Last weekend was meant to be one of the highlights of my racing season – the Grampian Mountain Challenge (GMC). Unfortunately, a recent injury meant that it was not to be. Determined not to let this get in my way, I turned up with my trusted mountain bike for what was a really fun weekend in the Cairngorms. This is a biannual mountain marathon event run by Grampian orienteers, and this year the event centre was in Braemar. What makes this event particularly nice for a mountain marathon is that the organisers transport everyone’s tents, sleeping bags, dry shoes, clothes etc to the midcamp, and an evening meal and breakfast are also provided. There is even beer on sale if you forgot to pack enough spirits in your overnight bag! Finally, what really makes this event great is that on both days there is a shorter pure orienteering section using 1:10,000 scale maps as well as the ‘standard’ mountain marathon course to navigate.
So, to the event: I can report that all the Westies taking part found the start, midcamp and the finish (no small feat for one of the Westies taking part….). I had a nice cycle on both days whilst Katie, Tom and Gwyn were out looking for the controls, red squirrels, mountain hares and grouse. Saturday evening at midcamp was fantastic with quite a few beers being consumed in good company whilst looking at maps of the day’s route. There were even some fireworks thrown in for good measure.
Hopefully I will be injury free in two years time to actually run in the event, rather than just crash the midcamp party to claim my finishers mug and t-shirt 😊.