So it’s been nearly 3 weeks since the Fling and definitely about time for an update. Gem and I had a great week in the north-eastern Cairngorms immediately after the race, initially just learning to walk again, but then actually getting some pretty darn good walking days in.
Located near Tomintoul, a relatively quiet and tucked away side of the Cairngorms, we walked some local hills, explored Strath Avon up into the Cairngorms, plus a big finale of the ‘Lochaber horseshoe’ once the wind had suitably abated. I hadn't been up four of the five munros on the route, so it was a productive day, and a lot of fun traversing the extensive snow patches which still remained after the late season flurry. Over the course of the week the weather was cool, breezy but generally dry, so ideal for getting out and about to blow of the cobwebs after the Fling. The area has an abundance and variety of wildlife that I haven't seen matched elsewhere in Scotland – I think we pretty much managed the full array of what can be found up there – golden eagle, arctic hare, ptarmigan, owls, red squirrel etc etc. Okay, so you’ve got me on the wild cats and pine martins. Next time...
The running didn’t re-start until we were back, so it’s been the usual process of coaching the legs back to life. The change for me at this stage in the season is to crank up the endurance and elevation ready for the longer races coming up in the Alps – firstly Lavaredo Ultra Trail (119km, 5,800m +/-) towards the end of June and then UTMB. Heck, the summer is nearly here, not much time to dwell.
The first of the longer days was a look at the ‘Brecon Beacons Traverse’ last Saturday – a route in south Wales taking in 31 of the 2,000ft+ summits across the Carmarthen Fan, Fforest (yes 2x Ff’s) Fawr, Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains going west to east. The area is classic welsh rough stuff and there are lots of fairly direct lines required to link the groups of hills; the bits most folk don’t do, so are relatively un-trodden & pathless. But also some nice fast high level sections which on a sunny spring day were a joy to run.
I ran with BAC club mate Toby Chapman who was trying a long day out for the first time, and I couldn’t fault the enthusiasm for getting stuck in and joining me :o) His longest run prior to this was 4 hours - we were running for over 8! I felt a bit weary early on, but soon started to settle in, inevitably for Toby it was the opposite, but we nailed 40miles (first 60%) of the route which was the plan from the outset. We were both about done by the end, although still fool-hardy enough to want to round up to 40 when we arrived back at the car with 39.8 miles on the clock. That's a bit of the BAC OCD for you.
So I just need to check out The Black Mountains bit now, which will be a good day out in itself, then I might be in a position to have a go at the whole thing. I’ve got some crew recruiting to do :o)
Might prove a nice little summer project, or maybe another year, we shall see.
Here's a selection of photo's from the Brecon Beacons last Saturday: