Last week Mel suggested going for run on the WHW, but come Thursday she still had a bit of lurgy so was sensible and called off, a shame since it was her idea in the first place. The plan was Rannoch Moor, Pauline, Morna and I would still go although the forecast predicted lots of weather and after a late pitch inspection via the Kingshouse webcam on Saturday, it looked wet and the only snow was a wee sprinkling on the top of the hills. So by 10.30am Sunday we were sitting in the car, parked beside Blackrock Cottage doing contortions, we weren’t getting out to put our rain jackets and rucksacks on while the hailstones bounced off the car.
I was wearing a couple of layers plus the rain jacket on my top half, fingerless gloves with fleece gloves over the top, a peaked Buff topped with a woolly hat but just one pair of tights, so I thought I’d wear the waterproof breeks I’d recently modified, they were an old pair of Pete’s I’d chopped off just below the knee so they take up very little room in the bottom of my backpack and they are easy slipped on with no faffing with my shoes. A brilliant idea but not mine, Pauline’s been whacking bits of her breeks for ages,
|Devil's Staircase, WHW Race 2009|
A quick photie then we headed up the hill with the wind blowing us up, over the top and past Peter Flemings monument, the Moor was like a patchwork quilt with all the different colours of autumn and winter as dark clouds came and went, distant hills, and the ones nearby disappeared in the rain and hail then minutes later their snow dusted tops sparkled brightly in the sunshine. Morna and Pauline pulled away, even more so when I stopped to take photos, but I’m quite happy tootling along at my own pace, I don’t feel I have to keep up. They were occasionally in sight and gave a wave from time to time, the plan was to turn back after 1½ hours I wouldn’t go as far as they did but that was ok, I’m quite happy to sacrifice distance to squelch about looking for a good camera angle, it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve ran along Rannoch Moor, whatever the season, no two days are ever the same and if I can catch a glimpse on camera it’s worth the half mile or so less running than the rest of the group.
I got to Forest Lodge at around 1½ hours, there was no sign of Pauline and Morna, I think they got round to the bridge near the Inveroran Hotel. I wasn’t fussed for traipsing up the tarmac until I met them on the way back so I went up the back of the car park to get a bit of height for a photo of Loch Tulla. Pauline and Morna appeared, I pointed where I was heading and stomped up the hill, Pauline followed me, Morna stayed near the car park reading the bumf on the info board. What a reward for the bit wee effort! One of the best rainbows I’ve ever seen.
I gave Pauline the car key as they would get back before me and we headed back, I stuck in wee walks on the steepest bits on the way back, (it was the WHW after all no harm practicing WHW pace) I don’t think I took as many photos in the way back (more photos) but I still kept looking around and behind me so as I didn’t miss a view. At the big boulder just before the final climb back to the top I always stop for a last look and a cheerio ‘til next time. Then I headed round and down, straight into the wind and rain/hail, here was where the wind was strongest, throughout the day it occasionally took me slightly off my chosen line, but I was brought to a standstill running DOWN hill! Pauline and Morna had just gotten themselves changed and comfy in the car, opening their flasks as I got back. I flung the car door open disturbing their cosy ensconce. “Well, that puts colour in your cheeks!”
I think the saying is more commonly known as - There is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing. Whether I was wearing bad clothing or not is merely a matter of opinion, I’ve never been much of a fashionista and I wasn’t cold and besides there definitly nothing bad about today... Pauline wasn’t wearing her Michael Jacksons; she tends to save them for races. *Sings Michael Jackson* Oooww! They’re Bad!