Peak to Peak is off and drowning!
Well we have successfully began Peak to Peak 2014. Yesterday morning we drove 4.5 hours over from Aberdeen to Fort William and owing to a diabolical weather forecast, realised that that very afternoon was the best opportunity of the next few days to climb Ben Nevis. So we set-off at 1230pm over and up the valley under the mighty North Face of Britain’s highest mountain. Tower ridge our original objective looked amazing, a steep rock ridge climbing route which lead up into the clouds. We looked at it with a feeling of disappointment as we knew we did not have time to climb in our limited time frame, so instead headed up via the C M D arete, which is basically a walk, with a couple of scrambly sections. We hit the summit after 4.5 hrs in thick cloud, and surrounded by dogs, children, infants, ladies in singles and men in camouflage gear. It seemed every man and his dog (excuse the pun) were wandering up the tourist track that day, great to see so many people getting out and enjoying the outdoors. It was cold on top, I took the following summit video: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=N9LDrAYEEjk
After ten minutes we set-off down, and just over two hours later we had hit the bottom, with sore toes and the sole of my boot falling off (time to retire them and saves me carrying them 2000km to France!).
Day two, we woke to an overcast and windy day, but to bolster our enthusiasm for the ride, Bill cooked us a sumptuous breakfast of bacon and eggs. Bill is a friend of mine based in Aberdeen and we were extremely lucky he offered to drive us over to Fort William and see us off on the start of our trip. After the breakfast we offered him the job of joining us on our journey to france and cooking us breakfast every morning but he declined.
We set off at 930am on the bikes, and very soon exposed to roads with out any shoulders, lots and lots of cars, wind, rain but beautiful views even in the mist of the Loch’s, country side, and beautiful old buildings and small villages we passed through.
Soon we reached Glencoe and the start of the Glencoe valley, this is one of the most beautiful valleys – have ever walked through (I walked it back in 1999 on the West Highland Way), with stunning views of the high craggy peaks on either side with the star of the show being Buchaille-Etive-Mor. Unfortunately we could not see it through the rain and cloud, and had our head down pumping the peddles hard as we had too climb for over 20km as we made our way up through the pass. For 70% of the cycle we had a tail wind, however for some periods we were battling head first into the wind, driving rain and uphill which I must admit had me questioning my sanity as cars full of comfortable, warm and dry people sped past sending sheets of spray our way.
Eventually we reached the small town of Tyndrum, a distance of 75km in total, and a hard won 75km in tough conditions. The tent was NOT looking inviting for the evening especially considering the forecast for heavier rain overnight so we dived into the Tyndrum Inn, what better place to take shelter from a storm than a pub!
I am writing this from my phone so cannot upload any photos from my camera. Attached below is us leaving from Fort William. I will upload more when I get the chance and you can track our progress in real-time on the GPS spot tracker by clicking the link at the top left of this page.
Day three today sees even more rain than yesterday and the winds are stronger but hopefully they are tail winds.
Over and out from wet, cold and windy Scotland. Don’t let the weather put you off coming here though, the scenery is still magic even in the rain and the people are lovely!