Sunday, 18 October 2009
Glee Club Outing on the WHW
Saturday was the first Glee Club run of the winter.Organised by Mark "Drama Queen" Hamilton and Ellen McVey, this is an occasional training group that trains on the West Highland Way in preparation for the Highland Fling and the other two races on the route, the Devil of the Highlands and the West Highland Way Race itself. An amazing 25 runners started at 10am and at least another three arrived late and caught up with the pack. They ran to Beinn Glas farm and back from Tyndrum where I met up with them to spend the day walking, but mainly to take some photos. It was a cracking day, cold and sunny, setting off the autumnal colours to their very best. I had been out to try a run in Balloch Park on Friday, permission having been granted by my osteopath to try an easy run, and could have kicked myself for leaving the camera behind. The Loch was at it's best with an atmospheric mist lending a little extra. So I set off for Balloch to try and catch it again. But as I drove over the Carman Moor I saw the sun rising over the Crags behind Dumbarton casting a beautiful light on the reservoir on the top of Carman. Out came the camera but, as the sun had just made it over the top of the Crags, the flare in the camera lens spoiled a terrific pic. I've kept it though and annotated it with a promise to return on the first similar morning to try again.
Onto Balloch, but the Vale was looking it's very best. You couldn't see it for the mist! Again, I shall return.
Onto Luss for a few views of the Ben and then Tarbet. However, mindful of the time I headed on to Tyndrum where a few weel kent faces were getting ready to run and a whole new set of "virgins" ready to join them. Arriving from the wrong car park came Debbie and Sharon, gabbing ten to the dozen and I gathered them all together for a group photo (above) before waving them off. I sneaked through the grounds of the Ben Dorain Hotel to see a few of them crossing the river and running up to the gate.
After my free coffee and my (paid for) bacon roll in the Real Food Cafe, I set off to the layby at the A82 crossing at Ewich where I walked up the Way to try and catch a few runners with a, hopefully, spectacular background. I've always wanted to send a photo to Runner's World for their "Great Run" photo feature. I had in mind the view from near the top of the forest looking north east following the direction of the river towards Loch Dochart. Damn that bacon roll! I had made good progress, but was caught by the pack before I reached the top and had to make do with pictures as they went past, then making my way down and taking more pics as the stragglers went past me. The only one I missed was DQ who had waited for Mrs Pacepusher at Auchtertyre. A technical hitch (the camera was finding it hard to focus due to a walker passing at the same time - my excuse - I told Mark he was running too fast:-) ) meant I missed this photo. Never mind it's his girlfriend I'm photo essaying!
Back to the car and down to Beinn Glas where I managed a few more photos before lunch was taken. Chicken broth and a roll - delicious! This was a chance to meet some of the newcomers and examine Georges KSO shoes as well as the F lites he was changing into. Never, never do I see myself trying either. There is more sole and cushioning in my slippers. Certainly no use to my flat feet. Outsize they may be, but they are all there is between my ankles and the ground and they have to take all my weight. Unlike a certain London fireman who probably doesn't pay VAT on his children sized shoes.
I took Nora, who decided Beinn Glas was far enough, back to Tyndrum for more (free) coffee and a (paid for) flapjack before finding a very cold and shivering Debbie wrapped in my mate Brian's jacket. She had fallen on the return journey and had done a fair bit of damage to her knees. Last I heard she had her feet up watching her collection of DVDs and her much put upon husband Marco was head cook and bottle washer.
Quite a lot of strenuous walking in Ewich forest has left my hip and knee a bit stiff
but it was nice to be out. Photos here
By the time I got home I was starting to receive texts from Tooting where Lee and Dave were supporting Ian in the Sri Chimnoy 24 hour race. That's 24 hours round a running track!
Sadly, Ian completed 100kms before dropping out, but two members of the West Highland way "family" excelled. Paul Hart was second in the men's race completing 140.983 miles and Aileen Scott won the women's race. (As I type this, Aileen's distance isn't on the interweb thingy but she had passed 113 miles with an hour to go. I'll edit this when I find out the distance.)