The club ran the Real Rob Roy Way as a relay on Saturday 20 April. The route started in Killin, wound along Glen Dochart, crossed to Balquhidder, followed Loch Voil and the River Larig, climbed around to Glen Gyne, then Stronachlchar, through the Loch Ard Forest past Loch Chon, crossing under Ben Lomond to Rowardennan, down the West Highland Way to Milarrochy, up Conic Hill, behind Milton to Meikle Finnery, across past the Whangie to Carbeth, then back down the West Highland Way to an exceptionally excellent post-event party at the Hutchinsons’.
Twenty two or so elite participants passed the stringent entry requirements, and were allocated into two teams, with each runner being allocated two legs. With an early start to contend with, arrangements were made for use of the McLaren Hall in Killin on Friday night. An advance party duly arrived and enjoyed a light supper in the Falls of Dochart hotel, along with a carafe or two of wine. Christine’s attempts to distract us with a game of Scrabble were duly dismissed, and we all settled down for an early(ish) night. No clear winner of the Loudest Snorer competition emerged, and Tori even cast doubt onto the existence of a possible contender by claiming to have had an undisturbed night’s sleep. The only disruption was Fiona’s alarm going off at 2am, although this turned out to actually be the 5am reverie :-(.
The first challenge of the day was in deciding whether to call the whole thing off, due to lingering inebriation and severe sleep deprivation. The matter was decided by the decidedly perky arrival of Gaynor, JQ and Don, who injected a much needed burst of enthusiasm for the venture. An on-time start was accomplished, with John Hutch and Gaynor leading the way. The handover to Christine and myself was made on time, and we headed off along an easy trail to the second checkpoint. With no navigation to contend with, I had only to look out for the welcoming committee of Tori and JQ. After 7km, my few remaining functioning neurons finally engaged, and I was able to deduce that, since the leg was only 5km long I must have missed the checkpoint. Turning back, I found no sign of Tori or JQ, no sign of Christine, in fact no sign of anyone. Dejected, I headed back to the road and finally came across Fiona, who had been left to stand guard in the event of my return.
I am pleased to report than things improved from there. Tori generously assisted JQ in finding his way through the clag to Rob Roy’s Grave, the delightful Edwards family joined us, Monachyle Hotel and Rob Roy’s House were successfully ticked off, Don took a variant route to bag a new peak on his way to Glen Gyle. Jenny and Catriona did a double leg from Stonachlachar, running out with buggies, leaving the bairns with Andy and Don, and then running back. Muffy and Sharon (dressed up to look the spitting image of John Hutchinson) took the leg to the road crossing. Gaynor and John (dressed up to look the spitting image of both Paula and Sharon) ran to Dhu Loch. JQ and Christine set off toward Rowardennan, joined shortly after by David Riach and myself. I had an excuse for my late start, but recounting it might be embarrassing for Fiona. I lost track of who ran next, as the official list (prepared with loving care over so many whiskey-fueled late-night planning sessions with the eXtravananZa Planning and Drinking Committee) had by now been well and truly replaced by the Decisions of The Day ad-hoc sub-committee.
Safe to say that all the remaining legs were run, no-one got lost, all runners were accounted for, appointed times were kept, and the relay came to a successful conclusion at Clober Bridge within minutes of our estimated completion time.
The hospitality of the Simply Wonderful Hutchinsons met, indeed exceeded its usual high standards. While a few (including myself) faded, the festivities reportedly lasted into the early hours.
Thanks to all involved for pulling of what seemed an unlikely successful conclusion to a challenging day out. I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to a repeat again next year!