Another Bealach Mor and yet another drenching…at least it kept the midges at bay.
It was raining from the start as me, Jim F, Joe, Andy Abel and Joe’s nephew Jimmy set off. Jim and me kept it steady up the first climb where we we were joined by a few others and the usual sprint to Achnasheen and on to Lochcarron. It was tough going, a fast pace into a strong wind, very wet roads and passing other groups on narrow roads! We climbed out of Lochcarron and then regrouped and on to the Bealach climb. The early section was fine, but as we climbed higher and on to the steep section the fog descended and the wind picked up. I was reaching a massive 4mph at one point as every pedal turn was a struggle in a tough headwind. I couldn’t even see how far was to go as visibility was down to yards, but eventually hit the hairpins that mark the beginning of the end. The descent wasn’t any better, as the crosswinds, very wet roads and no visibility meant it was treacherous and brakes were on from the start. I was very glad to get to Applecross, where the weather had now tuned to blue sky.
Jim and me then slogged round the headland to Shieldaig as best we could, but it is a real killer 25 miles or so and we were both gubbed. Tried to take it easier and enjoy the scenery…The last climb out of Shieldaig and up to the Torridon descent before the final 10 miles finished us off. Then the rain started again! Didn’t even feel like much of a tailwind either. So it was head down and try and finish as fast as we could. Jim started to feel sick so let me go on for the last few miles as by now we were both sodden, cold and tired. Was so glad to finish, just about in one piece, with Jim a couple of minutes behind me.
Then it was get changed and in to the hall for some much needed hot food, cakes and coffee while waiting for the others to return – which they all did safely.
I say it every year, but surely one year the weather will be kind to us and it will be blue sky, no wind and make it so much more enjoyable. Once again only a handful made it under the 5 hour mark, the time for the Wheelers were:
My Garmin, for anyone who likes to see the route and profile: