Just before 5am on Sunday John Ryan arrived back at the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel having compleated Ramsay’s Round in a fast time of 20 hrs 52 minutes. This was the last of the UK Big 3 Rounds [Bob Graham Round (England) and Paddy Buckley Round (Wales)], and together with his compleations of the Wicklow Round and the Denis Rankin Round, becomes the first person to compleat all 5 Rounds in under 24 hours.
John was supported by a band of eleven Ramsay’s Round enthusiasts, including several Carnethy members, in perfect conditions in the first recorded Round of 2018. The few remaining patches of late spring snow presented no problems, although winter gear was carried for the majority of the Round. Timing the Round to perfection, John descended The Ben, as the cloud base descended and light rain started to fall. The head torches of John and his 3 support runners provided entertainment for the security guards at the Glen Nevis campsite as they watched in disbelief the lights rapidly descend down the snow filled Red Burn gully, and continue in a direct line down to the glen.
Ramsay’s round info: http://www.ramsaysround.com/
Read John’s account in the upcoming journal
You couldn’t have got better weather, or a better feast at Keith’s. Great soup served by delightful children, and just an amazing layout of food and cake. I have eaten far too much. I’m not alone in that! Many thanks to Bärbel and the cake bringers.
Plastic in the sea is very topical but the entire coastline is littered with planks. The timber came off cargo vessel the Frisian Lady on March 2 while it was 110 nautical miles east of Souter Lighthouse, off the South Shields coast. There have been dire warnings that taking this littering eyesore is criminal. Actually the environmental impact is criminal, and it’s going to be around for a very long time. Get out and help yourselves. You’ll have to carry it miles though. No-one else is going to clear it up.
A great day out; all 34.4 miles of it! More if you took some of the longer beach headland variations, or went to the seabird center and the gps hunted about for a signal.
For the record we had 23 starters for the AJMW 18, most filing elaborate but believable reasons for not going the full distance, even with bicycle assistance. The two features of this year’s outing were the planks scattered (we hear) the length of the North Sea coastline from a ship that shed its load (off Newcastle in a storm) and the perfect weather. The photos tell the story well. The Seabird Centre presented its usual timekeeping challenge with good coffee and bacon rolls. The tide was out, allowing a splinter group to take the boulder beach and tide-trap option around the Tantallon headlands. The rest of us traversed the top of the Gin Head cliffs and along the Castle moat to re-join the shore party at Seacliffe harbour. The low tide exposed vast swathes of sand and boulders for route choice to Ravensheugh and the bike pick up for the return half. Lunch at East Linton presented the usual conflict between feeding and timekeeping, with lunch and afternoon tea merging seamlessly. The River Tyne path was a riot of wild garlic and tree blossoms. On the ascent to the Garleton Hills Mike and Neil got confused by Mark H’s strictly runners-only option after leaving the river. They climbed to the Hopetoun monument by the hitherto unexplored Cogtail Burn valley to emerge back on route to enjoy the valuable practice at double-barbed-wire-fence-with-wall crossing at the foot of final climb. All were in, and all-in, after around 8 hours of glorious sunshine.
Next year we have experimental modifications to remove a lot of tarmac from the second half.
Alan’s pics –
Jeff’s pics –
The 17 Wards Ultra run, the 4th in this year’s series, was completed today by Jonny Muir (well, it was his idea).
12 started at 0830 down the A70 at Little Vantage and enjoyed wet feet from the start along Thieves Road. East Cairn Hill and Allermuir and lots of bog got us to Juniper Green and 16 miles done. A few dropped out leaving 8. We Headed for The Southside Hills and I bailed near home, then Jeff Roberts bailed leaving half the starters. Lucas Lefevre and Alan Hogg called it quits some time later and by the Royal Mile, or the 36th Mile, all but Jonny was prepared to continue when Michelle Hetherington and Mick James called it a day also. I drove into town with food and drinks to help refuel Jonny, and Rachael Normand came out also and we saw Jonny off with a half marathon to do. The rest of us drove to a pub with parking, then Rachael cycled to catch Jonny with a head torch, smile and a rucsac of moral support.
Jonny managed the full route that ended up being 49 miles and 11.5 hrs of running. A great achievement for him and the rest of us who had a go. Nice route in parts and certainly novel.
More pics from Michelle and Nadine…
Sixteen Carnethys turned out for various stages on the run. Four joined along the way, Digby and Nicola Dunn made use of a shortcut option, and others left early to meet commitments having done their fill. This makes for a great way of running with always someone new to chat to. The pace was relaxed and the café in Walkerburn excellent. Cool bright clear weather showed winter isn’t over, but spring is on the way and clumps of snow drops here and there confirming that we were the lucky ones.
I suffered and slogged away at the back, then cut my run short after 27+ miles with the prospect of a lift home. Well done to Pete Buchanan, Lucas Lefevre, Graham Nash, Andy Howett, Auren Clark, Aisling Ailing and Alan Hogg who did the whole route of around 30 miles, with others doing at least 14 miles. Everyone who wanted to get to see the rugby did, and I think everyone got home from Galashiels.
