Ok, I don’t feel like writing a whole bunch as I just sat 3 hours editing this video. In anycase, just in time for TGO Challenge 2019, I finally got around to editing the last part of my 2018 crossing. In this video Niels and I wander into Braemar, up through the Caingorms, down into Tarfside and finish up in Stonehaven.
My final thoughts on the TGO Challenge 2018
From start to finish the TGO challenge was probably one of my favorite trips. Maybe it was the nature, maybe it was the company, maybe it was the social hiking aspect of it all.. It’s hard to say, but there is something special about walking in the wilds, scrambling on mountain tops, and trudging through deep rivers during the day and finishing up at a pub with a burger and a beer at night.
I liked the journey so much that I had entered the 2019 crossing as well, unfortunately I had to cancel my crossing as I am currently in Zambia adopting a child. However, 2020 is definitely on the cards for me.
Scotland, what a beautiful nation and what an incredible hike Scotland has to offer. Truly incredible experience and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The TGO Challenge is a hiking adventure that is organized once a year since 1980. You have a few different starting points, and a few ending, and you make your own route through the country. Our route started in Lochailort and ended at Dunnottar castle of the coast of Stonehaven – A total hike of about 340km with some of the detours and other site we sent of towards. We did this is 12 days of hiking.
you can either read all of this, or just click on the video and watch all of it..
The full route as seen on Viewranger
I flew into Edinburgh, took the direct bus to Glasgow, in Glasgow I sent two packages to myself at the post office that is located right outside the bus stop. I had my resuplies sent to the Inverlochy villas in Fort william where I was staying for the night and Braemar youth hostel. This cost about 3pounds per package.
From Glasgow I met up with Niels blok who has ultralightpedestrian.com, and we took the train up to Lochailort where we arrived at around 23.00 in the evening. Tired, and no place to sleep we pitched the Ultamid 2 in the parking lot right outside the train station. This worked just fine as we arrived on the last train, and the first train wouldn’t start until around 7.30 in the morning.. plenty of time to get sleep.
We woke up, packed our shit and after a nice long and healthy fight with the Lochailort inn employees, we were able to get breakfast and check in for the TGO Challenge. Though we were one step away from having to grovel on our hands and knees to get that damn breakfast.
From there we made our way into the mountains via the Prince charlies cave, which we didn’t see, along the Loch beoraid where we stopped and ate breakfast at or around the Kinlochbeoraid bothy
From there we pushed through the Gleann Donn, a wild trail, or rather no trail, just bogs and rocks to climb up a ravine and down into Glen Finnan where all ambition to climb another ravine was lost and we set up camp at the bothy there.
After a nice evening at the camp we decided that the ravine wasn’t for us, so we made a detour around the ravine as you can see in the pic below.
That worked out just fine for us and we continued on our journey.
Day two started with that detour taking us around Beinn an Tuim, though, next time I will probably opt to climb up and over as I don’t care for road walking too much either.
Once we caught up with our route we then made our way along the Leann Fionnlighe which was rather spectacular at times, felt like we were heading into true scandinavien mountains. Large rolling hills, wet bogs, bugs and some waterfalls along the way.
After what turned out to be the worst campsite of the trail, a small little tick infested hell by the water (though the water and view was nice).. We trekked our way into Fort william, ate a burger, drank a beer and changed out my Ultamid 2 for a Terra nova laser 1 competition. Several reasons for that really, 1. I wanted to try a new tent that I had plans on importing and selling 2. I wanted a tent with a smaller footprint and 3. I wanted a little better protection from ticks. My hiking mate Niels had been talking about his horrific experience with Lime disease, and just the whole, spending a week in a hospital nearly dead stuff kind of scared me into submission.. inner tent it would be then.
The journey continues! I setup camp in Snavvavagge and in this video I make the trek down into Rapadalen and end the night near Aktse cottage after an incredible walk along Rapadalen and ride a boat in Rapadalen with the incredible beauty of Nammatj beckoning adventurers into the vastness that is Sarek.
I look at these videos, and I can’t help but be inspired, certainly not by the videos, but by the journey itself, the memories of it all.
It’s finally here.. my summer journey through Sarek national park in Northern Sweden. I will be leaving from my apartment here in Umeå at 06.30 in the morning by train, and arrive at the gates to Sarek at 17.30 in Ritsem. My journey through sarek if I hussle shoudn’t take more than 5-6 days, however since I plan och doing a lot of day trips, climb several of the higher peaks and do some fishing along the outskirts of the park (fishing is illegal in the park). I plan on pushing my journey to around 10 days. Basically just living life and enjoying my time in some of the more secluded parts of europe. There are no trails, stores or cottages in Sarek, so everything I need on the trail I will have with me in my backpack.
I have made some changes to my gear since making my last post, that have increased the total weight of my packing by about 600 grams. I can live with the extra weight as it is justified by the added warmth and security along a wet and cold trail. The trail this year is much colder and wetter than usual, which means I have to be better prepared for these kinds of conditions, hence the extra weight in rain gear and warmth.
