Highland Cross


Letting the other CAACers disappear ahead of me, I took the first four and a half miles at a gentle pace. Then, after crossing a bridge, there was a steep climb. Feeling strong, I kept a steady jog up the hill and took satisfaction in overtaking several people walking including David Law. On a narrow path near the top there was a dramatic waterfall and then the ground levelled. For the next few miles, as far as the Camban Bothy, the ground was undulating and I still felt good and kept up the pace overtaking Dave Henderson.

On flatter and stonier ground I started to get a bit of pain in my knee which checked my pace. In fact I took it easy all the way across the river, past the Youth Hostel and as far as the "Fire Ladies Welcome". (The race was originally devised for firemen and their wives would meet them here.) I wasn't at all tempted by the spread of sandwiches and cakes, but the ambulance truck looked comfortable!

Shaking thoughts of quitting I headed up the notorious Yellow Brick Road. To clear things up, its not yellow, there are no bricks and calling it a road would be a generous lie. What it is is a hard stony track at a steady incline for the length of Loch Affric. I struggled on.

The track continued and eventually became a paved road. I found it harsh to run on this surface and had to walk a few sections. Soon the transition appeared. A kindly bespectacled old local handed me my bike and I changed into my cycle shorts and scoffed a banana. Then I was off to whizz down hill at electrifying near-F1 speeds.

Well not quite. After I had gone a few hundred metres I realised the rear tyre was a bit soft. I stopped, pumped some air in and continued. After a while I heard a clanging sound of metal on road. I stopped again and realised there was a split in the side of the tyre. The tyre must have been damaged when being transported from Inverness. I popped off the wheel and stuck a few patches on the inner tube but there was nothing much I could do to repair the tyre. Fortunately a reasonable amount of air stayed in the Tyre and I managed to get to the end by stopping every quarter of an hour or so to pump it up. A little frustrating but I was just glad to get back to Beauly where a bed, bath, shower, dinner and beer were patiently waiting for me.

It was my third visit to Glen Affric in four weeks. I was there a month ago munro bagging with Alastair, then I was back for the LAMM two weeks ago.

On Sunday, to loosen up the legs, Dave and I headed up a couple of munros in Glen Affirc called Toll Creagach and Tom a'Choinich. We dropped the Tom one along a ridge that looked a bit steep from a distance. Reassured by a dog walker that there was a good path, we followed it and it were glad we did.

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