Challenge dos and don’ts

Just a few things to take note of before applying . . .

  • Photo: Cyril Huart

    The TGO Challenge is a non-competitive backpacking event.  The only aim is to walk across Scotland – and hopefully enjoy experiencing some wild places and interesting people along the way. If you choose to include long days and lots of hills remember the crossings of those taking lower levels routes is equally valid.  Friendliness, helpfulness and respect for all are a big part of the Challenge culture and this atmosphere is fostered by the non-competitive nature of the Event. 

  • The most important principle is that you walk every step across Scotland on foot, on a route you have planned yourself.  The exception to this is that an initial journey may be made by boat (eg Mallaig to Inverie, Kilchoan to Tobermory) and during your crossing large bodies of water (eg Loch Ness) may be crossed by ferry (or kayak/packraft). However, journeys along (rather than across) lochs or watercourses are not allowed.
    Photo: Bjorn Besse
  • You can walk solo (around half do) or in a group, but the maximum size of a group is four.
  • Support teams are not permitted so you should carry all the equipment you need.  However, supplies can be purchased along the way or posted to pre-arranged points on your route. 
  • Friends or relatives can walk with you for a few days during the Challenge, but this should not be for a majority, or all, of your crossing. Dogs are not allowed.
  • You need to be capable of navigating over pathless terrain in poor visibility, even if you are part of a group. If the group leader becomes unwell or sustains an injury all members of the group should be capable of seeking help. You should also have sufficient skills to wild camp safely and responsibly and, while it is possible to plan a route using accommodation or bothies every night this will involve some very long days so you should carry a tent or other suitable shelter at all times.
  • The minimum age is 18 (on the first day of the Challenge). There is no upper age limit but older applicants or those with any health issues are strongly advised to discuss their fitness with their health professionals ensuring they are aware of the nature of the Event.
    Photo: Anna-Maria Wedlich
  • You are responsible for ensuring you are fit enough to participate and have sufficient first aid skills to deal with illness or injury in a remote setting.  You will be required to complete a medical and emergency contacts form prior to the Event.
  • Routes take time to develope so don’t leave it until the last moment as they need to be submitted to the Coordinators by the deadlines in the Event Details and presented on the form provided.  You wil be asked for sufficient detail to allow the vetter and those manning Challenge Control to follow the route without difficulty along with distance and ascent figures for every day and, where needed, foul weather alternative. This isn’t an easy task but there is guidance in the Event Details and help available, if needed, from the Coordinators, vetters and Challenge community.
  • Your route must remain within the Challenge Boundaries which are detailed here. 
  • Routes are assessed by experienced route vetters taking into account the participants’ experience. Their advice should be taken seriously and changes may be requested before a route is accepted. 
    Photo: Anna-Maria Wedlich
  • , All Challengers must sign out from one of the 14 start points on their allocated start day and cross within 15 days or by the finish date – whichever is the sooner.
  • You, or your group leader, must phone in to Challenge Control at least four times during your crossing from the phone in points agreed on your route sheet. Failure to call in may result in the emergency services being alerted unnecessarily. A text and WhatsApp message service is also available. If your route has to change, you are behind schedule or you have to retire from the Event you are expected to inform Challenge Control as soon as it is practical.
  • GPS trackers/PLPs are encouraged, especially for solo Challengers, as they give access to help in an emergency when out of mobile phone range.  Guidance for their use will be given in the Event and Final Details.  It is important you still phone in to Challenge Control as planned.
  • After reaching the East Coast between Fraserburgh and Arbroath you make your way (on foot or by public/private transport) to Challenge Control in Montrose to complete your crossing and receive you certificate and T-shirt. 
  • There is a cooling off period during which you can with draw and receive a refund.  After this date it cannot be refunded and your place cannot be transferred to a friend or relative. So if you are entering TGOC23 please take a good look at the 2023 Term and Conditions and Event Details before 14th December 2022.