For those of you thinking an Ultra run (>26.2 miles) like this is beyond you, get this out of your heads. Come along and see where you get to, you might be surprised, and yes, you can do it. The pace accommodates everyone there. Thanks to Pete B for the route plan and to all those who enjoyed the stunning Borders.
Pete Buchanan’s write up here
Shorter circuit from Yair with short cut:
As good a day as I’ve ever seen in the Borders. Lovely sunshine, crisp and cold. Mature pine woods (see them now, the chainsaws are advancing), great views from the ridge. A splendid 21 miles starting in Yair, and after visiting the café in Walkerburn, Nicola and I took a shorter route directly up the valley to meet the Southern Upland Way at the top (on our shortcut a prominent forest track marked on the map must have been marked 30 years ago, and it snagged and tripped us as we beat our way up feeling intrepid), pausing to snack in the sunshine and see if the fasties, on a longer route, would appear. Which they didn’t. So we set off slowly. They soon arrived and we were together again until returning to Yair, where various permutations either carried on back to Galashiels, bailed, or got into cars.
Those who started and finished in Galashiels did the true Ultra distance, some did a marathon distance, and I was well pleased to do the 21 miles. The Yair loop with the short cut is shown in yellow on the map. The short cut took 2 miles off the distance (measured from the Café).
We must do this again! (on a sunny day of course)
The Sea 2 Summits idea came about in 2016 as a novel way to link to the coast to tops of the hills. In February 2017 a group of us tried it, but heavy rain from the start dampened our enthusiasm and we cut short to Balerno. Heavy snow and frost were the challenge this year but Saturday’s forecast was for another ‘best day of the year’ day. The second challenge of the day was how to feed along the way since the route avoided refuel stops on a run whose length and commitment in the second half really needed a café. Jeff Roberts came up trumps with the Park View Café in Mid Calder.
A group of 9 Carnethys set off from under the Forth Road Bridge with toes in the Sea at 0930, and headed down the old railway line towards Kirkliston at a fairly leisurely pace enjoying the fresh morning air. Icy paths and snow from the start made for careful footwork being needed. From Kirkliston we joined the River Almond which remained our partner for the next 7 miles by the odd bit of bundu bashing, graffiti bridges with apt slogans, swing parks and frozen ploughed fields. The stunning West Lothian Viaduct and various arched bridges and the canal aqueduct make this section really interesting and worthy of a run on its own, since Almondale Country Park shows more delights than you expect. After 10 miles we made it to the excellent Park View Café in Mid Calder for welcome bacon butties, coffee and cakes. Nicola Dunn left us here (recovering from flu), Sarah Robertson headed for the gym and a 48 mile race in Suffolk next weekend, and Mary Lye tag-teamed with Matt Jones and we were down to seven. The food was great and a second butty ordered – which we were glad of later.
The second half of the run turned out to be long and hard and nowhere near a half, more a first third and second 2/3rds. We followed the river further upstream before cutting up to Selm Wood and joined the Scottish National Trail past the Hilly Cow Wigwams where Lucas Lefevre enjoyed a cuddle with my shadow. From here the snow started to get tricky and energy sapping with drifts and knee deep powder-fluff over heather. We weren’t halfway till we crossed the A70 at 1400 onto Thieves Road, but East Cairn Hill was in sight, even if maybe 2hrs away yet in the conditions. In 2017, the Thieves Road path was flooded in ankle deep water and shin deep bog. We still had shin deep bog, but today it was hidden by knee deep snow. Joy.
East Cairn Hill succumbed to brute force and the bonus of a youthfully energetic Auren Clarke breaking trail with Alan, Jeff and Lucas, while Lee Murphy, Matt Jones and I brought up the rear. But my god, was it worth it at the top for the views and ambience of the scenes around us. Cloud inversion, snow crystals in the air, pink mountain tops in the evening glow. We could just make out the FRB in the distance and Pentlandia around us through breaks in the mist. Jeff broke out the Drambuie and we celebrated his birthday and contemplated a viable route to Allermuir, maybe 10 miles away still. We set off, flogging our way through more drifts of varying depths and even broke out Matt’s compass to get to the Borestane safely. Snow gaiters helped some of us along with Micro Spikes, while others’ shoes looked like frozen sheep with pom-pom attachments. The direct shorter route over Kitchen Moss to the Howe was de-selected as an option and we headed North down the Drove Road in the sunset then turned right towards Bravelaw Castle making use of the track for faster travel. Alan Hogg and Jeff had a momentary wobble thinking of heading for Balerno since time was marching on and it was dark, but we dissuaded them from being big Jessies.
Familiar trails had us running to Glencorse by starlight and a crescent moon. We donned head torches, jumped the wall and cut up across the field to the metal sign and the bottom of Castlelaw Hill and walked / bobbed up the reverse Boghall route to the col and up onto Allermuir. We were later than planned, but who cares, apart from Jeff who was late for his birthday party. Epic trips deserve relishing the finish, and the lights of Edinburgh had us all smiling, and imagining the beer in the Steading. We jogged down the Swanston path then cut across to the ski slope, avoiding the road by cutting further across to the Skyline start, where we got the last few shots, and then down the trail to the pub, finishing at 1910 with beer and medals.
