We woke up early and eager. The day for only the second time all trip was overcast and it was a bit chilly. Packing up the tent for the final time this trip. The new Gossamer Gear The Two has been wonderful, easy to set up and very roomy. We highly recommend it.
The walk out of the North Water Bridge caravan (campsite) was across a very busy and fast highway, the A90. We played our usual game of Frogger and while we were very careful a rude driver honked at us for no reason....
Once across the roads were quiet side streets and easy B roads.
(below) Ian caught Vicky and I starting out through the neighborhoods of North Water Bridge
The Beef didn't get any smaller today as this guy was several tons of hamburger!
The villages are all so nice and quaint as we walk on
The bright yellow rapeseed oil plants always mean you are close to the east coast. You don't see this plant cultivated much in the West of Scotland, but it is your welcome to the East
Miles of lonely B road on the last day. It is possible to stay on some paths and off the roads, but you do run the risk of an unknown fence or gate in this area and you will end up in someone's yard at least once or twice
Our first glimpse of Montrose and our destination of the sea. Note the church steeple on the left (below), which is the tallest structure in Montrose
Coming through the village of Hillside, Vicky can not help it as every dog has to be petted and every person wants to have a chat with Vicky
In Hillside we stopped at a local shop/post office and they made us fresh morning sausage and bacon rolls and we made a picnic in the park in the center of town.
The path that was on my map actually didn't exist anymore. A small subdivision of houses sits on the old path. As we were looking for the best way to proceed we ran into Gordon Green going in our same direction, so we walked on with Gordon for a time.
A few miles on, It was a straight shot down to the beach and then the sign
The Gorse was thick on the way up to the dunes
The final climb up the dunes was very steep and the sand made it one step forward, slide two back.
Vicky did her best downhill ski pose coming down the sand.
Ian was one of those Challengers walking down the beach and he managed to catch Vicky's final decent down the dune
I think Vicky might be pleased to have made it to the sea.
Ian was again kind enough to take this wonderful shot of the two of us together. He is a wonderful photographer and if you want to see what real pictures of a trip across Scotland looks like you can see his work here: TGO 2018 in pictures by Ian Cotterill
The whole group heads up the beach toward Montrose
The beach walk was one of the highlights of the day.
Fantastic views out to the sea and being a Thursday not a sole about except for a us and a few Challengers
We let the others go ahead and we had the beach to ourselves
Climbing up off the beach was a bit of a struggle but the view looking back is something we will never forget
In previous years finishing further north has taken us hours by bus and train to reach Montrose. In this case we just strolled into town
Right up to the Park Hotel to the Challenge Control to officially finish. Of course this year we only did a "partial" Challenge, but it is always a great two weeks regardless of where we went or what we did.
Challengers dropping their packs in the lobby...
and straight into the bar! Vicky had been looking forward to her first official Rekorderlig of the trip.
Off her feet and relaxed.
The companion hotel across the street, The Link, has been our hotel of choice for all our stays in Montrose, but the the evening gathering is always back at the Park. After going to check in and cleaning up a bit, we ventured back for the Thursday night celebration dinner as it is always the largest and one of the highlights of finishing a Challenge
There were speeches and awards for 10 and 20 crossings, special mentions of significant activities and a chance to see many others we have come to call friends that we didn't get a chance to walk with this year.
Of course there is always Mr. Alan Sloman, who is mostly responsible for our obsession with the Challenge and our 3 trips across Scotland. His encouragement of Vicky in her first Challenge gave her the courage to come back for more.
I think I have moved down another rung in the ladder:
Keith Urban, Sam Elliott, Sean Connery and Alan.
Your in good company sir, well done!
This years after party was quit good, although I don't think it got the attention it deserved. Andrew Walker and Humphrey Weightman performed some excellent songs and then the after-after party Andrew performed just for us.
Louise and Emma were enlisted as the backup singers/dancers.
the "Foul Weather Alternatives" A great name for a group if ever there was one.
After a rest day it is time to go home. Always a bit melancholy as you remember the good times you have had over the last two weeks
Montrose Train Station
The train ride back to Glasgow was on a wonderful sunny day
One more stroll down the Glasgow Highstreet
The long plane ride home
The familiar look of St. Louis from the air as the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers come together.
That ends our 2018 TGO Challenge adventure. Thanks again to everyone that made this trip possible and we do look forward to seeing you again someday.