Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Ben Lomond - 28th June

An evening run up Ben Lomond with Steffen Gorgas, starting at just before 7pm.
Finished with a swim in the loch and getting savaged by midges.

Steffen Chris Loch Lomond Steffen Steffen Looking North West Loch Lomond Loch Lomond at Rowardennan Loch Lomond at Rowardennan Loch Lomond at Rowardennan Loch Lomond at Rowardennan Loch Lomond at Rowardennan

Monday, 27 June 2005

Etive Round - 25/26 June

During June 25/26, John Fleetwood of Kendal completed a new long distance route around Glen Etive - solo, on sight and unsupported, and covering some horrendously rough ground.
The Etive Round is measured at 56.4 miles, 30,448ft and was completed in 30 hours 21 minutes.
Detailed schedule is here. The route contains:
  • 18 Marilyns
  • 16 Munros
  • 3 Corbetts
  • 2 Murdos
  • 1 CTM
    John's comments
    "It was on sight solo unsupported journey over some of the most rugged, steep and tricky ground. The first 1/3 was unbelievably tough - brutal in fact - and it really took it out of me. The direct line up Beinn Maol Chaluim was 50 degree tussocks and oozing black rocks with one or two little pitches of climbing and a crawl along a grassy ledge. Also scree off the Buachaille made the Red Burn screes on the Ben seem tame - quite dangerous in fact and there's a better route down the valley which I spotted afterwards. Not a run at all, but certainly a challenge. The night descents were horrendous - steep slabby, trackless slopes which took an age. Once it was clear I wasn't going to do it in 24 hours I took my time and had several dozes and food stops. It would be possible in 24 hours having now reccied the route but it's a really brutal route - far harder than the stats indicate. I thought to myself that there were no less than 9 Yewbarrow-like ascents and some of them steeper than this and covered in tussocks. I plan to amend the route making it shorter and improving the line, but probably won't do this until next year now. Feeling a bit drained."
    John Fleetwood
  • Sunday, 26 June 2005

    Lairig Ghru Race - 26th June

    28 miles / 2200ft
    Results| Rod Dalitz's report
    Third race of the weekend. And by far the longest at 28 miles.
    For anyone who hasn't done this race, it's a long A to B from the centre of Braemar to the centre of Aviemore passing through the Lairig Ghru in the heart of the Cairngorms.
    The first few miles are easy uphill road running from Braemar before dropping down and crossing the River Dee at Mar Lodge, then a bit more road before striking off up a good track with a small climb, before dropping down into the broad valley (Glen Lui) leading up to Derry Lodge. Here you cross the bridge over Derry Burn and head west into Glen Luibeg, at first across open slightly boggy ground, before picking up a good track as far as the Luibeg Burn. Here you have to wade or boulder hop, then a steep climb at first before good running swings you northwards into the impressive Lairig Ghru valley proper. This next section goes on far longer than I remembered, taking you into the boulder fields, past the Pools of Dee to a highpoint of 835m where the view suddenly opens out northwards to Aviemore. From the top of the pass it doesn't look far, but then next section is deceptive. The descent is quite rocky and awkward for a while, until at last you hit a perfect trail leading down into Rothiemurchus Forest. The next few miles are straightforward forest trail bashing, the only memorable feature being the large white Cairngorm Club Footbridge. Eventually you pop out at Coylumbridge, and there's just 2 miles of road to go. The closes stages involve crossing an old metal bridge over the Spey, before cutting under the railway line and fighting your way up through the tourists and Tesco trolleys to the finish opposite the Police Station.
    The race was won by John Kennedy of Maryhill. Alan Smith finished 4th after doing Culter Fell Race and Falkland Hill Race the day before. I was 12th in 4:11, and got beaten by the first three ladies: 1) Gillian Godfree, 2) Kate Jenkins, 3) Lucy Colquhoun.
    Kate and Ben Chris being chased

    Culter Fell Race - 25th June

    Race no.4 of British Championship Series
    11.8 miles / 4900ft
    Results| SHR report| Carnethy photo report
    Marc's Photos| SAL Report
    A tough unrelenting course.
    First three in the men's race were:
    1) Simon Booth, 2) John Henegan, 3) Jethro Lennox
    First three in the ladies' race were:
    1) Sally Newman, 2) Jill Mykura, 3) Helen Sedgewick
    Profile of the route
    Nige descending like a madman
    Chris glad to be finished

    Friday, 24 June 2005

    Ship Inn Shell Bay Sandy Slither

    24th June 2005
    6.1 miles / 250ft
    SAL Notice| SAL Report| Results
    Luckily the race was far easier than the name. A pleasant enough saunter along the Fife Coastal Path from Lower Largo to Elie, about 50% of it running on soft sand. There was a small climb up to a mast at 63m, followed by some cliff-top running on a very narrow path, and then the famous slithery descent down greasy steps covered with wet grass. The kilometre was along a beach, finishing outside the Ship Inn at Elie. The race was won by Chris Russell of Fife in 36:52. First lady was Trudi Thomson of Pitreavie in 43:26. I finished 7th in 40:12.

    Runners at the start at Lower Largo

    Wednesday, 22 June 2005

    Cort-ma Law Race - 22nd June

    6 miles / 1720ft
    Results| Blair's report
    When it comes to Bog and Burn races, Cort-ma Law is the real McCoy. Enough emerald green bog to keep the staunchest hill runner happy. And a nice tussocky descent into the gully for a genuine burn crossing.
    First three were 1) Des Crowe, 2) Stuart Simpson, 3) Alan Smith (who travelled all the way from Aviemore)
    These three also lead the Bog and Burn series (lowest scores from 4 races), with Des on 9 points, Stuart 11 points, and Alan 12 points.
    First lady was Alison Winship of Garscube, who has moved into first place in the ladies' Bog and Burn rankings.
    There are 2 races left in the series: Maddy Moss on July 20th and Caerketton on August 10th.
    Full Bog and Burn rankings after Cort-ma Law are here.
    Profile of the route showing all the false summits on the long initial climb
    Map of the route
    Arran's Brian Robertson leading race winner Des Crowe at the summit of Cort-ma Law
    Some also-rans at the summit of Cort-ma Law

    Sunday, 19 June 2005

    Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon

    The LAMM this weekend was on the Isle of Mull.
    Route details and results here.
    Steve Birkinshaw and Morgan Donnelly won the elite class.

    Durisdeer Hill Race - 19th June

    10.5 miles / 3800ft
    Almost as muggy and humid as yesterday. Monsoon conditions in Glasgow before the race. Low grey cloud and poor visibility on the hill. Plenty of scope for getting completely lost. The route starts at the picturesque Durisdeer village, climbs Black Hill, drops very steeply off Pettylung to cross the A702 and head through Dalveen Farm. Next comes some better running as you circumnavigate Steygail before going past Upper Dalveen Farm and a steep climb back up to the A702. Then a rather confusing line in the mist to the summit of Well Hill, the highest point in the race. Some more good running before a steepish climb back to Black Hill, and a fast grassy descent. Great tea and cake tent at the end.
    Unfortunately the results were only recorded to the nearest minute for some strange reason.

    Saturday, 18 June 2005

    West Highland Way Race - 18th June

    95 miles / 11,600ft
    WHW Race website| Results| SAL News Report
    Split Times
    Course record holder, Kate Jenkins put in a brave effort and almost made it to Tyndrum before wisely deciding to pack it in. In fact there wasn't a decision to make since she couldn't run and could barely walk by this stage, due to her quads going into spasm. If there had been any way she could have continued she would have done. But there wasn't. And she didn't. Even from Milngavie to Tyndrum is the best (or worst) part of 50 miles.

    Kate's sensible decision to stop allowed Willie & Jill Mykura and myself to go home early, having been up all night since the 1am kick off. I understand Russell Stout of Carnethy also dropped out, despite looking strong at Rowardennan.

    The race is still in mid-swing, with at least another 5 hours to go as I type this. When I last saw, Carl Pryce of Cosmics was looking strong, and might possibly win. I'll find out later. Allan Douglas and Bruce Hall were also going well - however a lot can change from Tyndrum to the end at Fort William.

    Oh, and I forgot to say, the weather was tropically warm, muggy and oppressive, with at least 100% humidity - and in need of a damn good monsoon. Desperate conditions for running. Like driving a car without coolant.

    The race was won by Bruce Hall in 18 hours 57 minutes.
    Only 48 of the 88 starters made it to the end.
    Kate and Carl just before the start The start line at Milngavie Carl Pryce at the top of Conic Hill Kate at Balmaha Kate and another runner at Loch Lomond Checkpoint at Derrydarroch Farm Leaving the Derrydarroch checkpoint Tunnel vision Allan Douglas of Strathaven finished 4th Kate being caught by Bruce Hall who eventually won the race View towards Ben More at Crianlarich Moth on the path

