The weather was still good as we climbed up the path to Lochnagar.
To get to the bottom of the scramble we had to pass over some loose rocks so the Meteor helmets were stuck on and with that the rain shower came in just to make the rocks even more slippy.
We had to wait a few minutes for another team to get up the loose scramble so as not to be hit with any falling debris.
After a bit of a climb we reached a couple of interesting features to be negotiated before pushing onto the top of the gully.
The check point was at the trig point and we had an opportunity to look west and get an idea of where we were going.
We dropped down to Loch Nan Eun to the next spot with some very helpful cheery marshalls supplying us kindly with hot chocolate and sweets.
Then setting us off up what looked like an exposed buttress scramble (oh how I love heights ).
This brought us out pretty much on the top of The Stuic.
it was getting dark and the wind had picked up as we took in another few tops before dropping to Loch Callater.
The plan was to potentially get some sleep in the tent but I always had a niggling thought that there was a bothy here.
Turns out there was and we got our heads down with the plan of getting up at 1am.
There was a bang as the door opened ! (what is it with me and bothies ?) as another team came in.
It was 2am and we had overslept but nobody complained as we got ready to move out and the other team settled down to get some sleep (no idea which team it was).
It was cold and hard to get moving but we plodded on up the shoulder of Carn an Turic.
It was starting to light as we started dropping down to hit the track and then the A93, any other time I would have held off descending and waited for the sunrise !
Smithy was starting to feel the lack of sleep and falling into a bad place !
At one point he found himself standing looking at the amp and then a few seconds later sitting on the floor, he reckons he fell asleep !
Near the road he was really feeling it and of course got loads of sympathy from the team !
Smithy or to give him his sleep monster name “the ginger chink”
We hit the road and something in me switched off, i felt tired as we plodded up the hill to the ski centre, at one point I manged 10 paces with my eyes closed !
We arrived at about 6am (I think) got food (chicken and chorizo risotto for breakfast ) and updated the blog.
Back on the move we climbed past the ski tows and skirted around the north side of the Cairnwell heading for a CP at the Lochan just near Carn nan Sac.
We were moving well and the sun was out again, Smithy I think had beaten off the monsters and was back with us.
We even had time to do some product shots.
Smithy was tired again and we decided to get some food at the top of Carn a Gheoidh, in his tiredness Smithy had legged it to the top of the hill in order to get 15 mins kip whilst we climbed to the top, the message was not clear and we had a moment where we did not know where he was.
I was angry at myself for letting this happen and not keeping the team together, especially at this point where we were all pretty ropey and tired.
Reunited we dropped off the top of the hill as it was windy and had some food !
Spirits again were high or we just deliriously tired, either way everything was funny including a certain cake that appeared out of the rucksack in a semi phone shape !
From the lochan at Carn Bhinnein we looked for a route with the minimum of descent over to Carn a Chlarsaich then crossing to Glas Tulichean before a long hard slog down to Glen Fearnach and to the transition area.
I dunno what happened in the transition but I think we all let our guards down !
In our heads the hard bit was over, so we opted for the long course biking section, this proved to be a nightmare including me having to fix my back break with duck tape, Skinny going over the bars, lots of pushing of bikes and lights running out of power.
To say by the end of it that we were in a bad place was an understatement.
Back at Tully we skipped the que for Pizzas which were heaven before pitching the tent (Norwegian sweat lodge !) sorting kit for the last day and getting the longest sleep we had all race.
05:oo Friday morning and we finished sorting kit and watched people faff and fall out with each other.
06:11 we got on the water and set off, there was an air of determination as we paddled down the river, at Dunkeld we skipped the orienteering, this put us at the front of the line of boats.
We passed Cam at Caputh as he tracked us on his I pad.
Pushing off we got to Campsie Linn and the farce that was the portage, I say farce, the portage was fine it was just the prat organising it (kind words).
Emptying boats after we pushed on through the weir and taking the fast un choppy line pushed on to Thistlebrig which surprisingly had no safety cover !
Passing lines of fisherman shoulder to shoulder outside Perth, you could not help feeling sorry for them at the thought of all the other boats behind us.
We had a slick transition to the bikes( could have been quicker if they had been ready for us !)
Out of Perth we worked as a team pushing the speed up on the open roads.
Just passed Blackford I was having my battle with the monsters !
I was dropping off the back of the team fighting sleep when a guy cycled next to me, “are you Phil?” I paused for a moment !
“How you doing Gary T says you have to get a move on as Terrex as chasing you down !”
I caught up with the team and relayed the message, they all looked at me like I was daft till they seen the cyclist .
Not long and Terrex chased us down, passing us with ease !
Home stretch to the finish was a blur as thoughts of the race swam through my head and emotions stirred.
We dropped the bikes and grouped for the finish and crossed on foot, second team over the line.
There was medals fizzy stuff and medals !
A few familiar faces were there to greet us at the finish too which makes a big difference and many thanks to those who did that !
So what a race !
Well done to Smithy keeping on going and fighting the monsters and keeping the banter going !
To H for pushing the team on the biking and soldiering on despite injury !
Skinny for his brilliant nav all the way through the journey !
Me I just followed and got pulled along by a brilliant team !
Many thanks to
James and Crew for an amazing race and route
Escape Rout and Gus for Haglofs Kit Bags
Alba Adventures for sponsoring our amazing orange Montane waterproofs.
Mountain King for the poles
Si at Lyon Equipment for sorting us out with Petzl Helmets
Our club Adventure Zone Scotland
All the people who supported us through the race and through training for the race !It really would not have happened with out you all !