Posts Tagged ‘aonach mor’

Relentless 24 – Binge Mountain Biking

After a summer of being out on the mountain bike a grand total of 3 times, committing to do a 24hour race seemed like a good way of forcing me back to the hill. As I sit here fresh from the a82 south, tired, in pain and smelling like a rotting tramp I feel good. Why? There is no conceivable explanation.
The weather was harsh, classic Lochaber rain that ebbed from viscous drizzle to driving droplets the size of gravel. A massively improved course from previous years was at first fast and defined, proper climbs – proper descents, gone were the lonesome non-discript drags of old. The trail deteriorated in step with the weather and become an eroded minefield of draggy mud, slick roots and newly dug holes. The night shifts were hard lonely slogs, interrupted only by brief chats with folk either passing or lagging and the hugely enthusiastic (drunk?) marshals. The craic was mighty back in camp, with few dull moments of introspective pain and exhaustion.
So the question remains; Why? Why indeed, why was is so enjoyable when for vast amounts of time there was nothing but pain and contemptuous weather / terrain? The answer my friends is in the stars, there is no answer. It is a strange paradox of pain, laughter, adrenalin, sleep deprivation and the enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures camaraderie, sustenance and the comfort that comes from rest in dry clothes and warm places.

10 Under the Ben


Well it was another great race and a great day in the sun, rain and mud! Finally I managed to put some of the footage together to make this wee vid. Our group of friends had a total of 6 teams entered! I’m already looking forward to next years race but for now, we’ve got the Tour de Ben Nevis coming up in September…

10 Under the Ben on High 8

Spad

10 under the ben – official video

Here’s the official video of the ten under the ben. Superb job as always from Stu Thomson @ mtbcut.

No shots of any of us lot riding but some great shots of us looking like chumps spectating at the end, waiting in vain for Iain Bowies valiant last lap attempt to be a success.

Oh and it’s worth keeping up with mtbcut produce as it’s all high quality. Here’s their channel on mpora.

Aonach Mor – Nevis Range – Red Downhill


The day after the 10 under the ben, myself, Spad and Ed decided we would take the chance to have a blast on the Red DH route at nevis range. Despite being race fatigued and hung over. The price for one trip on the gondola is a bit steep at £12 but keeping these tracks on the hill plus running all the first aid and the gondola must cost a heap. So you cannae complain to much. The trail is superb, rough technically challenging with loads of drops, rock ladders and boardwalk. The first section out over the exposed hillside starts pretty smoothly with obstacles slowly ramping up in severity until you hit the boardwalk. The boardwalk is great fun, heaps of grip loads of wee drops interspersed with rocky outcrops whooping jumps and bermed corners it provides a real rush. Their is a proper drop off to the right hand side if you get it wrong so it gets the adrenalin pumping. Their is a sharp, short uphill before the boardwalk ends. Taking you over the brow of the hill, it then meanders around a relatively flat area with loads of granite rock obstacles which are marked with red arrows to show the best line. There a are a few more uphill sections here but nothing to spoil the flow. After this the real downhill starts in earnest, it is steep rough and speed is easy to accumulate, although some sections have to be treated with respect especially on a hard tail, as a bad line could result in a very nasty face plant. Once of the steeps and into the woods there is a couple of river crossings, the first of which challenges your momentum. You cross the black DH run then down some fire road for a bit before the last few berms into the car park. Is it worth £12 for one shot? I would say yes! we took our time and savoured it. I would definitely go back and get a day ticket for £28 and happily ride over and over again it would undoubtably improve my downhill technique and confidence. Although I would get some knee, elbow pads to do this as a fall at speed on this track would definitely hurt – a lot. Highly recommended, but remember this is a downhill route so you would need to be able to ride some black level xc routes to manage it all, the red tag does not equate to the skill level needed for a red xc. The addition of the downhill tag makes a big difference.

10 under the Ben

This years Ten under the Ben broke the lucky run of weather the event has enjoyed since it’s inception. We were treated to classic Fort William weather, with a two tone sky. Blue to the South, Grey to the North. Fraser and the No Fuss team do a great job of tweaking and adding to the course every year. As he says himself “the only consistency is inconsistency”. The fantastic new natural wooded sections of course which had been added this year soon turned into a quagmire. Had the weather been as hoped these sections would have been exceptional. As it was they posed a solid challenge in bike handling, line choice and preserving momentum. As always the witches trails sections were brilliant fun, easy to ride despite the rain and full of speed. I found the most challenging part of the course were the long shallow fire road climbs, the rain had turned the usually hard packed surface in to a drag ridden paste which sapped energy and enthusiasm quickly. The new technical, forest, singletrack sections were definitely the highlight for me despite the intensity of the mud, I can’t wait to make it back and ride them in the dry at speed.