    Thursday, 16 June 2005

    Biggar Tarmac Hill Race - 16th June

    6 miles / 400ft
    London's big, but Biggar's Biggar
    In fact the population of Biggar is 2,098 compared with 7.4 million for Greater London. Even so, it was Gala Week in Biggar, which means the famous "10k" Tarmac Hill Race. Of course it isn't a hill race at all, but a road race with a bit of a hill in the middle. The start and finish were vague enough that the race randomly started without anyone saying "go", and finished down a side road beyond where the finish appeared to be. All the rest of it was pretty obvious though. Some nice quiet tree-lined country roads.
    1. Ronnie Gallagher, Westerlands, 34:13
    2. Tom Gillespie, HBT, 36:19
    3. Paul Russell, Cambuslang, 36:58
    4. James Tullie, Edinburgh Uni, 37:05
    5. Chris Upson, Westerlands, 37:09

    Feet in the Clouds

    Feet in the Clouds is now available in paperback. Well worth a read. Describes a slice through the British hill running year 2003, profiling various key players and races. Fascinating historical chapters on such legendary figures as Billy Bland and Kenny Stuart. Running High - Hugh Symonds' epic continuous run in 1990 over all British and Irish 3,000ft hills is also worth a read.

    Wednesday, 15 June 2005

    Ben Sheann Race - 15th June

    2.5 miles / 1400ft
    MIDGE HELL!!!!!!!!!!!
    I think that more or less describes the race. First three were 1) Prasad Prasad, 2) Alan Smith, 3) Dan Whitehead, followed by Des Crowe, Stuart Simpson, Mark Higginbottom, Colin Glencourse, Ewan Jack, Kyle Heron and myself, in approximately that order. A good many other Westies turned out including Drew, Murdo, Blair, Hamilton, Dave Rogers and Katherine. Treacherously slick and skiddy on the descent through the forest.
    Ben Sheann (or Beinn an t-Sidhein) at Strathyre was 7th race in the Bog and Burn series.
    Next race is Cort-ma Law above Lennoxtown.

    Sunday, 12 June 2005

    Edale Country Fair - 12th June

    5 miles / 1300ft
    Men's results| Ladies' results
    Four Scots in top eight at British Championship counter
    SAL Report| Alasdair's Report on SHR website
    Jethro Lennox consolidates his lead in the British Championship with 5th place at Edale.
    Iain Donnan, Alastair Anthony and Euan Jardine came 2nd, 3rd and 8th, making it four Scots in the top 8.
    1. Simon Bailey, Mercia, 31:46
    2. Iain Donnan, Lothian, 32:55
    3. Alasdair Anthony, Central, 32:58
    4. Rob Hope, Pudsey & Bramley, 33:01
    5. Jethro Lennox, Shettleston, 33:03
    The ladies' race was won by Natalie White of Holmfirth in 40:15
    468 runners in total
    Full Championship details here
    Profile of the route

    Saturday, 11 June 2005

    Ennerdale Horseshoe

    23 miles / 7500ft
    Moderately gruelling, especially in the later stages when mind and body started packing in. I was doing more or less OK until Pillar, but went rapidly backwards between Pillar and Iron Crag, before sort of coming awake again when a Clayton guy, Tim Edward, caught me and I managed to get going again. Dropped 11 places in the second half, but at least I got round in under 5 hours. The only place I really screwed up route-wise was after Haycock when I'd stopped concentrating and was talking to Chris Reade about Nepal, and then realised we had both inadvertently climbed Caw Fell instead of skirting it to the right, thus allowing several runners to get past.
    1. Andrew Schofield won in 3:48
    2. Pete Vale, 3:52
    =3. Mike Robinson, 4:20
    =3. Leigh Warburton, 4:20
    5. Michael Cunningham
    6. Colin Valentine, 4:35
    15. Jackie Lee, 4:41 - 1st Lady
    17. Chris Upson, 4:44

    Wednesday, 8 June 2005

    Leukaemia Sponsorship

    By the way, if anyone would still like to sponsor me for my 250km Everest Sky Race in April, my Justgiving webpage is open for donations until June 18th.
    My brother-in-law Milton Mermikides received his bone marrow transplant on April 8th, but has been back in hospital for the last week with some sort of viral infection.

    Tuesday, 7 June 2005

    Coledale Horseshoe Race - 7th June

    9 miles / 3400ft
    Slightly mad, but I drove down from Glasgow for the evening to Braithwaite for this mid-week Lakes Classic. Well over a hundred runners, and a perfect evening for the race. In fact the weather was so good, it seemed a shame to be racing instead of taking in the fantastic scenery and evening light.
    Top 3 were Simon Booth, Mark Denham-Smith and Andrew Schofield. First lady was Kate Beaty.
    Route goes up Grisedale Pike first and finishes coming off Barrow

    Sunday, 5 June 2005

    Rob Milne dies on Everest

    I've just read the terrible news that Rob Milne died on Everest today 5th June.

