Monday, 30 May 2011

Wild Scotland

Got back last night from supporting Cath on her LEJOG.

The strong winds of last Sunday grew in to Monday's storm, this was too much for Claire who doesn't like riding in wind at the best of times (which this certainly wasn't) so decided to call it a day at Carlisle. In fact it was at Carlisle that Cath had her only real mechanical of the ride when her rear tyre went all wobbly - it looked like she'd hit a pothole and tore the sidewall so the tyre wasn't running true. Cue find a bike shop and replace tyre.

Give Cath was now on her own, plus the fact that 100MPH+ winds were forecast for the highlands I decided that it would be best to keep fairly close throughout the day. By the time we got to Abingdon services just standing up was difficult so the planned route in to the wind wasn't on so we went downwind and round to Lanark.

Fortunately the winds eased (in the lowlands) on the Tuesday so I headed off to tick some Munros above Glen Lyon where the wind definitely hadn't eased, I had to crawl to and from the first summit where I had my lunch in a snowstorm! I didn't see anything from the other three summits either as I was engulfed by hail showers on them!

Cath's next day was from Stirling to Glencoe over Rannoch Moor which she wasn't looking forward to. Fortunately the wind had changed direction and things weren't as bad as she feared. I, on the other hand had a numpty navigation day on Ben Vorlich and Stuic a Chroin where I failed to find the latter!

Thursday was Great Glen day for Cath and the two Munros of Beinn a Bheither for me, again no views but interesting walking on quite narrow ridges. I got to Drumnadrochit at the same time as Cath having met Ali Welsh in the supermarket car park in Fort William by pure chance.

Friday was reasonable and I took my chance to climb Ben Hope, the most Northerly Munro, for once I got a view from the summit, then it was back to Altnaharra where I was hoping to meet Cath. Her original target for the day was Lairg 20 miles south but it would be good if she could get them out of the way for the final day. It was cold, wet and windy by the time she arrived and she was glad of a warm duvet and the car heating system.

Our overnight stay was thirty miles back at Rogart so there was an hour's drive on Saturday morning back to Altnaharra and then there was just 74 miles to go. I had Ben Klibreck to look forward to - no point in not doing the Munros that are this far north, it's just so far to drive to get to them. However I really didn't enjoy Klibreck, all bogs and not very pleasant walking at all.

A couple of minutes after I got back to the car I got a text from Cath to say she was in a cafe in Thurso so only had 20 miles to go - I had to get a move on if I was going to see her finish! I caught her up with less than a mile to go so had time to get to the finishing post to take the obligatory photos.

Just two metres to go!!
Good effort from Cath in some pretty awful weather for most of the Scottish part of the ride.

Then it was a two hour drive back to our digs for the night in Rogart and a 400 mile drive back home. Both rather tired today!

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