We had quite a crew of folk taking part over 20 of us loosely related through mates of mates. The vibe in the pits was great, a big thanks to all who contributed with food, drink, tents, houses and particular kudos must go to Lindsey Barr for orchestrating such fine hospitality at the race and after. The craic flowed and we all helped sort out broken bikes, keeping the kettle boiling and enjoying the fine Fort William weather. The atmosphere at No Fuss races is superb; friendly, comic and easy going. There is of course a competitive element but this plays second fiddle to having a good time and getting the craic with like minded folk. Big up to all those who contributed to such a fine weekend and hopefully we’ll all manage to make it again next year.

Our team was called “The crank addicts” which included myself, Spad, Davie G and Bowie. We managed 7th place. Which was pretty good, had I not stopped for a slash and Spads chain not come off we could have got up to 4th. Iain Bowie put in a gallant effort going out for a final lap but missed the cut off by only 2 mins. Next year eh!

Spad’s on the case of getting a video together so check back soon for that.

Witches Trail


A wee video of a fine jaunt around the trails at Aonach Mor. Good day, good company and quality trails…

Scratching Around for Ice

On the Road at 6am it was a familar pilgrimage up Scotland’s Great Western Road on Saturday morning.  Into Glencoe’s Stob Coire nan Lochain, Mini and Kia managed to get the rope properly fankled on boomerang gully, while Spad took a slightly uncommon  route up to Dorsal Arete.  Having previously avoided it for more difficult routes, the Arete proved to be nothing but good fun and I wondered why I hadn’t done it before.  Back down in the Fort it was pints and pub scran before lamb chops arrived.  A good sleep in till 7am, but rescued by the gondola it was off the back of Anonach Mor on Sunday.  We all lacked ice screws and on a variation of Tunnel vision, Mini and myself ran out of rope, with me 25m above the last shakey protection, and 2m from the top.  Plenty of excitement as it felt like I soloing over hard ground (for me).  Soft snow didn’t make life easy higher up, but luckily some other friendly climbers, up from Glasgow, dropped us a line.  We did the same for lamb chops,Skippy and Spad, who had had a similarly taxing climb.  Having run out of time for the Gondola, all that was left was twilight descent into the Glen, some gear sorting, and a pint on road down before making glasgow at midnight.

About High-8

High-8 is a loose gathering of like minded adventurists who document first person, on the ground experiences with words, photos and film. The hope is to form a rough guide to outdoor adventure sports in Scotland and provide a warts and all, honest representation of what we find. No sport is excluded from mountaineering and mountain biking to gorge walking and kayak all are welcome and encouraged.

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The Code

The Country Code, which most of us learned in school (and we probably haven't read since!), was updated in 2004 when it became the Countryside Code. Here's the updated version:
  • Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people
In Scotland, where there is a more general right of access, there also exists the Scottish Outdoor Access Code:
  • Take responsibility for your own actions
  • Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind
  • Help farmers, landowners and others to work safely and effectively
  • Care for the environment
  • Keep your dog under proper control
  • Take extra care if you are organising a group, an event or running a business.
There's obviously a lot to to be learned from these - it's amazing how many people get out to enjoy the countryside but are still happy to leave it in a mess. Even with the recent updates, the Countryside Codes seem slightly outdated when considering the wider issues involved when lots of people get out into the countryside. Some places just can't handle high volumes of people, no matter how they behave and publicity, no matter how interesting or well-done , has the potential to attract lots of people to an area. Blogs including video, pictures or words, form part the the wider media which could easily contribute to tipping the balance, and so we as bloggers have to consider the implications of what we decide to post. Can the place we're writing about take more people, and if not, it might be wiser to leave maps, place names or grid references out of posts. In Scotland, the Mountain Bothies Association has been careful to protect the location of some Bothies due to mis-treatment and, in some cases, even malicious vandalism. That is not to say they would not advocate people using them - in fact, a well used, maintained and loved network of bothies exist, and the MBA as an organisation is there to encourage this. Some bothies are busier than others but generally it is the less remote places which are more susceptible to abuse - something which might be worth considering when deciding whether to post information. It must be said, in most cases it's obvious what should or shouldn't be publisiced, but it's worth taking these considerations to mind.

Please note: The Code is constantly being revised and added to. If you like to add something login in to the discussion on the forum.