No 475 – TGO Challenge 2018 – Pt7

The day starts with the unique Dawn Chorus that only Tarfside can provide, before everyone gathers their thoughts and belongings before heading down to the Retreat cafe for a slap up breakfast.

7.40am and the Tarfside campsite is almost empty

I can never understand the rush to get away. It’s a slow a steady walk to Edzell and then Northwater Bridge which is located only 13km from the coast.

However the 70 or so tents were soon packed up and the site was virtually clear by 9am.

The Retreat is always popular the morning after

Down at the Retreat they had indeed had a bit of a rush and by the time we sauntered in, they had run out of Bacon, Eggs and Sausages. The supply truck was on route apparently, so we drank lots of tea and ate sandwiches and cake while we waited.

These folks ate all the bacon!

Fully refreshed we departed just as the truck appeared from around the corner which made us laugh. Okay so maybe next time 9am would be better than 10am to leave Tarfside.

The slow transition from countryside to town takes place beneath your feet as you walk this route. Open land and heather giving way to fields and crops. Rarely trodden paths turning to established land rover hard core tracks and bird song is replaced by that low consistent roar of traffic in the distance.

Cafe stop number 2!

Once at Edzell, the decision to be made is between the first place you see, the pub. Or the next building, the cafe. Some choose one or the other. As the day was hot and warm, we chose both.

Once refuelled Heather and I left Lee and Tony for second helpings, and we sauntered off towards Northwater Bridge following the route it has taken me 10 years to get right. Mainly off road, across paths and fields, which leaves the shortest possible exposure on the fast and dangerous 3 mile long straight road, where cars pick up speed and least expect to see walkers heading towards them.

Northwater Bridge starting to fill up

It’s a reasonble route and walking in company helps pass the time. Finally we emerge a few hundred yards from the campsite, who welcome us as always, with plenty of space to pitch and hot showers.

If it is a warm night then everyone chats and socialises, if not then each person dives into their shelter seeking warmth. This particular eveing it started warm, but dropped off cool early, so soon the campsite was quiet.

In the morning everyone was up early and hit the road. Once again we were later than most departing, but with only 13km to go, there was no rush.

The best BLT you’ll find on the Challenge 🙂

We thought we would try the Links again. The Golf Course on the edge of Montrose. The route starts as if heading to St Cyrus and then cuts off. We are all still perfecting it and as a result didn’t quite hit the coast where we expected to. However with our feet wet and sand between our toes Heather and I walked along the beach to get a meal at the Golf Club Cafe, while the guys all headed straight to The Park Hotel where they had booked up a year the year previously.

Come on Heather, the sea is this way ….

Then it was all over. Sigh out at control, thanking all the people who have helped those who are lost, low or exhausted. But basically all the people behind the scenes who make it happen and keep it efficient.

And then it was all over …

Down in the bar I met the two guys I wanted to interview for their impressions. First timers Ken Shaw from Sweden backpackinglight.se and Nels Block from Demark UltralightPedestrian.com compared Scotland favourably to the landscape in Scandinavia and enjoyed the event.

For further details about the TGO Challenge including how to join in next time keep an eye open for the October issue, or contact the TGO team directly.

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