The Round Arran Relay is a six-stage road run around Arran. The race starts in Blackwaterfoot, on the far side of the island, and is divided into North and South sections.  So, it’s really two separate races that happen to start at the same time. The two first-stage members from each team stand back-to-back on the starting line, engage in a brief game of Who Has The Boniest Shoulders, and then head off in opposite directions.  The event is not technically a relay, as the two latter stages have a mass start shortly before the previous stage runners come in. It is pretty, however, with glorious views of hills and the sea along most of the route.

Entry is invitation only, and a Westies entry was made possible for the first time in a number of years by the tireless efforts of Chris, who managed to undo whatever it was that saw the Westies dropped from the invite list in the first place. The usual stringent selection critera were applied, resulting in Muffy, Dave and Cat running South, and Myself, Arnis and Ellie running North. Cat was a late replacement for Stefen, and was nearly a late non-replacement as she stood on the dock in Ardrossan watching the capacity 9:40 ferry sail off without her. Fortunately, she was able to board the later sailing, and, with the help of Chris (who had the foresight to bring his car across the previous day) made it to the stage-3 starting line in time.

Conditions were fearsome, as can happen at this time of year, with the sun streaming remorselessly from a cobolt-blue sky. I was given some relief from a gentle sea breeze for part of my 18km leg, but not even a thick layer of sun cream was enough to prevent the tops of my arms and shoulders turning a delicate shade of pink. A dip in the sea after the stage end in Pirnmill did much to revive my spirits. Arnis had perhaps the toughest leg, with a long, hot climb up Glen Chalmadale. He had a slightly shattered look about him when he boarded the bus that brought us back to Brodick. Once there, we met up with the rest of the team, along with Chris and the bairns — Benjamin and Amy. All in all, and despite the heat, it was a superb day out. I don’t recall any obvious signs of having disgraced ourselves, so lets hope we’re allowed back again next year.

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