The trouble with Mountain Marathons is having to carry tents, cookers, food, changes of clothes etc. Then there is the overnight camp where you are stuck in your cold tent in the dark with only your running partner for company (if they are still talking to you!).
Well last weekend I found the answer thanks to Helen (It is not often Helen Wise teaches me anything).
With Heather being busy with Mothering I was the late replacement to run the Grampian Mountain Challenge with Helen.
This event happens every 2 years somewhere in the Grampian Mountains, this years event centre was at Dinnet, by Morven.
The first day is 2 orienteering sections , forest and then mountain. Then you end up at the camp. The second day is mountain and then forest orienteering to get you back. We were in the C class about 40K.
The best thing is that they take a bag of kit to the overnight camp for you.
So the kit bag was filled with a much much bigger tent than Lisa’s solar laser competition 1, (that I and half of Helen slept in in the Mourne MM), a jumper , dry shoes, socks, Beer, more Beer, big cooker, gloves, sleeping bags, thermarests, whisky, lots of food and anything else we could think of.
So with day sacks on we headed into the woods. The 1:10,000 meant that we came across the controls very quickly, and surprisingly we didn’t really get lost at all, then we hit the hill. It was a hard day out with 16.5 miles 1000m of ascent, with a lot of it through soft snow, but we found all the controls and got to the camp in just over 6 hours.
Then we had the big tent up in the Carnethy section (Alex and John) and had a coffee from the Marquee before changing into our dry clothes eating our Mountain House meal. Then we went to the “Heated” Marquee for a blether and beer with a hotdog, then at 7 pm we watched the fireworks before being served our pasta meal (I had seconds).
After a good nights sleep we packed up and I defrosted my shoes in front of the heater before we headed off.
Day 2 was a bit harder as the soft snow had crusted overnight and we were Post Holing through it most of the way. But we hit the controls and as we descended out of the snow towards the forest section Helen started squealing with pain. The snow had scraped and cut her ankles leaving her with open sores and frostnip. My helpful comment that longer socks might have been a good idea was NOT what she wanted to hear.
If you want to see how bad Helen’s ankles are click here WARNING (not for the faint hearted)
The forest orienteering section went with only on slight mistake and with my knees and Helen’s ankles we waddled in to Dinnet in just over 6 hours again having done 15 miles and 750m. Alex and John were there having come first pair in the A class. We ended up well down the field in 15th but were first mixed Vets.
There was a BBQ and after a burger roll we headed for home picking up a real coffee in Ballater.
A good event , if you like that sort of thing.
ps We work very well as a team, I get us to close to the control and then Helen’s eagle eyes spot it.
This fact was best shown in the final forest when Helen said “I can see it in the lochan”, I said “it is a hill top”, but she could see the reflection of it in the lochan, but somehow that didn’t stop her not being able to find it!