It was a lovely sunny morning, for the drive North, 17c, but forecast to worsen, with wind and rain peaking at 65mph gusts at 7pm. Well at least with a 1pm start, we should be off the hill for then, thought I. My first concern came as I wrestled my way up the A84 past cyclist, caravan and motorhome one after the other, along with a myriad of tourists driving at 35mph in a 50 zone, in case they spot some deer. Now I am all for a spot of sightseeing, and can admit to doing all of the above, but always with consideration for other road users - Pull over. Indicate. Anticipate. Please.....
Aaaanyway, I needn't have bothered - The guys, who were driving up from Sedgefield in England, were stuck on the A82 behind a crash. Doh! The planned 1pm start became a 4.15pm start. I watched the weather deteriorate gradually, and donned my waterproofs with a heavy heart.
Then the team arrived. My spirits rose as they leapt out of the van geared up and raring to go. Excellent! We shot off at a brisk pace, with not a concern for the dreich conditions. Metre after metre came and went, and we ascended steadily and efficiently. This was a fit and motivated group, always cheerful and really up for the challenge. The one team member that found it a struggle still got to 1000m before calling it a day, and making their way down with Paul, the other ML on the route.
Thankfully, though it was misty over 1000m, and raining most of the time, the wind stayed around 30-40mph, which whilst unpleasant, wasn't as bad as it could have been, and the temperature stayed at a balmy 4.8c - Well what do you expect in August? We made the summit in a very respectable 3.5hrs, and after a quick photo we headed down.
We were not quite as quick on the descent, with a couple of guys struggling with their knees, and a certain dearth of head torches due to the fact had we set off as planned, we wouldn't have needed them! Nevertheless, the smiles and banter never stopped until the welcome cup of tea at the car park at around 10.45pm.
Well done to all, and I hope the rest of the challenge went as well, and that you at least had a bit of luck with the roads and the weather.