Monday, 11 July 2011

Hill 1 Airlie-Gilberts 0

This weekend was the first chance to head out for an overnight in our new it had to be done! A quick look at the race calendar showed a couple of short races within driving distance, but one race stood out.....Glamaig!

I remember the long discussion about the steepest fell race on the FRA forum, and seem to remember Dungeon Ghyll getting votes based on 2300ft in 4 miles. Well that's tame compared to Glamaig. 2,600ft in just over 4 miles, with the first mile having negligible climb. Now THAT is steep!

I'd managed to get Kirsten to agree to doing it (by not showing her photos, assuring her she wouldn't be last and mentioning the ceilidh held afterwards!) and that was the plan, as long as the weather was ok and the cloud cover not too bad.

Driving across to the Kyle, the cloud was down on the munros, but not by much and the forecast was for the weather to clear up the further west we went. Everything was packed up for a cracking weekend away and it seemed surreal to be crossing the Skye bridge only just over an hour from home!

We travelled up the coast road and then finally came towards Sconser and views up towards Glamaig. My goodness it's a big, steep hill!! As we rounded the corner and head towards the campsite, the rain started in earnest, lashing down and bouncing off the road. And the cloud started to lower as well, obscuring the black cuillins completely.

Perhaps it would have been better if the cloud had stayed down! As it rose to reveal Glamaig in all its glory, the steepness of the hill hit home. Kirsten really doesn't like steep ascents, and this was looking the steepest in hill running! I'm not much taken with steep scree descents either, and was busy working out a grassy line down on the left hand side.

We stopped around for half an hour, taking Rufus out for a quick walk in the rain. We jumped back in the van with an hour and a half to go until race start, and the rain increased in intensity! Decision made....we were heading up the island in search of better weather and a more sedate day on the Trotternish ridge.

And a good decision it proved to be, as we walked the Cuith Raing, gazing in awe (as always) at the incredible spires and turrets of rock in this most majestic of places. Having had a quick trot up to the top to stand on the "table", we headed on north to find the breech in the cliffs and then head back over the top, to peer down into the abyss.

Drizzly rain just started as we headed back down to the van, having decided we could find no better spot in the world for our first night out in it than that top car park, with views of the ridge and out to sea.

We cooked tea, brewed up and then settled down for a wonderful night, waking to sheep surrounding the vehicle and mist clinging to its sides and restricting visibility to only a few yards! A leisurely morning ensued, having breakfast and packing up before heading down through torrential rain to Sligachan. We decided to cross over the bridge and go for a walk at Plockton, somewhere which holds lovely memories from my childhood holidays, and where the weather was much brighter and drier.

All in all, a lovely weekend....but no running!! And despite a splendid day, and plans to return and run the whole Trotternish ridge from Duntulm to Portree, we couldn't help feeling that Glamaig won the day and we need to mark it in the calendar for next year....and hopefully slightly better weather and stronger minds!! :-)


  1. Sounds like a lovely chilled out life you two have got up there.

    With a post like that you don't need photos.

  2. lovely blog rich.
    My guess for sharpest fell race was Moel Hebog, but it transpires it's a bit weedy at only 2400ft in 4 miles...