Myself and James originally entered this way back in the winter but James decided to pull out due to being soft… Anyway luckily I spotted Iain doing some stuff on strava meaning he was back on dry land. He seemed keen to do the race, and I knew that with him only having 6 weeks of training I should be able to just about keep up with him.
Onto the race weekend, it was a long drive north on Friday evening stopping for a giant pizza on the way. We just made Friday registration and got to bed early enough. We were down to get a 7:30 bus so it was an early morning, porridge and coffee was consumed and we were on our way to the start. The fog was down in the valleys so not quite as good weather as the forecast or so we thought. Of the start, grab the map, grab the control descriptions, try not to make mistakes and start running.
First control was up a steep stream then it was an interesting over or around to number 2. As we climbed we got above the cloud/fog with amazing views… Unfortunately, we had to drop back into the pea soup and made our first mistake… heading too far right on a baring. 4 was easy, with a tricky river crossing. But 5 was a proper mistake. Spotting Maddy and Michelle from Helensburgh up ahead we followed them to say hello. Unfortunately, we were following the wrong stream. The mistake was quickly spotted but correcting it was a bit of a faff. 6 we went around instead of over, 7 skirted the summit of a munro (I was gutted we couldn’t go to the top). At this time the sun started coming out and it was scorchio… 8 was a tricky traverse across some steep terrain. Then more traversing to 9 before a fast downhill to 10 and the finish. We were both really happy with the day so went and got some food and got the tent pitched. It was then onto the pints to rehydrate.
Other Westies had mixed runs, but all were in a great mood. Chatting about route choices, the amazing hills, ticks etc etc… It was interesting to hear we were only 3 minutes behind Gwyn and Stanley. Many more pints were had and in a recurring theme myself and Iain were the last to leave the pub. A not bad night’s sleep was had (due to being slightly drunk) but I was very wolly headed/cotton mouthed the next morning. I tried to get some breakfast down but eating stoggy oaty stuff was difficult.
Day two started in a similar way to the first day. Get map, control descriptions, draw route on map, try not to make mistakes (I made mistakes), then start running. We started at about the same time as Gwyn and Stanley so hopefully we could keep up with them. The first 3 controls were all along a steep climb and I was suffering. Again we climbed above the cloud into a stunning inversion. 4th control was the top of a corbett and due to controls in optional order we saw Gwyn and Stanley (they were well ahead). 5 was a tricky decent but the fog was clearing, 6 a quick traverse, 7 was a long leg through non-descript terrain but we naved it well. 8 and 9 were along a ridge then up a river. 10 was a long climb through horrible terrain. It was really hot and I felt like I was starting to fade so I stuffed a gel down. Along to 11 the gel kicked in, then 12 was a great decent. 13 and 14 were mickey mouse controls to take us back to road and then onto the finish. When we got to the finish we both collapsed in the shade job well done. While lying in the shade we noticed Gwyn and Stanley coming into the finish… There was a quick bit of mental arithmetic before discovering that we’d actually beat them… A mistake heading to 7 had cost them the bragging rights.
Home was another long drive (thanks again to Iain) stopping again for a massive pizza. A great weekend was had by all. In particular, well done to the Westies prize winners…