the single cubicle public loo there.  I do not want to encourage any bad habits amongst Challengers but I reckon you could do worse than to bed down in that building.  You can lock yourself in, there is a light, a super mural on the wall done by the local school, a hot air hand drier to warm the place up if it gets nippy, and, of course, en suite facilities. 

A welcome sight.....

.....and an even more welcome sight


The sun was so strong at this point that my whole body atomised and all that was left of me was my silhouette, etched into the road

Then it was on to Catlodge via a café that sold cake, and the MacPherson Memorial which has views that would stop you wanting to emigrate to America.

The Clan MacPherson Memorial: cracking view

All that remained was to head down the hill to the Caravan Club Site at Invernahavon, which takes tents. On arrival, I spotted the sign that said “shop”, what with me being good at reading short words.  I thought that with a bit of luck it might do cans of beer or lager.  Of course, having found an open café earlier in the day I had completely exhausted my supply of good fortune.  It sold precisely two items. Eco friendly toilet paper (which Johnboy Sanderson, who is an expert on toilet paper, told me later in the week was a con), and Elsan toilet fluid.  I did think for one brief moment that it might taste better than the sorts of beer you can buy in Cockneyland like Fullers or Courage, but in the end decided I would have to go without.  So I put my tent up, lounged in the sun and washed my mug and spoon after dinner in the proper washing up area with hot water which all felt pretty dammed luxurious, I can tell you.  I drifted off to sleep knowing that in the morning I would be crossing the A9 which is a sort of Challenge marker of progress n’est pas?

It's only when you look back that you can see how far you have come - as I would say if I ever wrote a book on leadership

Perfect pitching in pretty perfect conditions


  1. I fear your breakfast of Squirty Primula and Squirty Condensed Milk is fraught with error...if bleary eyed I can only forsee disaster!!
    Excellent posts....keep up the high standard.

    1. You don't know how right you might be, Al - wait for the instalment related to Days 10 and 11. It's far worse than a Primula / condensed mix up

  2. I think carrying any two different products in squirty tubes is just asking for trouble.

    1. Hello Johnboy Walton. You are cuing me in nicely for a later post -as you well know :-)

  3. Mmm. I used to have 2 Alpkit red bags. One contained my toilet bag and one my wash bag. One bleary eyed morning i took my spade for a dig and did what i had to do and then found that i had brought the wash bag and not the toilet bag! I will leave the rest to your readers imaginations.
    Just emphasising that if it can go wrong it will.

    1. An excellent maxim, AlanR. You need to take care you don't mix up your meths bottle with your hip flask. Then again, perhaps you do ;-)

    2. At least if i did it wouldn’t be at breakfast time.

    3. You'll get there eventually, Alan :-)

  4. Your unique TGO experience is beginning to look like a series of extended breakfasts interupted by a bit of walking.

  5. No, John, no. The walking was also interupted by lunch stops, when I indulged myself with lots of Primula (Cheese and ham flavour). And whenever I saw a cafe I stopped at it and had cake.