WHW Reccy 2009

Report by Michael O'Connor

The weather forecast had given me some cause for concern in the days prior to the run, but we were lucky and it turned out to be perfect weekend for running. Shane and I set off from Edinburgh at 9.30 a.m. and drove through to Balloch, stopping en-route at Roots and Fruits in Great Western Road. Arriving in Balloch we located the bus station and made our way to Loch Lomond Shores for a cup of tea. Back at the bus station we saw Richard, waiting for the 12.03 p.m. 309 bus to Balmaha. Safely on board the bus, we arrived in Balmaha by 12.30 p.m. It was then time for another cup of tea and some lunch in the Oak. We started running at just after 1pm.

Outside the Oak in Balmaha

A 7 mile run to Rowardennan was just enough effort to justify a stop in the pub for another quick drink.

Onward to Inversnaid where en-route there was time for some cross training on an abandoned bicycle. We were not the only runners out enjoying the Way on Saturday, Ritchie Cunningham, from Carnegie, who had run from Milngavie earlier in the day, ran with us until we reached Inversnaid. A short break at Inversnaid and then onwards to Ben Glas campsite, stopping briefly at Doune Bothy.

About here Michael showed off his cycling skills

By the
Rowardennan Hotel

It was getting dark and quite chilly by the time we arrived at the campsite. The campsite shop was closed, which was not surprising at this time of year, but there was still warmth and shelter to be found in an out building. Emergency food consumed we pressed onwards, hoping to arrive in Crianlarich before 9pm, so that we would be able to get something substantial to eat.

Doune Bothy

Alas, our lack of urgency earlier in the day meant that we were unable to make up the time and despite heroic efforts we arrived in Crainlarich at just after 9.00p.m. It would perhaps be a sweeping generalisation to say that there is no food available in the Scotland north of Balloch after 9 p.m., but it is certainly the case in Crainlarich. Shane and I ran from hotel, to pub and finally restaurant vainly seeking sustenance. The impression we were left with was that the chef at each of these establishments has a car with a getaway driver gunning the engine, which he dives into, a la Starkey and Hutch, at the stroke of 9. Luckily Richard had packed some bacon for breakfast, so we had a modest dinner cooked up in the hostel kitchen prior to retiring to the Rod and Reel for some well deserved liquid refreshment.  
The Crianlarich Youth Hostel provided reasonable accommodation, although I'd steer clear of the Continental Breakfast as it does not provide value for money.

Richard returned to Edinburgh on the Sunday, via Kingshouse, dropping our bags off. Shane and I set off for the short run from Crianlarich to Tyndrum. The sun was shinning again and with the white snow capped hills the early morning chill in the air gave an almost alpine feels to the surroundings.

Stopping for a cup of tea and a generous slice of carrot cake at the Green Welly, we were joined by Gio MacDonald. Gio had fresh legs and gave us a ½ hour head start to the next rendezvous at Bridge of Orchy. The soup at the Bridge hotel was excellent. We were then joined by Ian King who had already run from Tyndrum to Kingshouse that morning and was making this way back. Gio alternated between hill reps and running backward and forwards whilst Shane and I made slow but steady progress across the moor. Some time later we were in Kingshouse enjoying the comforts of this well positioned hotel.

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