Monthly Archives: September 2008

Mountain Air

It really is nice to be in the mountains !

We packed up the car with all the toys and hit the road to take advantage of the Sept weekend !

First stop was the River Gary just South of Fort Augustus, this is a dam release river so only flows once a week.

The river is normally full of paddlers and rafts but this time it was deserted !

We took full advantage of it and played in kayak and boogie-board.

A short drive to the Fort Augustus chalet park after saw us checked into what would be base for the next few days.

The next day gave us some good weather so we had a good bike ride on the Great Glen Way to stretch the legs and take in some awesome views.

The track is wide and solid with a few wee hills to challenge the legs.

As a reward we had a few pints of real ale afterwards just to make sure we were re hydrated.

Saturdays weather crapped out so after a wee run along the canal we drove into Fort Bill, all those big outdoor shops with the same old same old gear really is a bore !

We visited the Boathouse Restaurant in Fort Augustus for dinner, a great place with true Scottish Fair !

Its about time we had more places like this instead of pubs selling prawn cocktail and steak pie !

Sundays weather was changeable and we walked up to Loch Tarf on the other side of Loch Ness, because of the Hydro station being built the road was busy and Glen Doe was shut !

We hiked up the hill next to Loch Tarf passed the Red Dear and were rewarded with an amazing view of Fort Augustus.

You don’t realise how much of a height difference there is between the canal and the Loch till you see it from here.

Monday was the drab day of driving back down the road !

Roadworks and caravans make the trip even longer, but mist and cloud sitting in Glencoe provides some respite !

All in all it was good to get away, no Munroe’s bagged, no scary steep technical single track biked and no hard white water kayaked !

Some may say that it was a wasted journey but for me it was nice to smell the mountain air and note that the season is changing with a cheeky chill in the air !

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Wan Dae

The Wan Dae is an 8 hour race combining Mountain biking, hillwalking/running and Kayaking.

We had a couple of teams of 2 in  the race, with my mate Smithy teamed up with me.

I have never been into the Pentlands so was looking forward to getting out on my new bike and cover some new ground.

After all the rain the ground was soggy to say the least and this caused all manor of problems for racers !

Smithy canned off his bike on the return journey from a check point where we had to count to 10 in a foreign language ! (for no additional points ???)

I chose to keep my SPD shoes on even on the foot section, which in retrospect was slightly uncomfortable !

The x bionic tops were good and the vent panel on the back helped wick the sweat away despite having a pack on.

We cut the foot section short due to Smithy’s knee hurting after his unexpected contact with the ground whilst he should of been on his bike.

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The Kit

I am not the sort of person to play around with kit !

I tend to get it dis pair at the amount of packaging round it and then put it on / in my rucksack etc and use it.

For the WHW though I have been thinking about a few things !

1. Do I take a stove for hot food or just resort to cold stuff and hope I can pick up morale boosting goodies on route ?

2. The big sleep system debate, to sleep or not to sleep and if sleeping then do you rough it with thermal layers and waterproofs in a ditch or use the nice Big Agnes Triple Wire bivvy, Pitch Pine Top Bag and Clear view pad ?

There is no doubt that the benefit of a hot brew and a few hours of quality sleep boosts performance.

So the decisive factor is pack choice !

I really love my Haglofs Endurance pack so these questions arose when really wanting to take it.

12 ltrs is not a size that springs to mind for a 2 and a half day mission !

So out with the kit on the living room floor and pack it !

And guess what ? it fits !!!!!! Happy Days

Compact food will be the key but its all there.

Without food and water the pack ways just under 5KG

So I reckon all in all I will be looking at 6KG

On a more pressing note we are off to the Wan Dae this Saturday for a jolly 8hr adventure race in the Pentlands.

Good training and a wee test for some of the Bionic X kit that Ardblair Sports has sent us !

The big fear for me is looking like the only gay in the village as they are quite tight around the body !

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Sponsoring and donations

The page is now set up for all you generous people to give  to a worthy cause !

So click on the link and splash the cash !

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Stepping on !

So in preparation for the journey we have been hitting the hills for a bit of training.

Ben Lawers looking at what could of been !

Ben Lawers looking at what could of been !

On this occasion I took PTC advice on that surprise the weather tactic !

You plan to go on the day that has the best forecast and then on that day change your mind and go another !

On this occasion it came up Trump’s and we were treated to a great day on Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers.

An easy couple of Munro’s to knock off but the dreams of knocking another few were thwarted slightly !

Kit testing goes on ! I had my new pair of Montrail Namche’s on which I think will be the choice footwear !!

I have also been using the Haglofs Endurance pack all 12 ltrs of it great for adventure racing and a SEXY bit of kit but a tentative piece of kit for the West Highland Way ! If I decide to take Sleeping bag and Bivvy then I think it will be out the window reluctantly.

Tactics still have to be thought out that will dictate kit.

I feel a siege on MJ’s on a sunny afternoon with PTC, Craig and coffee is in order to debate !

One thing decided I will be taking Leki Traveller Carbon Nordic Walking poles to spread the load between upper and lower body In a Nordic Walking Style.

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