Following a busy end to 2019, we slowly eased into 2020 with lots of plans for the year ahead. This gradual pace lasted all of two weeks and BOOM, we’re back into it!
This weekend we headed to Tyndrum to support the Tyndrum24; a Scottish midwinter trail lap race organised by the very likeable Stacey & Max Holloway from Wayoutside (https://www.wayoutside.co.uk/).
Each lap is 8km (5miles) with 150m ascent, running over a mixture of dirt tracks, rocky paths and small river crossings……..for either 6, 12 or 24 hours. As it’s still winter…..in Scotland…… the sun sets around 4pm and won’t rise until 08:30am. The race starts at 12 noon, so this means the competitors will be running trails, mostly in the dark!
Registration opened Friday evening, a bit of car-parking support provided by team Wild Highlands, a reunion with Adventure Racers from days gone by, new friends made from the Beta Outdoors Team https://www.betaoutdoorsports.com/ and a chance meeting of a fellow Anglesey Girl, Llinos Proctor, who designs beautiful original Lino prints and cards inspired with images from the Highlands https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HighlandLinnet
The evening ended with a couple of movies to help with runner motivation and raising awareness of male suicide [the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK]. https://www.thecalmzone.net/. Damien Hall’s very amusing account of his success at the UTMB and an insight into Shelli Gordon’s Montane Spine Race and very personal story, ‘Through the Pain’.
The air-horn sounded just before midday the following day and the race had begun.
With our job done for the day, we took a leisurely walk around the T24 route and cheering on the inspiring runners. After weeks of rain, the runners were blessed with a dry sunny day and very little wind. The course was a great mixture of woodlands to keep the mind focused, a nice section of fire track, and a sneaky technical river bed crossing…… could be fairly challenging in the dark!
It seems a very rare occassion where we get to mix ‘Wild Highlands’ activity, with time in the hills, so felt great to maximise on the weekend’s motivation and feel-good energy of being at an ultra event. So Sunday we headed for a short climb up Ben A’an (the plan was for a climb up Ben More, but snow stopped play), a sharp steep climb to the 454m summit, with the sun beaming down and a very icy ascent to the top, the ground was deceiving and what looked like water was just the next step to a face-plant into the ground. The views of Loch Katrine and Loch Achray, with the surrounding mountains of Ben Venue and Ben Lomond in the distance to the west, made it a truly rewarding climb.
Not only did we get to spend the weekend doing the things we love, we also got some armchair motivation, dot watching the 2020 Montane Spine Race. Cheering on friends completing their 268 mile journey and witnessing the personal journey and determination of people we don’t know…..Thomas Legrain, you had me in tears with your self-belief and determination, for anyone who wants to witness this very emotional moment, head to Montane’s Episode 8 of the race https://www.facebook.com/TheSpineRace/videos/vl.2779730498777730/468243770745102/?type=1.
Finally, our weekend of motivation was tainted by the sad Goodbye of our Feline Furball, ‘Ferdie’ (Ferds), after 21 years of loyally, following me around the country and tolerating the crazy malamute, it was time for her to hang up her catnip and join her mum……. Goodbye Ferds, we’re going to miss you xx