Leg 1 – South Queensferry to Mid Calder – 16.5km, 220m ascent, 2hrs 20mins
Leg 2 – Mid Calder to The Steading – 32km, 1020m ascent, 6hrs 20 mins
Café Stop – 40 mins
Total run – 48.5km, 1240m ascent, 8hrs 40 mins
We commend this Ultra to Carnethy. It is a cracking route. I could be done quicker, but may never be better.
On Saturday I raced the inaugural Montane Cheviot Goat Ultra in Northumberland. The route was approx. 85km with 3000m of climb and took in a section of the Cheviots ridgeline along the border with a few other hills thrown in for good measure.
The weather conditions on the day were as good as we could have hoped for but underfoot the going was tough with layers of soft snow and slush on top of thawing peat bog and heather. I managed to hold onto the lead group until the halfway point at Barrowburn farm (the only drop bag/aid station checkpoint on the route) where Jim Mann and Andy Berry started to open up a big lead on the rest of us. From Barrowburn to Windy Gyle I stayed within sight of Pavel Paloncy, occasionally running together and having a chat before he pushed ahead on the rough ground towards the Cheviot – home turf for him from his previous Spine Race completions.
The final few hills between the Cheviot and the finish at Ingram were tougher than expected and seemed to go on forever but the beautiful sunset and fun, snowy descents kept me going. In the darkness I could see a few headtorches not far behind which gave me the push I needed to keep a speedy pace up towards the finish line. I ended up in 4th place about an hour behind Jim and Andy who finished together in joint 1st place.
The race was well organised and had just the right level of self sufficiency to feel like a proper winter challenge. It’s ideally timetabled for people running the Spine Race/Challenger in January but also makes a great training race to keep the motivation up in midwinter when the event calendar is a bit sparse.
Results here http://live.opentracking.co.uk/cheviotgoat17/
Photo of me from Martin Ellis http://www.martinandjohnphotography.co.uk/, others by race marshals.
A load of Carnethies made the journey along to Foxlake last Saturday for the inaugural Foxlake Nocturnal Ultra. A simple idea, one of the few as-many-laps-as-you-can ultras, consisting of a 5k loop and time limit of 6 hours. I’d entered a while ago as a means to getting a long run during the winter, which is something I always struggle to do. Also, my workmate, Roger, managed to persuade me that 5k laps would be fun and we should totally do it. I’m really not an ultra person, as I always just buckle at an early stage and withdraw. It seems that I can happily run ultra distances, as long as there’s alcohol involved and nice stops at country pubs. I have no idea why this is. So it seemed only sensible that I ask the organisers via facebook if there was a bar, and if it had beer, and if I was able to have a pint on the way round, but they laughed it off thinking I was joking. Em…haha!(?) A subsequent race-prep email confirmed that if anyone turns up drunk they’ll be ejected from the event. Sob.
So to the race itself. The route was actually really good. Lovely single-track trails through forests, and edges of fields, over bridges and weaving through farms. Coloured lights lit-up sections of forest, people whizzed overhead on zipwires, and they even put a “rave barn” on the route to run through which was great fun. FYI: it was more of a disco barn as I didn’t hear any of the Old Skool Anthems I was expecting. It was all great fun and had a brilliant atmosphere.
At the leading end of things, Carnethy heroes Dave Hanna, Matt Curry and Nicola Duncan were all pushing hard in the solo event, followed not far behind by Phil Humphries and my workmate Roger. In the teams, Eoin, Aisling and John Busby had formed a team for Aisling’s work and were always out in front, but Alan Renville also had a Carnethy team in who were also running strongly. During the race it was very hard to tell, because the live timing results were nothing short of incomprehensible, so for the entire thing I had no idea who was winning at anything.
In the end, Nicola won the Ladies’ event, Dave Hanna was second male, Matt third male, Phil 7th male, and Roger 10th male. I withdrew as expected, obviously. I chucked it on the 8th lap, after confirming 8 times that there was no bar, and I just fell apart. Eoin, Aisling and John won the mixed teams prize, with Alan Renville and co in third place.
I thought that the results presentation hid some of the outstanding runs involved. For the presentation the solo males and females were separated, as were male, female and mixed teams. So, I thought I’d pool some of them together. It was pleasing to see that in the top 6 overall included three males and three females. Also, the overall team results were dominated by mixed team, not a male-only team, setting a high bar for any team in future.
|Stuart Paterson||14||6:05:57||21:37.3||Solo Males|
|David Hanna||14||6:28:41||23:50.3||Solo Males|
|Nicola Duncan||13||5:51:09||23:27.6||Solo Females|
|Matthew Curry||13||5:59:38||23:30.8||Solo Males|
|Ali Wyllie||13||6:06:00||24:43.4||Solo Females|
|Jo Newens||13||6:10:52||26:32.4||Solo Females|
|Team Lennon Busby Allum||18||6:14:52||0:17:07||Mixed Teams|
|Team Ross Pollock Parks||17||6:11:11||0:18:44||Male Teams|
|Team Griffin Saunders Peacock||17||6:21:45||0:19:51||Male Teams|