The end of June rolls around and it’s time for another jaunt in the Arrochar Alps…
Things got off to a slightly shaky start on Friday night with a couple of issues in the marshalling team (Holly due to illness, Arron due to a cow / train conflict which seems to have ended badly for both participants!). A quick shuffle of the deck, calling in willing Westie helpers and things were back on track.
Saturday brought the usual early start to get to the village hall and set up for registration. We were on the Scottish Champs schedule again this year, so we got a big field of 136. Lots of the big names had made the pilgrimage to Loch Long in the hope of glory, together with plenty of folk more interested in simply completing another leg of the championship. Numbers handed out, kit checked and cars abandoned around the village hall due to the crazy car park prices, it was off to the start. After a quick safety briefing, (clearly ignored by those runners who still didn’t know that the true summit of Ben Vorlich is NOT the trig point), a last count of the starters and an excellent mass demonstration of the highland midge dance, it was time for the off.
I’ll leave the Westies that ran to describe the joy of the hills and glens. Suffice to say they all arrived back full of the magic of the Scottish mountain scenery and eager to enter next year’s race, if only I’d had the foresight to open entries 1 year in advance.
With the running bit done, it was back to the village hall for tea and medals, or more accurately soup and Fyne Ales beer (the brewery having once again come up trumps with a stack of prizes).
It’s hard to judge performance of the day. It could have been Finlay Wild’s winning run in 3:07:39, which missed the record by just 20 seconds. Or maybe it was Andrew Fulwood, who wasn’t content with 24km and 2400m over 4 munros and decided to add the Glen Loin loop at the end of the day. The mountain rescue were so impressed by this, they nearly came out to look! It might even have been V70 Graham Arthur getting round in 6:11:02. However, for me the standout performance was Mindy and Niall braving the man eating midges at the finish, for the best part of 4 hours, to count everyone home.
My thanks to JD, Lou, Outi, Katie, Mike, Tom, Helen, Luci, Saki, Gregor, Sam, Gwyn, Niall and Murdo for making the whole thing possible.
Hope to see you all next year.