On 7th April Owen and I had a run around the Clachnaben race route/challenge point. The weather was lovely but the air was thick with smoke. They were doing a heather burn and the ground was still warm.
Having attempted Battock back in February from Peters Hill but had to turn back with the weather, and Marie passing round but not to the top of Clachnaben at the race, we decided to opt for the full traverse to claim these cps.
We started at the Clachnaben car park taking the normal route up to the top and then along the track to Mount Battock. With a couple of MTBers (Gary and Scott) ahead we used them as targets to try and beat to the top but were just pipped to the post. Took the runners direct route off Battock to Dave’s aptly named “Motorway” traversing Hill of Cammie and then Mudlee Bracks before following the fence line to the Fungle track. Found our direct routes had succeeded in getting us in front of before named bikers but were eventually passed en route to Ballochan, where we had parked a second car.
Sat 6th June
Parked up at Burnfoot, just 1k before the chapel at end of Forest of Birse road. Car rocking in the gale, is it sensible to go up high? Well I reckoned if I wasn’t put off running in to the headwind along the Fungle, then I’d be ok with the wind in my back to Mudlee Bracks. So off I headed, via Auchabrack to The Fungle, and sure enough, it was one heck of a push up to the high point against the wind. Turned up towards Mudlee Bracks at the gate, following the single track beside the fence line; some soft running over the dried turf mounds.
Then onto the ‘roadway’ over Hill of Cammie and on up to Mount Battock, where the wind was really howling. Much appreciated the stone shelters at the top for a few minutes snack before heading out to Clacknaben. Wind died down in the lee of Battock, but picked up to full force again on the Tor. Then down the hill race descent route, – what a descent! – past race finish point to the road.
29k, with 1050m climb (according to iPhone app, not sure about that, closer to 800m I think), in 3 hrs 37’.
Back to the car by bike, retrieved from its hiding spot, depositted earlier. A very slow cycle, into the headwind again – Just 13k, not saying how long it took, but it was a good workout!
Pleased to say managed to get to within a few mins. of top running so maybe good news for next race. Carried rockboots and chalkbag as plan was to tick a few climbs but rain put a stop to that. When is summer going to return? Ah well a few more check points with cliffs near summits if not too the actual points.
Up Clachnaben on the Wednesday walk. We went up from the main car park. It was breezy and quite chilly on the summit, but it warmed up as we carried on round to Glen Dye. I spotted a buzzard, a golden plover, and a ring ouzel, my first migrant of the season.
The carpark is usually busy when pass here but today there was no-one but us and the council litter collectors. As we emerged from the woods and caught a glimpse of the dark cloud above the tor, we could see why there might not be too many tourists.
As our second cp of the day, it was a tough climb but we got there eventually, despite the snow which started as we reached the pitched path.
Snow stopped again as we descended and by the time we got to Miller’s Bog, the tor was outlined against a perfect blue sky.
On the way down we saw a skein of 100+ geese heading north for the summer. I think they were using cp93as a waypoint.
Pleasant chat with a stonemason repairing the dyke at Glencoe Lodge before a (grateful) return to the car.
Sent from my Xperia™ tablet
Pretty much followed the race route over Mount Shade and up Clachnaben. Ice, snow and heather made the going slow and hard work (even the descent) but the warm sun and fantastic views more than made up for it.
Share your experiences of this challenge point.