Braemar MRT decided that the gusting winds made most of the tops too dangerous for the usual route so Alastair Hubbard and his gang laid on a slightly shorter, and generally lower route (as per attached map) and his pre race briefing commenced with the words “welcome to the Glenshee 1”!
Some of the purists/diehards, or first timers seeking to tick off one of the great Scottish Long Classics, may have been disappointed but the restricted route certainly provided a good test for the souls who did brave the conditions. The first half provided plenty of chances to stretch the legs on tracks and paths, and a largely following wind and even a little sunshine made for pretty decent running conditions, to the extent that one was starting to think “maybe we could`ve done the full route”. However, the second half dispelled any such notions, with 2 big climbs, the first up to Coire Loch Kander, and the second (part of the usual route) from the road crossing and up Carn Aosda. During the latter I heard alot of swearing which almost drowned out that coming from my own mouth, the after effects of my Tour of Clydeside (http://dunbartonshireaaa.co.uk/tourofclydesideabout/) beginning to be felt. The reason for the restricted route was well and truly brought home as one plateaued out approaching the summit of Carn Aosda, that last 800m or so requiring a heads down, arms pumping style of walk to make any progress into the wind, before the last sweep down a grassy slope to the finish, and straight into the cafe to swap the tea ticket for some very welcome lentil soup, home made scone and jam, and coffee.
Alastair Hubbard is to be commended on some very thoughtful route alterations to give a full race whilst avoiding the worst of the wind.
There was some middle of the field Westerlands packing with Roddy C, me, Leyre and Maya arriving back in that order, with around 5ish minutes separating each of us, from about 3 hours 35 minutes through 3 hours 50 minutes. I believe that the winner was round in about 2 hours 15 minutes, and that Sam Alexander was 4th, but as ever these guys were away on another planet.
Some berry purchases just north of Blairgowrie and a quick beer back in Glasgow rounded off a very satisfying and adventurous day out.