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