After my success in the wee duathlon I participated in last month, I thought I’d give the next one in the series a go. This series of duathlons organised by No Fuss Events is termed the Winter Feast series and this month’s event was the ‘Main Course’. Naturally this was bigger (tougher and longer) than last month’s ‘Appetiser’. This consisted of a 8 km run on road, beach and ‘trail’ ie on the rough grass and gorse at the top of the beach; followed by 25 km (two laps) of a hilly road cycle section and a final 5 km of the same road/beach as before. All of the above took place in the glorious setting of the roads and beaches between Arisaig and Morar, on the northwest coast of Scotland near the Isle of Skye. This location, as you may have realised, is on the edge of the Atlantic ocean and as we were in the middle of a weather pattern with westerly winds and rain and sleet coming in with those winds, was not the balmiest outing.
Two firsts for me this past weekend! And both good! It was the first time I’ve entered a duathlon, and the first time I’ve won a medal for a place! I was second Female Super Vet (super veteran) in the No Fuss Winter Duathlon in Glen Nevis and came 51 out of a field of 70!
This was a wee taster duathlon (the first in a series of three): 3.5km run, 12.5km cycle, 3.5km run. Both running and cycling sections were half on-road, half off-road and were wet and muddy.
Last weekend Neil and I followed the good weather which MWIS showed to be in the East Highlands and choose to do an short walk on the Cairngorm Plateau. The ski resort had opened for the start of the skiing season on Saturday and the carpark, funicular railway, Ciste piste and immediate surroundings were quite busy with Skiers and snowboarders, but once clear of these area they rest of the mountain was quiet.
We chose to walk clockwise passing the Ptarmigan, Cairngorm Summit, and along the Northern Corries (Corie an Sneachda, Coire an Lochain) and back along the ridge above the corrie.
The start of the our walk was in thick cloud, but by the time we arrived at the summit of Cairngorm the cloud became more broken and we enjoyed some lovely clear stretches.
I and my son, Craig went out for a wonderful run yesterday in the beautiful Glen Affric. We did a circuit following the track and path around Loch Affric, starting from the end of the public road.
The route is about 18km/11 miles, about half on forestry track, half on very rough, boggy and rocky track/path.
We did the circuit anti-clockwise, ie started by following the track/path on the north side and returned by the easier route on the south side of the loch. The track on the north is pretty wet in places and crosses several small burns (and one larger one) by several fords. Starting our run on this side meant I had wet feet for almost the whole two hours, but left the easier track for later when we were tiring.
Glen Strae is a small, narrow glen at the head of Loch Awe. The glen is practically uninhabited, with only one farm about a mile from the start of the glen, but it wasn’t always this way as there is evidence of old settlements marked on the OS maps. One of these used to be Tigh Mor, the old house of the MacGregors apparently.
Culbin Forest was once a vast area of shifting sand dunes. Prior to that the hinterland was once fertile farmland, but was gradually covered in loose sand, particularly during a wind-storm in 1694. The area remained largely dune desert for two centuries, sometimes referred to as “Scotland’s Sahara”. The land was purchased by the Forestry Commission in the 1920s and they started to ‘fix’ the dunes by planting marram grass alongside the trees. This scheme was only partly successful and the sand was still shifting. Eventually a more successful method proved to be thatching the sand by brushwood, which as well as preventing the sand from blowing away also provided humus to the soil as it decayed.