27-28 February
WHW Recce in the Snow
Organised by Michael O'Connor

Five Carnethies, Michael, Shane, Ian, Ramon and Richard, set off for a run along the West Highland Way this weekend. The weather forecast predicted strong winds and low temperature ("Heavy Snow in the North"), but when we arrived at Balmaha the sun was shining and there was not a breath of wind. The Oak Inn was as hospitable as ever. A very nice lunch was accompanied by a new sports drink called Landlords Best. In such convivial surroundings it is hard to stick to a pre-planned running schedule, which was a theme for the rest of the day.

After a quick 7 mile sprint, to try to make up some time, we stopped at Rowardennan for some more sports drinking before dashing along to Inversnaid, where it was felt that tea might be a better option. Alas no scones were on offer at Inversnaid, but Ramon had a selection of well travelled biscuits to share.

We almost made it to Benglas before darkness fell. As this point the temperature dropped dramatically and it was at least minus something as we set off on the final 7 miles to the Youth Hostel. Rather than face another few hours in the cold and dark we quickly made the decision to cut off onto the road at Derrydarroch and jog to the Youth Hostel. This had its own dangers, with overtaking traffic coming dangerously close to our group. In the last mile or so, Richard turned up and we gratefully jumped into his car and speed along to the Youth Hostel. A wonderful meal, earlier prepared by Shane, was consumed before heading to the Rod and Reel for some more drinking.
Richard adds: did the noble thing and hauled gear to Crian, then ran down to the head of the loch - this involved some heavy trudging in deep snow, the route was all nigh but impassable, reinforcing Nigel's plea for skis. But finally dropped below the snowline and the run was fine, so up to the Snab (Cnap Mor), magical views down the loch, to await the guys. Sadly no sign of them, and mobiles were all "down" (ice-encrusted masts on the hills). Beginning to freeze and sun drooping headed back to Crian and at the Sheep Creep picked up the road in darkness, where a policeman in a nice warm 4x4 pulled over to quiz me after 5 hours solid run - did he offer a lift? Nyet. Got to the youth hostel and headed south in the car, finding the lads spavinating (or is it spavining, all enquiries to Will Self please) up the road. All repaired for some fine chili thanks to Shane. Sunday the lads decided to head over the Craig Bheannain towards Tyndrum for some snow fun, but wisdom (haven been near-buried the day before) persuaded me not to accompany them.

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