Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Water Way To Go....

No pictures sadly, but last night was the annual Beaver's end of term water fight at which everyone got well and truly soaked. As ever, it was great fun but sadly it was Emma's last night in charge after being involved for about 10 years. A collection had been made for a wee gift and flowers, and we got all the boys (including some of the Scouts who were there who had been Beavers) to raise a great big cheer. It was hard to tell with all the water everywhere, but I think she shed a tear or two.

So, pending official appointment, I'm the leader. Worried? You should be. I am!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

On the March

There are some pictures on facebook here.

The views from the ski centre were amazing with Rannoch Moor in one direction and Glencoe in the other, and we met up again with team Lintie and team Remoh. Remoh had been tiring so was sleeping in the car to recharge the batteries, and Lintie arrived in need of cold drink and a sandwich. Llama called on the mobile to see how things were going and when he told Dod that Lintie was there, he wanted to speak to her so I trotted across the car park with my phone, leaving V at the food counter with no money!

After food and an attempt at sleep, we got ready for George and the guys to appear as the midges began to swarm. Slight panic when we decided that it would be best for V to go in support for the next bit instead of starting at Kinlochleven, but George and Keith were taking a wee break so she had plenty of time to get back into running mode, not that much running was going to be required. So, as the sun went down, they were off again towards Kings House with the plan to rendezvous with the cars at the bottom of the Devil's Staircase - where Llama told me that he'd broken his windscreen trying to get the rear view mirror back on because it had fallen off when they tried to adjust it. He was a bit worried about getting picked up by the police so we decided that the best plan was for me to drive Andy back to Bridge of Orchy. Strangley enough, we did see a police car on that drive, as well as a deer at the side of the road which we complimented for not jumping out in front of the car. Of course, that meant that on the way back, a couple of deer ran right across in front of me, forcing me to brake. I couldn't help but laugh to myself when I saw this about a minute later:

I got back to the Devil's Staircase and Steve was still there - the guys were taking a bit longer than we expected for this section, but it gave us time to admire the moon and the way that Buachaille Etive Mòr was somehow catching the very last of the light, and to chat to some of the other racers and supporters. After a while, our wee posse appeared, trooped off up into the gloom, and we were back in the cars heading for Kinlochleven. The absurdity of following a guy driving a mirror-less car around the Scottish highlands after midnight while our friends were running/and walking somewhere in the hills around us really struck me at this point. Thankfully I had Mark E Smith to keep me sane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxcr8kSGbcs

Tried to get some sleep at Kinlochleven and dozed on a couch for a bit but felt my gout flaring up and started really hoping that the current team of Mike and Vikki were good to see George all the way to the finish. Walking around helped a bit so when Llama woke up we went out to see if we could spot any lights on the hillside. It didn't seem long before we spotted them coming, and then realised that Mike had come down quicker with instructions about food and drink and the information that V would be very happy if I could take over for a bit. My foot still felt a wee bit sore, but it would be OK, so I changed into my cushioned running shoes and started sorting out my pack while George sat down and had a can of Guinness!

But soon we were off, and walking up the hill out of the village in the dark, looking forward to the sun rise as we headed through the Lairig Mor, with me thinking there was no way out at the far end until we finally rounded the corner and the landscape opened up a bit again. George and Keith were obviously very tired by now, and George's feet were hurting badly, but we were still moving at a decent pace and I knew these guys would see it through. I'd thought Mike was going to make it to the finish, but he hadn't had enough sleep or food (too busy worrying about George to think of his own needs) and said he'd want to stop at Lundavra. I tried to call ahead to get V ready to be on the move again but there was no reception, so it came as a bit of a shock when we arrived at the check-point and we said we could do with a swap. To make things worse, George decided to head straight through without stopping. Llama soon caught us up - fittingly he was going to be with us to the finish now, after being there with George and Keith at the start of their adventure.

As we made our way through Nevis Forest, a glint seemed to return to Keith's eye, George perked up a bit, and we all picked up the pace a wee bit as we admired the views of the Ben. Before we knew it, we were out of the woods (literally, and we hoped figuratively) and descending towards Braveheart car park where Merv was waiting to say hello. Not far to go now and we walked in formation into Fort William. There was a touching moment when K and G shook hands before breaking into a trot across the car park and up the steps of the Leisure Centre. 163 miles in 56 hours (or something like that). Pretty bloody amazing, and I'm pleased to have played a small part in that.