Some of the changes I have made:
I traded out my thermarest xlite small and ul sleeping pad total weight 350grams for the warmer and larger thermarest xtherm weighing 580 grams. There is still a lot of snow along the trail and I don’t want to have to compensate a cold nights sleep by bringing more sweaters and jackets and so on.
I also traded out my Ricoh GR for my Sony rx 100. Same weight, same usb charging, only rx100 gives me the flexibilty of good video and zoom.
Tenkara rod and flies – I added this because, why not! 130 grams for a complete fishing kit. Seems like a small sacrifice to have in some of the worlds best fishing waters.
I’ve opted for the MLD Trailstar and Innertent instead of the Hilleberg enan. I just prefer the room and comfort of the Trailstar to that of the Hilleberg Enan. Weight is about the same as the Enan, and living space is more than twice as large. (well 100 grams lighter but whos counting..)
Packed and ready to go! 13,5 kilos (food weighs less than 5 kilos and not the 6,5 as according to my list) The advantage of the HMG Windrider and the reason I bought it, is the fact that for unsupported trips over a week it’s hard to stuff everything in a 50 liter bag. (when travelling to regions of the world like Alaska and northern sweden)
All the food being prepared for it’s stuff sack, a 13 liter sea to summit bag.
Complete gear list:
Hmg Sidewinder 4400
Red 2l Pack Bag
Red 4l Pack Bag
Red 4l Pack Bag
Thermarest Pillow Sheet
Ti Tent Pegs
Enlightened Equipment Quilt
Sea To Summit Long Spoon Ti
Zefa Water Bottle
Ti Tri Fusion
Snowpeak Ti 900 W/lid
Mld Waterproof Gloves
Wp 200g Pants
Haglofs Green Wind Jacket
As Tucas Red Beanie
Grey Patagontia Shirt
Haglifs Lim Puffy Jacket
Wp Thick Socks
Alpine Rain Jacket
Soft Shell Rain Pants
Ul Teeth Care
Iphone 6s Plus Ink Case
Thermarest Repair Kit
First Aid Kit
Dji Spark Kit
20100 Anker Battery Pack
13000 battery Pack
4400 Battery Pack
Gopro Hero 5 W/3-way
Dji Spark Remote
Aklima Hoody Wool
Haglofs Grey Zip Hiking Pants
Merrell Allout Terra Trail Shoes Pair
Food For A Day
Food For A Day
Food For A Day
Food For A Day
Food For A Day
Food For A Day
Food For A Day
Food For A Day
Everything ex worn
Everything ex cosumeables
My route has not changed since the last time:I will be starting in Ritsem and finishing in Kvikkjokk. Should be a great little trip! This is the straight trip to kvikkjokk, but as I’ve said, I plan on making a lot of daytrips and sideroads along the way.
— 15 km, estimated walking time 6-7 hrs, 300m net descent —
Again, I was left breathless by the amazing hike. Glaciers, desert, rivers, mountains and forest all within a 15 kilometer hike. This day starts off in the canyon of Syðri – Emstruá. Here there is a steep path that leads a bridge that runs over the glacier river.
There is something epic about a raging river being fed with a glacier.. simply amazing. I sat here for sometime and ate my breakfast and just enjoyed the incredible view, engrossing my soul completely in the moment.
I learned along this trail that it was time to replace my beloved Haglöfs LIM trail shoes. I decided from this moment on that I would wear trail shoes that had toe protection and better grip. On top of that I realized that I’m not really into video production.. I shot hours and hours of video along this trail and so far haven’t edited anything.. I prefer working with photography.
After this long trek along the sandy, volcanic ash desert everything changes to a kind of mini forest.
This little house just seemed lost in the wilderness – It was the first house I’d seen for days.
The house from a little further out.
After a long walk came this amazing water crossing along the Þröngá river. As always the water is freezing cold, but barely knee high throughout so wading is no problem.
The little village at the bottom of the valley is Porsmork, while I will be staying in Bazar, I wanted to make the little 8 kilometer detour to Porsmork to drink beer and eat peanuts. It was worth the walk. You can even take the bus back to Reykjavik from Porsmork.
From Porsmork I made my way on to Bazar where I would be sleeping for the night.
While this was not Bazar, it was nice nonetheless.. Not really sure what this place was called, but it was nessled between Porsmork and Bazar.
After a quick walk over this glacier river, I soon arrived in Bazar where I would throw up my tent and make camp for the night
Once my tent was setup I made my way to the river, laid down and chilled out for a few hours before heading off to bed. Once again, the Laugavegur trail delivered on it’s incredible views and serene enviroment.
15 km, estimated walking time 6-7 hrs, 40 m net descent
I was in no rush to leave Alftavatn, the views were simply incredible and it was nice to just hang out for a while. I knew that walking through this valley would be an amazing adventure, and with that, I laced up my trail runners and made my way towards Emstrur.