    Yetholm Hill Race - 5th June

    8 miles / 2900ft
    The 2nd Scottish Championship counter of 2005 was won by Brian Marshall, with Jill Mykura first lady.
    The route was run in a clockwise direction.

    Saturday, 4 June 2005

    Callander Crags Race - 4th June

    3 miles / 970ft
    1. Prasad Prasad, 22:02
    2. Stuart Simpson, 24:41
    3. Michael Diver, 25:39
    4. Chris Upson, 26:27
    8. Peter Buchanan, 28:35
    31. Drew Turnbull, 35:27
    43 runners
    Unlike Bruno Brunod on Everest today, Prasad Prasad set a new course record at the Callander Crags race. I daresay Prasad got the better weather. It was warm and sunny in Callander. Bruno had to stop at 8200m on Everest, but Prasad made it all the way to the 430m summit of Callander Crags.
    Clockwise loop of Callander Crags Profile of Callander Crags route

    Thursday, 2 June 2005

    Alan Hinkes bags Kanchenjunga

    Alan Hinkes summitted Kanchenjunga, the world's 3rd highest mountain, on 30th May - 50 years and 5 days since the first ascent - becoming the first Briton to climb the world's 14 highest peaks.
    Reports at Everest News, here and at BBC News

    Kilpatricks Hill Race - 1st June

    After torrential rain most of the day in Glasgow, it brightened up slightly for the evening's race in the Kilpatricks. The final descent from The Slacks was quite tricky in mist, trying to pick out the flags and markings. A massive turnout of Westies, and a rare appearance of Jamie Thin in the west, hopefully enjoying the Bog and Burn experience. Lee Richardson (Irvine) should have won by a mile, but went wrong and overshot the turn at Loch Humphrey, thereby allowing Des Crowe to take the lead.

    Islay/Jura 27-30 May

    The first 2 photos are taken from Kintyre at NR714507, just along the coast from that famous 2m trig point. I slept by the car in the open on Thursday night, until about 5am when the midges started savaging my face, so I got up and drove back to Kennacraig for the 0700 ferry to Port Ellen. I had planned to do some bagging on Friday, but discovered once on Islay I couldn't be bothered, and thought I'd rather get straight to Jura. The third photo is taken just before crossing to Jura on Friday morning.

    Once on Jura, after bumping into Anna Forrest on the road and driving her back for her lost glasses and driving her paniers to the hotel, I at last managed to get my tent up and slept all afternoon, before a packed sociable evening in the hotel. There were 4 guys who'd been marooned there since the boat race the previous weekend.

    Saturday for the Isle of Jura Fell Race was of course a complete washout, and they had to insist on the bad weather route which avoided the summits of the 3 Paps. The weather certainly was atrocious for the entire race. Cold, very wet and very windy.

    Ironically, Sunday and Monday were both perfect hill days. Bright sunshine, but not too hot. Having thought about leaving on Saturday, I was pleased that my extra 2 days on Jura and Islay turned out worthwhile.
    Thursday night on Kintyre - No sign of Jura End of the road Paps of Jura from above Port Askaig on Islay Beinn Shiantaidh and Corra Bheinn Beinn Shiantaidh East coast of Jura Cruach Scarba and Gulf of Corryvreckan Looking south from Cruach na Seilcheig to the Paps Looking towards Cruach Scarba from summit of Cruach na Seilcheig - not real summit though West coast of Jura north of Garrisdale Looking north to Cruach Scarba Looking north to Cruach Scarba Beach on west coast of Jura - Bagh Uamh nan Giall Sea Pink - Armeria maritima Approaching Garrisdale Bothy Approaching Garrisdale Bothy Approaching Garrisdale Bothy Approaching Garrisdale Bothy Approaching Garrisdale Bothy Garrisdale Bothy Looking back to Garrisdale Bothy with Cruach Scarba in the distance Looking back to Garrisdale Bothy with Cruach Scarba in the distance Summit of Ben Garrisdale - not real summit though Ardlussa Bay The Paps from road north of Three Arch Bridge Beinn Shiantaidh from road north of Three Arch Bridge Looking across to Islay from below Jura House The gardens of Jura House The gardens of Jura House The gardens of Jura House Tulips of some sort The gardens of Jura House The gardens of Jura House Looking north to Jura from Sgorr nam Faoileann on Islay Looking north to the Paps of Jura from Sgorr nam Faoileann on Islay Sound of Islay Bunnahabhain Distillery on Islay Paps of Jura from Bunnahabhain after bagging Sgarbh Breac