https://westerlandsccc.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Photo-29-06-2019-13-57-56.jpg 1080 1616 Will https://westerlandsccc.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.jpg Will2019-06-30 17:33:002019-07-01 01:54:34Arrochar Alps
I hit the fireroad with 7 minutes to run the final 1 mile which would see me land a sub 4 hour time. I crossed the line in 4:01.
Perhaps the hardest bit of the day was trying to hide from the midges at the start, who I’m sure were delighted at the arrival of 136 hill runners.
My tactic was to take it steady to start with (unlike at Stuc) and concentrate on pushing hard on the climbs. With the fireroad section out the way, I arrived at the bottom of Vorlich. A sheer wall of slabs, that I’m sure even reduced Finlay to a walk. It was warm, but the clag was down to around 1,800ft, and whilst the climb was fine, I knew finding the line off the ridge to the dam would be difficult.
Summit reached in 1:09, which I think was about on track with Niall’s target times. Felt good at this point, and was looking forward to getting down to the dam. Now I think I chose the right sheer drop to go down, but I’m not sure, eventually though, I got below the clag and saw the dam, heading roughly the right way I negotiated the crags, crossed the dam and began the absolute slog up Ben Vane. I was now with a group of 6, I wasn’t 100% confident in my line, but knew I needed to hit a plateau with a major stream, followed by a gully, this seemed to work, refilled bottles at the stream, and the group of 6 were still together, we then parted ways as I found a gully and the rest f group carried on up their original route. Vis was still poor, so no surprise when I topped out I was a bit confused that the summit was to my left, not my right as I expected. Thankfully the clouds suddenly parted, and I saw the summit some 30 meters away. Id beaten the other guys up here, but they soon caught (and passed me) on the descent.
Ben Ime looked a long way away, legs were heavy and my rhythm seemed to disappear, however unlike the rest of the group I opted for the less direct, but faster ascent up Ime, and it worked. I reached the summit in 13th! The descent was fairly straightforward, as was the ascent up Narnain, just a 1000ft slog. Final summit reached at 3:18 in. I knew this was going to be close.
I opted for the Niall/Borrowdale route off Narnain. Which in recces proved to be the quickest. However on the day I’m not sure. I couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm, my foot (later discovered to be the biggest ever blister) hurt and I went over on my ankle. Picked myself up, carried on, now close to the stream crossing and the forest path. Once on that I relaxed a bit too much. Over on my ankles again, both of them. Lying on the floor now, 2 miles from the finish and not sure what do. I had to carry on. I hobbled/walked the rest of the route, I was done.