SAM HESLING AND SARAH HODGKINSON WINNERS AT 2015 LAIRIG GHRU
After a cold and damp start, the day steadily improved to provide near perfect running conditions for the 161 starters at this year’s Lairig Ghru. It was a case of mission accomplished for last year’s runner up Sam Hesling (Highland Hillrunners), who returned this year to win in 3.15.18, getting clear of Rob Sinclair (Garioch) 3.16.51, on the run in to Aviemore. Chris Hill (Cosmics) was third in 3.26.57. After another close race the first female home was Sarah Hodginkson (Cosmics) in 4.32.09. Second was Hilary Ritchie (Fife) in 4.33.51 and third was Jennifer Ross-Jenkins (DCC) in 4.36.42. Cosmics Chris Hill, Neil Easton and Steven Ord were the first male team and Deeside’s Sam Rendall, Marie Entwistle and Jane Douglas were the first female team.
Thanks to all our sponsors and supporters: Bremners of Aviemore, Run4it Aberdeen, Deeside Water Company, Braemar Community Hall and of course the Mar Lodge and Rothiemurcus estates. As always special thanks to Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team for their marshalling of the remoter sections of the race and the ever excellent Mountain Café who provide the much appreciated spread at the finish in Aviemore. A big thank you to all the Deeside Runners for marshalling, manning the water stops, registration, kit checks etc. and to the campers at the Coylumbridge who set up the impromptu water/feed station!
Finally, thanks to all the runners without whom there would be no race and a donation of £1000 is on its way to the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team.
Red camelback, grey/silver sunglasses, 1 compass – let us know if they are yours.
27/06/2015 Ran from west end of Raemoir up onto Craigrath and then continued on the track to the bothy where I turned right. Then it was into terrain to find a route back to the half hoos at the end of the track below Cragrath. This took 15′ of mixed terrain to get to there with a bit of a slog to regain height at the end. From there it was a lovely track run back. Finally enjoyable to run in just shorts and T and no need to carry any spare kit 🙂
No photos as I forgot the camera.
14/06/2015 Ran from Keiloch car park up to the Fog house (cp 28) then round below the crags on Craig Leek, across the track and up Meall Alvie (cp 30).It was a lovely day but the temperature was back to single figures and there was fresh snow on Lochnagar.
I headed up the Capel Mounth to reach Broom Hill, overlooking Glen Clova. There are a lot of peat hags on the plateau, and I avoided them by following a grassy burn on to Dog Hillock and walking round the northern slope to reach Broom Hill. It was a much warmer day than of late, but quite dull. I got a great view of the fantastically named Juanjorge crags. I saw raven, buzzard, skylark, dipper, common gull, black-headed gull, redstart, lapwing, curlew, snipe, oystercatcher, swallow, house martin, ring ouzel and wheatear.
Saturday 20th June parked in lay by on the South Deeside Road by the kissing gate and walked on a direct line to the ridge ,then the cairn following animal tracks for quite a bit of the climb. Good views from the top, a surprisingly pleasant cp.
Sent from my Fire
A long day in which was not clear wheter Gaba, one of our Dogs or myself were most tired. I was definately waiting for him on the way down and he ignored a large herd of deer croosing just in front of us. Training coming good? Well cycled up to Slugan Ruin, a regular jaunt on route to the many rock and ice venues on Beinn a’Bhuird. A short steep push then cycled on tp the substantial new drain. From there headed to new ground for me up To Creag an Dael Beag. a fine spot made supurb by an eagle. Steep scree was then followed up to the rifge over two Muntoe tops to the summit of Leabaidh an Dambh Bhuidhe. a fine summit with once again thick mist.
A good path leeds down and would normally take you back to the bikes. But the drive to tick cp19 led me to traverse horizontally SW, over several rivers to eventually get to Dubh Lochan, which memmory tells me is a fine situation but was struggling for motivation as not obvious which was best way and much much time was wasted.
Up to Inverey in chilly, but dry conditions. By bike up the glen, about an hour up to Altanour Lodge, with a stop at the Colonel’s Bed. This was another new glen for me, although I had been up as far as the Colonel’s Bed. I was surprised by the number of grassy areas, clearly old farmland as there were several old settlements up the glen. I then came back down and turned up the other track, leaving the bike at the last bend in the track to follow a narrow animal path on to the ridge to ascend Tom Anthon ( wrongly identified on the challenge site as Colonel’s Bed, but numbered CP 18). Stopping at one point to look for the summit, I was amazed to see a golden eagle swoop over my head, my second in just a week. There was a small cairn of quartz stones at the summit, with a nice view down to the Dee at the Quoich.
Well to be honest the weather not exactly helped re fulfilling dreams of high bivvis and watching the sun rise from the hills on the shortest night. C’est la vie but still keen to get some exercise in case offered a place on the Larig Gru,(which I Iwas but it had expired by the time I opened it….showing my age re modern communications).
Anyway re ticking points had always envisaged combining with climbs where possible and of all checkpoints, the Dubh Loch is the summer place to go. Jules Lines writes in his book about his conversation at by the Dubh Loch with Paul Williams, the late guide book writer for Snowdonia., who has always held that Clogwyn Du’r Arddu on Snowdon is the Mecca for British climbers, that following his ascent of Goliath on The Dubh Loch that it was indeed a better cliff.
So point 37 is perhaps the tick point for me for this year, but the weather has not neen helpfull and I had become moderately obsessed with Loch Buidhe, a place I had not noticed on the map before, and never visited. The weather won the argument and a bike to Glas-alt-Shiel, followed by some uphill work to the Falls of the Glasallt ( a tick point already ticked) then up a short steep slope to a high valley and west to Loch Buidhe. This turned out to be pleasantly runable, after the steep start, and the lochs (there is a tiny one as well) did not disappoint. The weather did and to be honest it felt like snow would soon be falling, The descent west and down to the Dubh Loch was a pleasure. The Creag an Dubh Loch looked dark and threatening, but will draw me back. The jog down passed many hikers all enjoying the summer weather.