Devil O’ The Highlands – Part 2 (Iain)

Toblerone Mountain

The triangular shape of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps is commonly believed to be the inspiration for the shape of Toblerone chocolate. But I think Mr Theodor Tobler (the creator of the bar) must have walked the West Highland Way and seen the Toblerone-esque Ben Dorain.

I’ve only climbed Ben Dorain once. It was a cloudy wet day with no view from the top. When I got back down, a man asked me “did you get to the top?”

I replied yes.

He said “the second cairn?”

I replied “what second cairn?”

“The second cairn is the real top. The first one is a false top”

DOH!! One day I’ll go back and reach the real top.

Tyndrum to Bridge Of Orchy (CP1)

My plan was to take this section easy. Don’t run past anyone just stay at the pace of the group.

That plan lasted until the first slight incline when lots of folk started walking. I suspect they were following a “walk the climbs, run the flats/downhills” plan but it seemed too early for that so I kept running and overtook them all.

I thought the section was relatively flat but afterwards I noticed one of my mile splits was 6 minute pace!

There must have been a downhill section that I didn’t notice.

I blame the early start. I was still half asleep.

There’s a road crossing at Bridge of Orchy manned by volunteers stopping the traffic. I was amazed I recognized one of them. I’d been at Uni with him but hadn’t seen him in years.

Its a very Scottish thing to say what something is not rather than what something is. Ask a Scotsman what the weather is like on a sunny day and instead of replying “it is sunny” he will say “its not raining”

Ask a Scotsman how an event has gone. Instead of saying “it was good” he’ll say “it wasn’t shite”

I realised this after he shouted “how are you” and I replied “I’m not bad”

Why didn’t I just say I’m good? As I was good. I reached the CP in just over an hour. Right on schedule.

Leaving CP1

Bridge Of Orchy to Glencoe Ski Resort (CP2)

The only previous time I’ve done this section was during a night walk. It was pitch dark and I didnt’ see a thing. I was looking forward to seeing the route in daylight.

There was a kitcheck as soon as I left CP1 and then the first hill of the day. I walked most of it to conserve energy.

After that the route it was a bit dull and samey. Lots of moor! It turns out I hadn’t missed much by not seeing this section previously.

After a few miles I got bored of the view so I tried to listen to a podcast but my hands were so sweaty my touch screen phone wouldn’t respond to my touch. I tried wiping it on my clothes but everything I had was either damp or sweaty so it didn’t help.

After the race I realized I didn’t need to use my hands I could have just said “Siri – play music” DOH!

The midges got worse as the leg progressed. Thankfully I grew up in the Western Isles. Mainland midges are just a minor inconvenience compared to the flesh eating flying monsters I’ve experienced at home.

I reached Glen Coe just after 0900. Thankfully, my support team were there as I’d told them to get me at 0930. I was bit quicker than I originally thought.

I picked up some food and refilled my bottles before heading off. The next section was the one I was looking forward to the most. If asked to describe the next bit I would have to say “its’ not flat…”