Devil O’ The Highlands – Part 4 (Iain)

The Chinese philosopher Confucius wrote: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

The approximate distance from Tyndrum To Fort William is 42 miles. The journey started with a single step but it didn’t finish until step 77,000!

Kinlochleven (CP3) to Somewhere in the middle of nowhere (CP4)

I changed my clothes and shoes at CP3. It’s amazing what a difference a fresh pair of socks makes. My wife joined me as a support runner/walker. She had been due to race but had to drop out due to injury.

It was good to have company although I’m not the most talkative or appreciative person in events. I switch to a “just get it done” mode that I struggle to shake until an event is over. It’s a mental strength which helps with endurance races but probaly doesn’t help my marriage! Thankfully, she would forgive me afterwards… I hoped!

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I slathered on sun tan lotion and then we headed out. I put a bottle of Lucozade and a can of coke in my backpack so I could treat myself later. The climb out of CP3 to CP4 is the longest climb of the day. It’s not hard but in the heat it was a slog.

I decided it was too hot too run so I fast walked this section…and the next section 🙂 – in fact I didn’t run again until 100m from the finish.

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It was probably the most beautiful part of the course. It was very peaceful walking through the valleys. Occasionaly we would pass  a runner or walker but mostly it was just the two of us plodding along.

The check point seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. It might have been near civilization but it was very difficult to tell. I refilled my water bottle and had a celebratory coke. Only 10K to go

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere (CP4) to Fort William (Finish)

I felt good leaving CP4 and was confident of finishing. The route was undulating for a few miles. Some single track roads in which it would be easy to trip over rough terrain. As one man discovered when he jogged past and then tripped over a tree root 20m later. He jumped up unhurt but he looked a bit embarrassed.

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A lot of this section was spent staring at Ben Nevis. It seemed so close but despite walking on and on it felt we’d never get there.

I’ve climbed it a couple of times but I’ve never been seen it on a day as clear as this.

One man asked me “is that the hill we have to go up at the end?”. He’d heard there was a hill right at the finish. I said yes, even though it wasn’t the hill. He looked really scared and ran off. I shouted I was only joking but I’m not sure he heard me.

As we reached the finish line. I decided to jog a little just so the finish photo would look like I had ran it all.

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I crossed the finish line in 9hr 40min-ish. My aim had been sub 9 hours so I was pleased to not be too far off it. The hot day meant it was an achievement just to finish!

I picked up some tasty hot food and sat down for the first time time since 5am. When the car came to collect me it was a struggle to get back up.