HBT proved once again willing to accept our challenge to a Grudge Match, this time to the top of Ben Ledi and back. Following a stringent selection process (“Breathing? Yep, you’re in”), fifteen yellow vests containing the finest Westies the club could muster lined up on the start against ten bedraggled and defeated looking HBT runners. Weather conditions were obliging, with a mild breeze, extensive cloud cover, and some invigorating sleet to accompany the ascent up the ridge. The tourist route had recently been improved with the introduction of a slip across a large section of the path past the gate, which led to some interesting route variations. Once past the slip, steadily deepening snow added a degree of charm to the race. Views at the top were limited, but this was no time to pause. A cracking descent, with a mixture of icy rock, wet rock, grassy rock, and finally smooth(ish) forest path to the finish.
HBT picked up first and second place, and first woman, and Westies claimed all the vet categories (Luke MV40, Val FV40, Don MV50, and Helen FV50).
Formalities over, we all retreated to the comfort of the Lade Inn for tea and cake. In the final Tallying Of The Scores, Westies took out the Placings Total (102 to 109), the Participation Total (15 to 10), and the Captain’s Bonus (awarded for the number of club runners finishing behind their captain – 6 to 1), earning the Ashes of Scottish Long Distance Running and title “Club with the Biggest Inferiority Complex”.
Thanks to all those who took part to make the event such an outstanding success. HBT have promised to issue a Grudge again next year, and I am confident the Westies will rise once again to the challenge.