A record breaking human power relay over every Scottish mountain over 1KM high!
The ARCHIE Foundation's Mountain Challenge
Jay and I are long past worrying about seeing each other battered and bruised which is just as well because as we neared the end of our epic day in the Cairngorms we were pretty spent. "That was good though Jay wasn't it." I mused as we approached the sugar bowl car park, "yeah mate, that was pretty good. Shall we go and pick up your car now?" "Suppose we ought to!". Beer was in the post, but it would have to wait another hour.........
Mullach Clach a'Bhlair to Monadh Mor and our legs still felt good. "This is going to be just fine" we thought to ourselves as we high fived our way across the top of our first 3 Archie's of the day. Onto Beinn Bhrotain which is where we started to feel the effects of the first 25km. The rocky ascent is steep out of the narrow bealach from Monadh Mor and we slogged it up there but we're still sprightly enough to enjoy some photographic antics at the summit cairn. The view South was tremendous and we saw where hoped to be in 24 hours. We also saw our first glimpses of Cairn Toul, The Angels Peak and Braeriach. "Nae bather" we said but the previous 30km had taken their toll. We kept going but the terrain was getting tough with large boulders and minimal beaten track, the weather also deteriorated and we were treated to the view of a wintry looking storm approaching from the west. We opted to ascend the shoulder that goes up Angels Peak before contouring south to Cairn Toul and climbed this 4th highest Archie in a blizzard. That seemed fitting given the prevailing conditions recently but we and the AMC wider team were ready for a change and it was on the way.
We tracked back to The Angels Peak then pressed onto Braeriach (which was further than it needed to be or we wanted it to be) but the weather was changing. Cold, thick cloud gave way to lovely sunshine and a blue sky. We rejoiced and gorged ourselves on photos of us standing on snow with the blue sky above us before taking a snifter of Eden gin and hot footing it down the snowfield in one of Braeriachs eastern corries. "You were moving so fast it looked like you were on ski's" Tom told us afterwards and we shook his hand gratefully as we handed over Rabbie several times for the benefit of the Adventure Show cameraman who was waiting with Tom and John Irving at the pools of Dee. "Only a 12km walk out to the car lads". We had already done 40+km but knew that we still had a wee job to do to get our burger and chips, still rather that than bash on up Ben Macdui!
Paul 10:16am by text….
"you are doing really well but going up Angels peak rather than cairn Toul"
Our mild mannered response
"Calm your pants. It's fookin snowing. Slow going on the boulders."
"It's horrible up here".
Distance - 55.5km
Ascent - 2563m
Total Time 11:42 (9:42 moving)
Mean pace 12:40/km (10:30/km moving)
The weather had been dreadful for the first week. It was June and the AMC had seen more fresh snow and ice with persistently low temperatures than anyone would have anticipated. The spectre of three big legs in the Cairngorms loomed and we hoped to cross the entire range in 24 hours.
4am. Glen Feshie. Two of us start the AMC Cairngorm assault. It's a lovely run up to Sgor Gaoith and as we near the summit the terrain remains good, so do our legs but the overhead is not great with cloud sitting at about 900m. That's less than ideal when trying to find the tops of seven mountains over 1000m but hey, it wasn't snowing - yet. We had done a good recce of the route beforehand and were rewarded for this as we hoovered up the ground between Sgor Gaoith, Carn Ban Mor and Mullach Clach a'Bhlair. Jay kept us right whenever I tried to take a path "Paul wouldn't like this if he's watching the tracker, let's just go straight across the bog" he said.