The next few hours were all about catching up with everyone else and getting breakfast before the prize giving where every finisher was cheered as they collected their crystal goblet. A huge well done to every one of them - I hope to perhaps join that illustrious band. Maybe. Some time. Perhaps.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Tyndrum to Glencoe

So, to Tyndrum, the village in the middle of nowhere (or in the middle of everywhere as they like to call it) and a pleasant surprise in meeting Dave K and Carolyn who were out for a wee walk, a pick-nick, and to watch the runners on their merry way. They were able to give us a quick run-down so we knew the other Fetchies were doing well and pushing on ahead of us up the trail (being near the back is something I'm well used to, but it must have seemed a bit strange to Dod at times, I think). The guys came through with a quick stop for a chat, then off to Bridge of Orchy where Mike was going to take a break and Llama and his imaginary friend Andy were going to run for a bit. We also decided that V was going to run for a bit as well.
While waiting at BoO, we also met JammyLu and HappyG(rrr), got our first sight of Soph's "sunshine bus", and saw Lintie come through with RFSQL and Jules - all looking strong and running well despite the crazy heat. Not for the last time, it felt like one big alcohol-free (almost) party, slowly moving up the country with already familiar faces, and getting familiar faces appearing at each stop. The scenery around BoO was great (don't think I've ever been there in the sunshine before) but it seemed even nicer at our next stop, Victoria Bridge. There must have been a dozen tents around there and quite a few people milling about, but it still felt extremely tranquil and isolated. Just fab, really. Mike and I had some time to burst blisters and take photos of a totally unperturbed stag before we spotted our runners on the zig-zag slope down the hill and I went out to chat to them all and see if they needed anything while Mike got ready at the car to dole out the supplies. For two guys that had now covered well over a hundred miles, George and Keith were still going strong, keeping to a good steady walking pace. V decided to take a break in order to be fresh for later on, so we picked her up at the Forest Lodge (where the "No Stopping" sign seemed just right for race day) and headed for Glen Coe and the prospect of some cooked food at the ski centre, despite the best efforts of an idiot driver who couldn't make up his mind which side of the road he should have been on. Eejit!


Monday, 21 June 2010

It's All George's Fault...

...although it's also Keith's fault, and Balmedie Beach's fault, and a bottle of wine's fault, and facebook's fault, and Mike's, and Llama's, and V's, and I suppose I have to take some of the blame for the rather bizarre weekend we've just had.
In case anyone doesn't know, George and Keith had decided to warm up for the gruelling 95 mile West Highland Way Race by running a gruelling 95 miles in the opposite direction in less than 24 hours giving themselves roughly an hour to freshen up between (generally, the word "nutters" should be springing to mind at this point). To assist them in this, Keith had Merv and Gary and Kirsten (apologies if any names are wrong but the old memory's not what it used to be) and George had Mike and Llama.
Meanwhile, I was looking forward to a nice quiet weekend with the kids, right up to Thursday night when the lovely mrs s got back from the Balmedie Beach Bash and decided she needed some wine to get over the horrors of running on sand. At this point, Mike seized his opportunity, and using the power of facebook, he pointed out that he and Llama felt that it would be nice to have another runner around on Saturday evening and night, just in case. Of course, the idea that Vikki could be that runner was ridiculous - she didn't want to go on her own, we have children to look after, and the idea of taking the children with us was unthinkable. So, obviously by Saturday lunchtime George and Keith (and a hundred and sixty or so other runners) were making their way Northwards (having not quite done the whole 95 miles Southwards but not too bothered), the children were with their grandparents and Vikki and I were driving Westwards with a pile of clothes, sleeping bags, food, and drink in the back of the car. So much for my nice quiet weekend!
After almost running Mike over as he came out of Ewich forest, we rolled up to Auchtertyre Farm
to see everyone and generally find out what was going on. George decided to strip off - if only I had that effect on women - and wanted to show Llama his chafed bits as he chomped his way through a pot noodle. Thankfully he got into some fresh clothes before he and Keith set off towards Tyndrum with Kirsten and Mike in support while we piled back into the car and almost ran Mike over for the second time that day.


Sunday, 13 June 2010


Had a great day out in the hills yesterday - a bit of running, a bit of walking, and plenty of chat with a good group of friends. Got a lift to Glen Muick with Dod and Lintie where we met up with Mike and Jonathan. The plan was to head up to Cac Carn Beag (the main peak above Lochnagar) then decide on the route depending on how everyone was feeling. The weather was kind and legs were coping well with the easy pace so we decided to take the longer way back via Carn an t-Sagairt Mòr, Cairn Bannoch, and Broad Cairn (we missed out Carn a' Choire Bhoidheach from the recognised round for some reason I can't quite remember). The weather was kind - strong wind at times, but not too cold and with a bit of sunshine - and I had a lovely day out.

Great company, great mountains and great views. Big thanks to Jonathan for organising it.

I've put the best of my photos on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=240898&id=826853218&l=467cdcf57a which should be accessible, even if you don't have a facebook account. Please let me know if it doesn't work.