Thursday, 27 May 2010

SIPR 6: Arran and home

Click here for the previous installment

One o'clock on Monday morning and Graham and I weren't feeling at our best. Getting up in the middle of the night is always unpleasant, and we had had considerably less rest than before Jura. Just as well Arran was the last of the runs! In our befuddled state we messed up navigation leaving Lamlash, and it seemed to take us an age to reach Dun Fionn and the tramp down to Brodick. Thanks to motoring and making it round the tidal gate at Kintyre we had gone from the back of the field to being up with some of the elite runners, and boy, were these teams moving, headtorches approaching in the dark and passing in a flash of reflective fabric and grunted 'well dones' and 'keep it ups'. There's nothing like hanging out with a bunch of fell runners to make you feel unfit! Graham found the Arran Trading Company slogan - 'Bangkok, Brodick, Delhi, Katmandhu' - hilarious. On investigating their window we discovered they sold ethnic nik-naks rather than trading Arran cheese and whisky for tea and semiconductor parts!

Goatfell hurt, and was incredibly windy higher up, but we made it for dawn and spent a minute taking it in. All downhill from here.

Goatfell at dawn:

Despite walking the whole route our legs were tired, and we were glad to reach Dun Fionn and see the end in sight.

Goatfell from Dun Fionn:

Contemplating the last couple of miles from Dun Fionn:

As we waited for our lift back out to the boat, a bunch of competitors arrived from the next tide, got their kit checked, then set off running. Running! Graham and I shook our heads. It would take more than a jog round Arthur's Seat twice a week to compete properly in this race next time.

Back on Phoebe another decision was made, to head for her home port of Largs rather than the official race end at Troon. As we had already forfeited the race it wasn't a hard decision, and we arrived in Largs at lunchtime, the bliss of a shower and the soporific effect of a beer on deck in the sunshine. Graham and I presented the sailors with a memento from the summit of each of the hill sections of the race.

Memento of the race:

Would we do this next year? I don't fancy the Paps again, they are too unstable to go round fast in safety. On the other hand the five guys on the boat got on very well, we learned a lot about the race and would hopefully do better next year, and though the fact we won't get an official time won't become a regret, it would be nice to complete the race properly. We'd have to train for it though. Dare we immerse ourselves into the world of fell running...?

Phoebe and crew:

Go back to the start of the Scottish Island Peaks Race diary


Anonymous said...

Very well done, regardless of whether it was an 'official' finish or not. Still takes a lot of drive to get round all 3 runs, and all the sailing. Hopefully see you at the dinner in November. Ogun.

Curly said...

A great account which gives a true impression of the way in which this event differs from `first past the post' races. In this `race' it is nice to win but every competitor no matter how slow can also enjoy the event. This is an experience as much as a race and despite having to use the engine, you still completed the runs. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. Curly

Robert Craig said...

Thanks for the comments, good to get feedback and was a great experience. Ogun congratulations on completing the course, I'll see if the rest of the crew are up for the November dinner!

Anonymous said...

You enjoyed it! Well done , you'll be back next year. Liked the pictures on Jura - we didn't have time for photos between dodging adders and playing with Ogun's runners for the wooden running spoon. Mara.

Gordon said...

Well done - I have done a lot of these races and this yearit was one of the toughest.

Finsihing what you could do is in the spirit of the race and many would have packed up and gone home.

Preserve Container said...

Great account. Sums up the race and the spirit. As for the Paps... loved the phrase Graveyard of Fell Shoes. So true.

blueskyscotland said...

Congratulations Craig.It`s still a feather in your cap whether you used the engine or not..!
Walked over Dun Fionn on Sunday after a visit to Holy Island.The trig is a tremendous viewpoint and we saved the busfare from Lamlash back to Brodick to boot :)

Billy said...

1 boiled egg

Dave said...

Hi Craig, I've only just caught up with your island race adventures in one sitting. I'm very impressed. The Paps sound great, if lethal, and make me want to go to Jura even more. I too have flirted with fell running, but when I meet one I realise how unfit I am.