Wednesday, 17 December 2014
TGO 2015 How to feed a habit! (Award Winner!)
It was suggested I submit this piece for my Club Newsletter. At The Hill and Mountain Walking Club AGM on 8 November 2015 it received the Jack Griffiths Literary Award!
Check out the Club - which is affiliated to the BMC. http://othc1989.blogspot.co.uk/
The TGO Challenge is like a drug. Once you try it, you want more. And, the more you get, the more you want. This continues until you enter the heady realms of being a Leg-end! You slowly but surely get sucked in to the event. There is no escape. To resist is futile.
I know one or two Leg-ends and they are wretched souls. No hope for them. Totally high on the event. Why, even this year, I will start in a western den of iniquity with a couple of Leg-ends and an aspiring-to-be one too. You can spot them a mile off. Especially if the aspirant is wearing his orange smock.
To help feed this habit they indulge in various recreational drugs. Whisky has to be near the top of the chosen substances, but, good beer is well up there. Lesser mortals indulge in that amber coloured stuff they call lager! Some even go to the lengths of bringing sloe gin. Suffice to say, these recreational drugs don't last long. It becomes imperative to keep moving towards the next fix. These suppliers are dotted across Scotland and the hardened Challenger will make a bee-line towards their suppliers. But, as you observe bees you do notice that they don't really keep a straight line. Same with Challenge folk. They meander across in some haphazard manner.
Someone, somewhere decided that the finish should be on the east coast. Wrong. It should be on the west Coast! Anyone who's done the Coast to Coast in the accepted manner rues the day they exit Cumbria. Start in Robin Hood's Bay and you have the magnificence of the Lake District to end your experience.
Same issue with the TGO - you leave the Cairngorms and run out of mountains- unless you count Mount Keen as a mountain. I suppose it is a Munro, but can it hold a candle to the mountains on the west coast? You can make your last day really count by finishing on Knoydart, or, the Five Sisters, or, any one of a number of interesting finish points. Much better than St. Cyrus! or Lunen Bay!
But there is a rational for starting in the west. You leave the wild lands and make your way to the east cost navigating as you go by staggering from wind turbine to wind turbine. These are very conveniently placed to enhance your experience and to make sure you hanker to get back to the west coast for some real wilderness - at least before they stick a wind turbine on top of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan!
I mention the recreational drugs. These do give a sort of high. But there is another more compelling habit that needs feeding.
Not content with recreational drugs, the wretched souls that leave the west coast in high spirits (usually from the party in the pub where they had a restless night's sleep) will aim to feed that other habit - climbing pointy bits. Now, climbing pointy bits is not compulsory in getting from A to B, but the amount of tortured thought that goes into getting over pointy bits does show how much of a habit this has become for some poor wretched souls.
Why, they even compete to see who can do the most pointy bits. Just listen to the tales in the Park Hotel.
So, recreational drugs and the feed-on-pointy bits ensures that the wretched souls get to the east coast in a state of euphoria. They will have done their chosen pointy bits. They will have battled wind, rain, sleet, snow, hailstones, as well as a few squelchy bits underfoot - some even get so high that they try walking on water. They never learn!
Of course, no matter how much recreational drugs are consumed, and, no matter how many pointy bits figure in the plans of these wretched souls, there is always the bogeyman! The weather. The weather is essential in order to ensure that the euphoria that comes from hitting the pointy bits is realised. The fortunate will get their fill of pointy bits and will celebrate in the Park Hotel with a few recreational drugs. The ones who don't quite make their desires come true, will commiserate in the Park Hotel with a few recreational drugs. They all become as one as the evening wears on. Such is the way euphoria and melancholy are celebrated.
Whatever befalls these befuddled imbibers, there is only one way to go.
Enter for TGO 2016.
I'm Gordon Green and I'm addicted.
I've only got 18 big pointy bits on my wish list, as well as some long airy ridges ........... and, I won't be going over Mount Keen.
You'll see me in the bar at the Park Hotel. You'll have to guess how the bogeyman played with my head.