September, 2006

Sep 06

Loch Treig hills

Another weekend, another day in the hills. The weather was awesome for a round of the Loch Treig munros – I got a suntan while my friends in Edinburgh were contending with fog. Wicked.

Looking down Lock Treig

The second third of Ramsay’s Round was a total contrast to last weekend. Setting off from Fersit, I trudged up the pathless, boggy and heather covered Stob Coire Sgriodain (which has lovely views to Loch Treig, once you get to the top), then nipped over to Chno Dearg. I descended by the stream near Meall Garbh, but I think I will try just dropping down the ridge, or maybe the stream, from the top of Chno Dearg next time – it would probably be about the same and would shave a little off the distance. Climbing to Beinn na Lap was gentle and straightforward and I expected to have the top to myself. Instead, I arrived at the same time as a party of about fifteen who went on to celerbrate someone’s last munro. I politely declined the champagne and headed down through more bog towards the fireroad and rail tracks below.

From there, a lovely few kilometres of scenic track got me to the bottom of the vague ridge that climbs Stob Coire Easain. Really, I was a bit dumb – I should have carried on along the track until I got to the bottom of the Stob Ban descent, so that I could have climbed the same route as when running the whole round, but I was starting to feel it a bit and I just wanted to get back to the car. As it turned out, I was hit with a severe bout of tiredness on the climb, like I experienced on Ben Macdui a few months ago. After some food and five minutes off (and some digestion time) I felt a bit better, but it felt like a long climb up into the clouds. Stob a’ Choire Mheadhoin, the final hill, was nice and easy but the descent was not. It involved far too much traversing for my liking, which game me a really sore ankle. Eventually, enough was enough and I dropped down to the east and ran round the dismantled tramway back to the carpark.

So, mixed reactions to the day but generally all positive – made me realise that I really, really need to sort out the eating/food situation for longer runs and I would like to work out a better descent route to Fersit too. On the other hand, I wasn’t that tired when I got back to the car, having done a little over twenty miles and about 7500 feet of ascent, so I’m definitely getting fitter. Which is just aswell, because I’m starting to realise that this Ramsay’s Round thing, even without a time limit, is an absolute monster!

Route profile

I suspect the distance is over-estimated. I should really be using an SVG here, but some folks use IE (and I doubt they’d want to install the plugin).

Sep 06

Ben Nevis to the Grey Corries

Last weekend was glorious weather so I dodged home early from the pub and went running in Lochaber on Saturday. The plan was to run about a third of the Ramsay Round as a recce for next summer and just a good day in the hills.

I woke later than planned (didn’t dodge away that early) and only managed to start running from the Ben Nevis car park around 11am. The Ben seemed even busier than usual, with around a hundred people on the summit who were hip-hip-hooraying about something, so I was really glad to start dropping down to Carn Mor Dearg. After going off in a spak direction, I got to the arete which was rocky so I took it easy (I’m a bit soft when it comes to running on rocks). Steeper terrain leads down and then back up to Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag (water available at the bealach), which provided a great view of the approaching Grey Corries and the Mamores, which are the final stage of the round. Descending from Aonach Beag provided a bit of steepness and could perhaps be tricky to find in poor weather, but the Grey Corries involved less vertical action and were straightforward, despite the rockier ground and me feeling tired, until coming down from Stob Choire Claurigh when I got lost on a grim boulder field. Climbing Stob Ban was short but a three steps forward, two steps back affair and I was very glad it was the last hill. On the home stretch now, dropping down to the lairig was a complete joy – soft earth and heather made for a fast and delightful contrast to the rocks from the rest of the day, which just left the 7km downhill firetrack to the road.

As I approached the road, the light was fading fast and my plan to hitch back to the Fort (and the car!) was looking dubious. I was especially concerned as I realised I had left all my money in the car and that my phone had no battery left. I wasn’t really looking forward to having another ten miles to cover. Fortunately, I spied some walkers just getting in their car.

“I wouldn’t normally do this” I lied, “but I was wondering if you can give me a lift to Fort William.”

They were a little taken aback, but fortunately they were cool and had recognised me from the ridge (they were going the other way and had decended from Stob Coire Easain). After a decent chat about hills, I was back at the car and went direct to the chippy then necked a can of Red Bull for the drive home. Forty-five minutes later I was asleep in a lay-by. I woke up at 2am, headed home and sunk into my bed – I was knackered.

Sep 06

Migrated blog software (yet again)

I’m checking out Mephisto just now, RSS/Atom readers might have just got some double posts – sorry! I’ve written some more mod_rewrite rules so most of the important old URLs should work fine and, to be honest, I don’t care about any of the more obscure ones.

Recently, I’ve hardly had any time to write here and I hate switching blog software – so why have I done it yet again? Mostly to abandon the downright abysmal Typo and Mephisto offered a simple migration process away from that. So far so good, but we’re a whole two hours in…

We’re also (thankfully!) at least considering using Rails for some projects at work and every little helps when getting back in the swing of things.