Sunday, 24 October 2010

A Devilishly Good Day Out

With Vikki running the Fling and the Devil O The Highlands next year and me also giving the Fling a go as a solo runner, it was high time to get some West Highland Way training under our belts - well, any excuse for a day away from the kids amongst some great scenery!

We decided to run from Kings House up the Devil's Staircase and over to Kinlochleven, then back by the same route to Kings House but keep on going to Ba Bridge, then back to Kings House again. Vikki, Annie, Laurie, Jonathan, Matt "Tutters" Tutt and I set off in the car with the plan to meet Minty (if his tent hadn't been washed away by the rain) and Mike at KH. After the usual faffing around - arguing with hotel staff who were a bit reluctant to let us use the toilet (even when we promised we would be back for food and beer) and taking the mick out of Tutters for his matching clothes and very white shoes - we set off in the sunshine towards the magnificent sight of Glencoe.

The run to Kinlochleven was great fun, nice and easy paced to take in the scenery and chat to everyone, with a quicker charge down the track near the water pipes. We passed a few walkers including an elderly German who was becoming angry because he couldn't find the right path to Loch Eilde Mor - I hope he found his way although I don't think we were much use! I think it took us 2 hours overall which seemed fairly reasonable. We stopped for a while to get a cup of tea at Ice Factor and checked out their shop for lots of nice jackets I can't afford, before we set off again on the return - a long steady climb back up into the hills. Mike suggested a race down the Devil's Staircase but nobody took him up on the offer - as it happened he flew down with Vikki close behind him, I jogged down on tired legs but got overtaken by Minty and Tutters; J had a wee fall but we all made it safely to the bottom. Back along the track towards the hotel, I felt a wee pain in my hip again (getting slightly worried about this now) and despite some Ibuprofen, the last couple of miles were pretty slow and I decided at that point not to keep going, so waved off the other runners and went to the bar with Tutters to meet Annette (who had been out taking photos) and Annie and Laurie (who had had a nice gentle walk while we'd been running) and drink some beer while waiting for the others to return. Matt had actually been thinking about continuing the run, but considering that he'd never run more than about 7 miles or been on any trails before, he probably made the right decision.

By the time the other runners got back to the hotel, it was time to pile back in the car and head for home so we said our good-byes to Minty and to Mike and Annette, took some photos of deer grazing near the hotel (not sure if they were the same ones we saw on the ridge earlier but they might have been), and headed off into the sunset (actually the sunset was in the other direction, but let's not let reality get in the way of a decent cliché).

Overall, it was a lovely day out in some great scenery with near perfect weather (despite a week of unpromising forecasts) and great company - a lot of nice blethering with many a laugh...

Click on the picture above to see more pictures.