The last day of the West Highland Way in Scotland this will complete the 5 day run across the Scottish Highlands about 163kms. Well done to the team it was a great accomplishment. Day 5 we awoke to yet another sunny beautiful day and we said we would be stoked with one day of great weather but 5 … can’t believe it! Leaving Kinlochleven we had a steep climb offering great views of the loch and blue sky.. We met and passed a lot of other hikers today all excited to be completing the way today. Arriving at the end of the trail at Fort William was a bit anti-climatic with 5km of paved road to finish was mentally wearing. We reached the end and beat our luggage to the hotel, fancy that. The actual finish of the trail has been moved to downtown Fort William eventhough we passed a sign that said the end. After an awesome shower we walked downtown to check out the end of the WHW. The next day it was raining….another great adventure and scored 5 great days for running in the Highlands of Scotland.
Thinking it was going to be a long tough day from the elevation profile we headed out a little earlier then the past few days. Frost was on the ground and the mud was nicely frozen. Bagging our first 1000ft in 40 minutes cruising to the Rannoch Moor aka mountain pass with no shelter or trees. Heading towards the Kingshouse Hotel where are lunch stop would the trail was great nice path. The deer were super loud it sounded like they were screaming all thru the hills….we only saw a few. The sun was out on the blue sky day it was amazing couldn’t believe it was October in Scotland with nice weather!! Now onto the Devil’s Staircase after lunch climbing up some steeper pitches with a fun zig zag trail reaching the cairns at the top of the pass. Getting ready for the steep descent into Kinlochleven where we would spend the night. The last of the trail was more of a big rock gravel road and seemed like it took forever. Passing the hydro dam that used to power an Alcan plant that closed in 2000 – the redirected the town to be an outdoor mecca including an Ice Factor – indoor ice climbing! Looking forward to tomorrow a steep climb out and no towns for 24km until we reach Fort William.
As we left the haunted Drover’s Inn in the morning it was very cool…the sun was hidden behind the hills but soon it rose above and it warmed up the air to a beautiful fall day! The trail started out with a rocky road with lots of waterfalls along the way – Phil was in heaven but also means he needs to play catch up. Along the there were lots of sheep in the hills and one farm of cows. Trail footing was quite easier today with moderate climbs. We found lunch today in Tyndrum at 20km and it was the best fish in chips so far probably the best we will have in Scotland. The restaurant was called Real Food Café. Now on to Bridge of Orchy another 11km to go – we arrived at about 3pm which was quite early but gave us lots of time to recover and get ready for tomorrow. It feels like we are on the amazing race when we reach a town and read the directions to the hotel but no one is there to say you are the first team to arrive!! Looking forward to tomorrow’s awesome views up on Rannoch Moor (one of Britain’s largest wild places)…the first climb is 1000 ft, second climb is 900 ft descend 650ft – steep climb to 1000 ft and finally a 1800 ft descent to Kinlochleven!
The day started off cold and clear on the south shores of Loch Lomond. The trail stayed low following closely by the shoreline with small but rocky and rooty sections of trail leading away from the Loch. As we continued along we passed the site of Ben Lomond one of the first Munros we have seen. We started up a gravel path away from civilization heading towards Inversnaid. Our plan was to head down onto the low path beside the loc to allow us to see Rob Roys Prison however the trail was closed due to blown down trees from many winter storms leaving the trail impassable until sometime in 2013. This left us on a hard packed trail then turning into more rooty, rocky trail similar to the West Coast Trail. Many ups and many downs made it a hard and wearing day reaching exhaustion and Inveraran around 5:30pm where we would stay the night. Legs are tired, days are longer than stated 2 days now at or over 35km….some chaffing and other issues are starting to arise – things you learn from day after day running. Looking forward to tomorrow as we hit day 3 of 5. Food menu’s are pretty limited either fish and chips, cheese burger & chips or ham and cheese toastie – looks like we will be fueled by fish and chips!
Wow what a beautiful day sun is shining and the air is warm. The fog was burning off the ponds as we ran thru the fields outside of Milngavie – enjoying the company of other runners along the way. The trail is well marked so it was a great path for running – varying terrain from tractor paths, cow paths and single track trails. 12km in….a stop at the Glengoyne distillery was a must – a one hour tour which was awesome!! Some tastings of some whisky from the best distillery in Scotland. Back to running on the way…a side trip to see the salmon going up the river. Next major event was Conic hill which was the major elevation of the day coming at 29km into the run it was a grunt to the top where we saw some highland cows and then came the down 1 mile 300m descent. Arriving at Oak Tree Inn where we will stay the night – 35km a great day can’t wait for what tomorrow will bring!!
We have spent the last day chilling out in Glasgow getting over jet lag and hanging out with Family. We had a great day yesterday checking out some of the local culture and walking around the Bothwell Castle. Today we are leaving on the train to head to Milngavie so that we are ready to start running in the morning. 30km tomorrow with one major point of interest after 12km the Glengoyne Distillery for a tour and a couple of samples. We will see how the next 18km go after having a couple of shots of Scotch.
October will most likely bring rain, wind and a little cooler weather than we are used to but that’s not going to stop us from a great adventure running in the highlands!!
Autumn brings many changing colors, festivals and fun events. We may run into some of these highland cows and Phil will be running away from them:)
We have most of our cooler weather gear packed…running tights, gaiters, rain jacket, gloves and a toque should get us thru anything. Looking forward to some Live music along the way at Drover’s Inn near north Loch Lomond.
Day one at 12km we will be passing by the Glengoyne Distillery and we have a tour booked already we might as well take in all that Scotland has to offer!! We may not have time to cruise the Loch but we will be able to a take in the beautiful surroundings at Balmaha our first stop along the way.
Next update will be from Scotland.
12 days until we depart to Scotland and 14 days until we step foot on the West Highland Way!!
For you that don’t know what the West Highland Way is…. It’s a 154 km (96 miles) trail that starts in Milngavie outside Glasgow and heads north to Fort William. Following the shores of Loch Lomond, passing Rob Roy’s Prison, many villages along the way, climbing devil’s staircase and finishing near Ben Nevis the tallest mountain in the UK at Fort William.
The plan is to run, yes run 30 kilometers a day and finish the trail in 5 days. It has to be the plan we have already pre-booked all the accomodation along the trail and a company has been hired to transport our gear each day. We will only have to carry food, water and some extra clothes!! The trail is set up for walking trips with many access points along the way but also the perfect set up for a long run with no gear.
The Team – Annette Hiom (phil’s mum), Phil Hiom and Grace Hiom – this trip was on Annette’s bucket list so we are exctited to tag along. Last year was the Grand Canyon. We have always wanted to run across Scotland so this is perfect!!
Annette has been getting her long runs in and Phil and Grace have one more Dirty Feet race to organize and then they can focus on the next adventure.
Hopefully we will have internet access along the way and if we do we will be posting our adventures on www.dirt4life.com as we go.
If you want to check out the West Highland way check this website. http://www.west-highland-way.co.uk/home.asp
Mountain bike racing 2012
2012 a year to remember on the mountain bike a trip to Williams Lake for a 6 hour race and an adventure to Whitehorse for a 24hr mountain bike race!!
This year seemed to be really hot for race days even in June when most places were getting douced with rain – race day was clear and 30+ degrees – WOW!!
Racing in Williams Lake was great the course had a few changes from 2010 but overall a great race. Deanna was our super star support person who pushed us to keep riding our bikes even if we were bonked and cramping just what you need in your pit.
Check out this link to read about our adventures in Whitehorse. http://www.dirt4life.com/adventures/24-hours-of-light-whitehorse
Mountain bike racing 2012 – con’t….24 hour of light – Whitehorse – June 23/24, 2012
The trip to where the sun never sets and you don’t sleep which sounds good for a 24 hour race right??
Arriving in Whitehorse a couple days before the race around 11:30pm and the sun was just about to set – Really…. – does this mean we are not going to sleep for the next few days before the race…… Yes!
Planning on arriving early to prepare for the race may have been a mistake. Oh and did we mention the mosquitos? they were huge a lots of them!!
Oh well this gave Phil plenty of time to build the 2 bikes and for us to get pumped for the event. Late nights and early mornings the sun set around midnight and rose at 3am – this is going to be awesome for the race – lights are not allowed…. we can see why. Thanks to Grace’s brother Mark, wife Holly and 6 month old Declan for letting us invade their life for 10 days and throw off all their regular schedules!!
Race day the adventure begins – truck is loaded and ready to drive the 45mins to the race hmmmm… the truck won’t start…. REALLY? Mark comes out and wiggles the wires to the battery and it starts sweet the panic is over – off to the race, set up our gear and wait for the start! start time is Noon on Saturday and ends Sunday at Noon.
After reviewing the start/finish area we are more confused then before 2 way traffic on single track this can’t be right? the one organizer asks Phil what do you think of the set up? Phil says “Dead bodies”
The race starts with a lemans “run” start – a 300M run thru the trees and back to our bikes to spread up the pack. Literally thru the trees and no one knew where they were going – it was awesome finally reaching our bikes and heading out for 12km loop.
It’s noon start and it’s already 30 degrees and the sun is never going to set. Laps are taking just over an hour and we are feeling great and then heat stroke sets in around lap 5 – Phil comes across the line cross-eyed Grace tells our support guy Riley “don’t let Phil go out until he can see straight” Phil takes some time at the tent and lays down with a block of ice on his chest to cool down and after
10 minutes he finally starts to shiver – he thinks this is a good thing What? – Grace is about to go get the medic. Phil and Grace both continue to ride but with every pedal stroke and bump they hit in the trail it took every effort to not get sick ‘Puke’ I guess they call that Sun Stroke? “Every time I take a drink and then ride over a log or bump it took a lot to not get sick” Grace explains after the race. Looking up at the sun at 9pm happy to see it’s still light up but really wanting the heat to go away. The mosquitos were also keeping up with every lap and were really enjoying Grace’s butt 🙂 swatting as she rode and not realizing how many bites she had until the end- it looked like localized chickenpoxs.
After taking a few hours off at night to let the sun come back the laps continued until 8am.Not sure why we stopped but we did and just enjoyed visiting with all the great friends and fellow mtn bike riders at the event.
Thanks to everyone who was showing your support on our FB page it was great!!
The all night light was a blast the heat and sickness could have been better – a great course and another great adventure – we will definitely be back to where the sun never sets either for mountain biking or mountain running – thanks to our support guy Riley Hildebrand for keeping up us fuelled and on track!!
Getting ready for the next adventure – Running the West Highland Way in Scotland in October 2012!!