We’ll be opening for entries to the 2024 TGO Challenge in the next few weeks.  Here are a few details of what information you will need to provide, the skills needed and how the 2024 entry process will work.

2024 entry process

Regulars will find the process somewhat different this year as places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis instead of the usual six week long entry period followed by a draw; and payment will be required immediately after entering.  Why are we doing this?  Largely it to stop the entry and payment process being so drawn out and time consuming and to reduce the, ever increasing, number of entries from people who subsequently fail to pay.

Entries will open on:

Photo: Michael Friebe

20th September for those entitled to a guaranteed place, who will be able to apply from 20th September with their place reserved until 30th September.  Invitations to apply will be sent by email and they and any walking partners can access the entry form via a private link.   They can still apply after 30th September but their place will no longer be guaranteed.

1st October for everyone else.  The entry form will be at https://www.tgochallenge.com/entryform/ from 8am BST.   We appreciate changing the system will engender a sense of urgency but from past entry numbers we think it is highly unlikely all the places will fill in a day.  So please take the time to make sure your details are accurate and experience forms have sufficient detail. In particular, ensure your email address is correctly typed as once the entry form has been completed an automatically generated email will invite you to pay.  Places will be allocated in the order that payments – not the entry forms – are received.

We appreciate entering needs more consideration for first time Challengers and also will take longer.  We will keep an eye on entry numbers and if it appears first time Challengers are being disadvantaged, we will take action to maintain their usual minimum numbers (25%).  This may mean closing earlier to previous Challengers.

Photo: Emma Warbrick

We know some people will be away from home on 1st October. The entry form is mobile friendly so, as long as you have an internet connection, it should be possible to enter.  If anyone has difficulty with the form or payment, please email tgochallenge@gmail.com or text 07786628105 on or after the entry date (not before!) and it may be possible to make some allowance for your circumstances.

Once the places are full, entries can be made (by the same form) to the standby list as anyone withdrawing on or before 14th December can be replaced.  Payment will not be requested until a place is offered. Anyone, with suitable experience, who doesn’t gain a place will be offered a guaranteed place on TGOC25.

Entry Form Details

The entry form is relatively quick and simple to complete. You will need to provide:

  • Name, age and contact details
  • Start date preference (9th May, 10th May, 11th May or later or no preference)
  • Number of previous TGO Challenge crossings – both completed or partial/retired
  • If part of a team, the names of your team members (places will be reserved for them for 48hrs)
  • T-shirt size and certificate preference (physical or digital)
  • Experience form, if no previously completed TGO Challenge crossings

At this stage you will not be asked for:

  • medical or emergency contact details
  • details of proposed route

Skills and experience

First timer Challengers are most welcome and are a large part of what makes the Event special. However, the Event is not for those new to backpacking and first time Challengers need to have a range of skills before they participate.  The minimum required by every Challenger, not just team leaders, are:

Photo: Alan Bellis
  • Ability to navigate across pathless, rugged terrain using map and compass – digital or analogue. You must not be solely reliant on GPS.
  • Be able to carry personal/camping equipment with a minimum of 3 days provisions.
  • Previous experience of backpacking including ‘leave no trace’ camping in a wild environment with no facilities. One of these trips need to be in the last few years and at least 3 days long.
  • Capacity to be self-sufficient (including first aid skills) in remote areas where help may not be easily accessible.
  •  Be able to assess and deal with adverse weather (wind, rain and occasionally snow and excessive heat) and have the ability to assess and, when appropriate, safely cross unbridged river/burns in spate.

As part of the entry process, anyone who has not already completed a TGO Challenge crossing is required to complete an Experience Form.  Several prospective Challengers have asked for details so they can prepare their answers. 

Most of the questions are aimed at helping your route vetter assess your route and ensure it is suitable for your experience level.  So don’t worry if you have not walked in Scotland before or do not have winter walking skills.  Answering ‘none’ to either won’t exclude you from participating. Those answers tell us that your first crossing needs to be lower level and your vetter will need to go into more detail about the kind of ground to expect than they will for a more experienced Challenger.  The main requirement is that you have completed at least one multiday backpacking trip in the past, covering an appropriate distance daily whilst carrying camping gear as well as some wild camping experience and, of course, navigation skills are essential

The Experience Form questions are:

1. What experience do you have of walking in SCOTLAND? It is not essential to have backpacked in Scotland but knowledge of your experience will help us assess the suitability of your route.

  • I have walked my own route or an un-waymarked trail (e.g. Cape Wrath Trail) in Scotland.
  • I have walked a waymarked trail (e.g. West Highland Way, Speyside Way) in Scotland.
  • I have day walked in the Scottish hills.
  • I have never walked in the Scottish hills before.

2. What was the duration of your longest backpacking trip (any location)? 

  • None
  • 1-3 days
  • 4-7 days
  • 8-14 days
  • 2-4 weeks
  • 1 month or longer

3. Please give details of your backpacking trips – include year, area, duration and whether a waymarked trail or self-planned route.  If you have a lot of experience, please pick 4 or 5 examples prioritising longer treks/Scottish experience.

4. Please tell us which of your trips above were solo.

5. Please summarise your experience of navigating over pathless terrain and in poor visibility. All participants (including those in groups) should be able to navigate competently using map and compass.

6. Do you have any winter walking experience? If so please summarise including use of ice axe and crampons. Winter walking experience is not required but those tackling higher level routes may encounter winter conditions

7. Do you intend to carry a tent or shelter on your crossing? For your safety we strongly advise that you carry a tent.  At the very least you must carry an emergency shelter and means to keep warm should you be unable to reach pre-planned accommodation.

8. On average what daily distance do you expect to cover (km) on your TGO Challenge route? 

9. Please provide any other information you feel is relevant.

Photo: Anna-Maria Wedlich

We look forward to seeing your entry! Any questions, please contact the Coordinators at tgochallenge@gmail.com