This year ends in a 6 so it would be back to Galloway. Also in the absence of the LAMM and a social clash that meant we missed the last Highlander Rowena and I were keen to be a team again. In the RAB, SLMM and GL3D I had run solo.
I must be getting soft in my old age because I have got very used to sleeping in the van on the Friday night. Parking for camper vans was predicted to be tricky and we missed the deadline for booking on the commercial campsite. In the end Bob drove us up in the van and then he moved off to do other things. He did first drop us at the event centre for us to register and put up our tent. Parked near by and let us eat and sit chatting in the van until dark and then drove back to let us out with all our gear. The forecast was for very mild weather and it was warm on the Friday evening. The event marquee was roasting as they had all the heaters hired for 'normal OMM' weather. Sadly they also had a party with music which kept us awake until almost midnight (told you I was getting old; and grumpy). I was hoping the mild forecast would stay true all weekend as I had packed my very tiny sleeping bag.
We were up bright and early with a torch lit breakfast and then a quick toilet trip before the walk to the start. We had the earliest starts which suited us fine as we were less likely to finish in the dark or find there were no good spots left to camp. We ignored the glow lights and stuck to the quiet road as our torches were buried deep in our sacks and we did not fancy twisting an ankle in the woods. As we moved onto the open fell the daylight started to appear- very slowly.
|Little vis at the start|
|Wet but smiling|
|Tough terrain and low vis|
Despite the mist it was wonderful scenery with rocky outcrops and white sandy beaches. No time to stop and sun bathe today but our next leg did lead us right round the loch and then to the crag called the Grey man of Merrick. We took our eye off the ball here and had a bit of a wobble when the terrain all locked the same and we couldn't see a loch. Luckily we spotted the small path and all became clear. I enjoyed the little trods and muddy paths that led past two more lochs and then to the Rig of Jarkness (what amazing names). The next two were straight forward before some big track running to Loch Trool.
|Collecting acorns or Halloween?|
A mini disaster when Rowena's knee stopped her descending saw me taking both sacks as we ran the best we could on easy paths to the western end of the loch, over the bridge and round to the finish.
Our error and the injury perhaps lost us 20 minutes but at only 26.6km straight line distance the 7 hours 55 mins shows just how tough some of the terrain was.
The weather was mild but also dreich. We got the tent up and were happy as always to be able to get into dry clothes and make a brew.
We did wander to see the results and use the loo but the damp meant we stayed in the tent most of the evening and so saw few people. The mild windless night also meant some of the worst condensation ever. Still, my neo-air made for a reasonable night and it was dry in the morning.
We guessed we would be heading south to the Minnigaff hills and it was so.
|Easy path on day 2|
|Thanks Jim- nearly at the end|
Some pleasant parkland and then a very wet elephant track led to the finish line. A much easier day of 20.6km straight line that took 5 hours 11 minutes.
Download showed we had moved up 3 places and we kept our position of first ladies showing age is no barrier.
A quick kit check and then we moved on through the marquee. Cups of water on the line, then tea from Bowlee Scouts and a nice hot meal. We sat chatting with Kevan, Sian, Shane, Duncan, Tony, Albert and then Chris V and his nephew. Warm dry and even sunny weather made it easy to change, take the tent down and wait for the prize giving.
That over Bob, who was only down the road, came and collected us ready for the drive home.
A great weekend with a fantastic partner. I do fancy a go at the A again though and even wonder if it is not too late just to try and complete an Elite course before I really am too old and slow. We will have to see.