Running - Offroad long (The Charlie Ramsey Round) 9:12:25  36.11 km (15:18 / km) +3869m 9:58 / km
shoes: S/LAB Ultra 3
...aborted after the first 10 out of 24 munros.
I'd hadn't been thinking about doing this until someone asked me about a week ago "are you going to do a Ramsay recce whilst you're in FW?" and I thought hmm, maybe I should just try and do it all solo without having recce'd it; surely I could do <24 hours in that scenario, right? I mean, everyone says the Paddy is an hour harder than the BG and that it's the hardest; therefore this must be easier.
I reckon that's a load of nonsense for a start; this was much tougher than the PB. But I digress.
Digby provided me with his actual timings from his 21:40 (or something) attempt, which I removed the breaks from (obvs) and then scaled up to 22:00 as a nice round number. I also found three gpxs on the internet and used google satellite view to construct a reasonable (imho) attempt at a file to use, given couldn't really map read due to using the poles. I wanted to avoid as much of the night as possible and so went for a 2:45am start time, meaning the two ridges that looked most dangerous (the CMD Arete and Devil's Ridge) would both be just in the light. If I kept to the schedule.
Started fine, bit warm so removed coat after about 5 mins, LS was fine. Lovely morning, no cloud, bit of moonlight. Perfect conditions. Tried to cut a zigzag low down but it ended up in a fence so backtracked on that one, but cut before the stream and then all the other zigzags successfully. That meant going up a lot of scree though - would definitely make sense to cut them going down but I'm not so sure going up. It looks like maybe there's a bit more of a trod nearer the gully to the N that I missed in the dark; maybe that's better. But a good pace on the track might be faster still. Anyway got to the summit uneventfully and I thought I was going okay, but 15(!)mins down on the 22h already which was a bit of a shock.
Descending to the start of this was probably the worst bit; really slow and rocky. Can't see a good line here on OSMaps overhead view since it's covered in snow, but Strava makes it look like my line wasn't that bad, so maybe it's just horrible; whichever, I hate rocky descents. Then the arete wasn't too bad, but it was a km of very careful movements with three points of contact a lot of the time. Lost another 15m.
E from CMD to the col was really slow again; seemed to keep losing he vague path. Then following the gpx it looked like it was going to lead down to the bottom of a near vertical slope, so I deviated right to come out at the col and then found some even more horrible terrain, it looked like I should have stayed where I was and it would have bent back around again. Also I then went due E straight up rather than diagonal because diagonal didn't look sensible, but actually from closer up and from the top it looked fine, so would go that way in future. Another 15m down; I think this is the descent rather than the ascent.
First bit of running on the round. The first non-rocky section, and the first bit I didn't lose time on. This was fine.
First bit was fine, nice grassy descent, and then just E of Stob Coire Bhealaich the gpx told me to descent by a giant rocky slab; I couldn't tell whether it was before or after but before looked pretty sketchy so I went to look at after... which was an actual cliff. So I went even lower down looking for a viable route and ended up on a steep grassy slope with occasional rocky shelves making it very hard to pick a line. Looking back up - shoulda gone before the rocky slab. I think that fell shoes would have been better for several sections - although not for most of it due to the level of rocks; so hard to make a shoe choice really. Once at the bottom anyway, the ascent was fine; contoured around SCB probably a bit high; it looked like I could have avoided some scree by staying lower than 900m. Another 10 mins.
Another leg where I didn't lose any time! Down a bit and then up another scree slope, which was tough. Looked vertical and massive from afar but was actually not that long and not that steep.
I actually gained a few minutes here; it's all merged into one a bit but I think this bit was ridgy but the sort I could actually run on a bit.
Lost 10 mins here though, not sure how. Makes me think this leg and the previous one the schedule is a bit dodgy. Only thing I remember about this leg is could have gone the other way around the lake; makes very little difference.
FML this was a grim leg. 500m nice descent down a path, then another km down steep thick grass/heather, then 100m of bog, then a mile of steep uphill heather with no trod. Really hard work, and seemingly neverending. +5mins only though, which is pleasing tbh. My knee had started to hurt quite a lot by this point, something I did on Friday which I thought had resolved itself but clearly hasn't. Gradually getting worse between here and the end unfortunately.
This extremely short leg was apparently still long enough to lose me a couple of minutes.
Loch Treig Dam
I thought I did this pretty well so surprised to be 12 mins down.
Right decision to call it; carrying on at this pace would have resulted in a 26-hour round. So what went wrong?
- solo is hard psychologically
- solo is hard because you have to carry everything
- unrecce'd is hard because you keep making little mistakes
- unrecce'd is hard because you don't know whether the bit you've just done is relatively 'hard' or 'easy' relative to the rest of the route; you don't know what's coming up etc
- I'm rubbish at the rocky terrain
- My knee is sore and probably couldn't have got round anyway
I think the top two are the least relevant here, and the bottom two are the most relevant. I need to get more confidence over rocks. I do think it's improving over time - it's just taking a really long time because I don't do it often enough.
There were a few incidents where the recces would have made a big difference, maybe 25 mins of the 1:25 I ended up down maybe, but that's still an hour to find somewhere else. I think if I recce'd the whole thing, and did it supported, I'd probably get round in 24 hours, but it would be tight.
Definitely tougher than the PB, and easily than the BG. No wonder the BG has so many completions in comparison!