CWU - Final Report - Days 1 to 3
So, that's the Cape Wrath Ultra conquered!.
Eight days of unrelenting rain, wind and cold temperatures. But what an adventure.
Day 1 - having done this day before I was completely familiar with what was ahead. However this time, rather than the high temperatures of 2021, it was rain and cold winds. Still, managed to get to the finish line in good time which meant I got to the tent early to meet my new tent mates, pick out my tent buddy (we have to share a small space with two people when we sleep in the tent) and start the prep for day 2.
Day 2 - This was going to be hard again. I was familiar with the nightmare hill we had to climb in the middle of Knoydart and wasnt looking forward to it. It didnt disappoint 😒.
I though I had done the work on the food I needed. However, again, and this is a trend, the second day of hard exercise my body reacts. This time it was the same. 3km to go I was at the end of my tether. The photo above shows me about 6km before this energy dip hit me. I had absolutely no energy and I knew I had two more climbs to go. Fortunately I remembered I had a banana in my bag. I ate that and this gave me enough energy to crawl to the finish line and then head straight to the food tent for food and then straight into bed or recovery.
Day 3 - the stage I failed at last year - this time was going to be tough because of the weather. However, I go through to CP1 pretty much on time (they had reduced the cut offs by an hour from last year but I was on track arriving at 11am (indicated cut off was 11:30) rather than 12 noon like last year) and so I didnt feel too concerned. The route to CP2 climbs up to the falls of Glomach before dropping down to the road along Loch na Leitreach. Then its a slow climb and then descent to the river crossing at Loch Cruoshie. Then two main climbs to go - up to Loch Calvie and then a fast run along the loch to CP3 at the junction of the main road. I arrived there still within time by 40 mins. After following the road until it disappears, the swamp crossing gets you to the bottom of the final climb.
By now the rain had started and the wind was picking up again and it was getting a lot colder. Several people passed me by on the climb up, I was still wearing t-shirt and shorts - to change would cost me maybe 10-13 minutes which I could afford.
At the summit it was 60mph winds and hailstones and snow.
I met up with Gabi (the German lady I had run with along Loch Calvie - she had passed me on the climb up) and together we tackled the steep descent into camp. This involved running the entire descent along paths swollen with water, severe mud pits, rocks, steep zigzag paths and then at the end some 3 deep river crossings before a run around the camp to the finish line.
We made it by 18 minutes but several people we had passed on the way down didnt. Running was our only option. I was though now in the medic tent suffering from mild hypothermia (I couldnt stop shaking). Quick trip to the medic tent meant warm clothes and then under the magic silver foil blankets to get warmed up.
Day 3 completed!!!