From the very start on the way to Emstrur, this incredible view is what I was met with. The hike from Alftavatn to Emstrur is by far the most picturesque of all the sections. From this kinds of green rolling landscapes, into long deserts of volcanic ash and a massive glacier looming in the distance like a constant reminder of the true wild that you are in.
This hike felt long, maybe it was the deep ash or the several large river crossings.. who knows, the hike is easy, but feels much longer than the 15km that it actually is.
The first real water crossing is about 3-4 kilometers from Alftavatn. Here I passed a whole group of heavy-miserables while they stopped to take of their boots and socks 🙂 I just trugded through, admittedly the water was cold but I warmed up quickly.
Here the trail takes us over the low ridge Brattháls into Hvanngil. If your looking to book a room in advance in Alftavatn and it’s fully booked (not unlikely). Check out Hvanngil, as it’s not always a known campground.
The first real river crossing is made on this part of the trail. It’s wide and irratic, you will have to walk around a while along the river Blafjallakvisl until you find a very wide part, and there crossing shouldn’t be a problem. You will notice however I stopped on a little sandbank in the river. I didn’t actually stop here to take a pic, to be honest I stopped here because my feet felt frozen solid from the ice cold water..
To say that the views along this part of the trail are amazing is an understatement. While I always find nature to be awe-inspiring, this particular part of the trail was something altogether different. I had the feeling of walking along the art gallery of god – his best pieces of art all laid out along a 15 mile trek. I took my time here, stopped often and forgot about everything else in the world, nothing mattered, I was lost in the moment and it was one of the greatest moments of my life.
After a while we come along the river Nyrðri Emstruá, which thankfully is bridged.. From here it’s only a few kilometers left before reaching the campground at Botnar.
After an incredible walk we come in towards Botnar which resides in the Markarfljótsgljúfur canyon with the glacier in the background.
The campground in Botnar is well protected from the heavy winds blowing down from the glacier. The views are incredible here and there is even a little shop here if you need some resuplies. 3G works perfectly fine along all the campgrounds throughout the Laugavegur trail – so calling home wont be a problem.
When volcanic desert transforms into a true paradise on earth
Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn – 12 kilometer from volcano to paradise
After a day and a half of hiking in rain and cold, finally some sunshine and water. I stopped here and filled up my water bottle, ate an energy bar and called home. This really lifted my spirits.
After what felt like an eternity of walking in rain and snow, after volcanic ash, rock and gravel. A long sleepless night in an unprotected snowy volcanic wasteland.
The Laugavegagur trail transformed itself into a true paradise on earth when I came up over the ridge and looked out upon Alftavatn.
Alftavatn is where most pictures you see of the trail come from, and in the next section you will see why. However to get there you have to walk along a desert wasteland for almost the entirety of the 12 kilometers from Hraftinnusker.
My journey to Alftavatn started after a cold night of “sleep”. On top of that I of course only use trail running shoes. While this is normally never a problem, on this one occasion my feet where frozen until I got my temperature up as the first 5 kilometers of the trail was covered in mushy snow.
It took me about 6 hours to get to Alftavatn from Hraftinnusker, lets just say I was in no hurry at all. While it was cold, wet and at times just all around shitty, I actually enjoyed this part of the trail immensely; granted, more now when I’m sitting at home writing this book.
While the campground looked lovely, I opted for the cabin.. there was actually an available bed! The room here will cost about $50.00.. to me it was worth it that night.
Here is part two of my pictures along the Laugavegur trail – gallery of Iceland. All pictures where taken with the Sony RX 100 I, edited in lightroom. If you steal my pictures atleast leave a link to my site and let me know where they will be seen. Thanks!
In two weeks a friend and I will be heading out to Iceland to hike along the 75 kilometer Laugavegur trail. While the trail is not known for being overly difficult I will be planning to take the full amount of food with me as there are no places to eat along the way. On top of that as we will be there in June there could be some risk for colder nights and still some snow left on the trail. (Though I think the risk is minimal here I will still pack accordingly)
Update: trail now complete and I will update this post with more up to date info for anyone wanting to make the trip themselves.
We plan on stretching the trip out over 5-6 days and spend two nights, if possible, in some of the huts along the way. Sometimes it’s pretty nice to have a hut and warm shower if the possibility presents itself. Read More
So the hike continues where I left off last week.. I walked from alby to Haninge last week, that you can read about here. As you can see from the pictures, the weather was fantastic! about -1 celcius and sunny. An absolutely lovely day to be out. I started in Haninge and ended in Lida – on my maps about 27 kilometers. My adventure started at the OK28 gas station in Haninge and really you can say it starts at Rudan as you can see from the pics below. I don’y know if I would dare go out on the ice right now, as it’s pretty thin, but that didn’t seem to bother these guys too much. Read More