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Discussion Forum - Events - Heart of Scotland 105 - Marshals' Walk


Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Fri 7th May 2010, 21:47
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
Thanks, Garfield. The photos told me more about what to expect than any number of words.
Author: Julie Welch
Posted: Fri 7th May 2010, 10:40
Joined: 1996
Local Group: London
Fantastic photos, Garfield. As David says, full marks for being able to trot along and point a camera at the same time. Now I'm going to try and match the pictures to the route description.
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Fri 7th May 2010, 10:40
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
Thanks, Garfield. They are reminders of a superb walk. It is a pity that the weather was so dull on Saturday - the flat light makes the scenery look less exciting than it really was. And I'm sure the climb from Loch Errochty was much steeper than it appears on the photos!
Posted: Fri 7th May 2010, 8:54
Joined: 1982
Thanks for the Photos Garfield, they have certainly settled my mind on one or two points that were of concern. Now I am really looking forward to it. All I have to do is get past that B***y dentist at the hospital today. Just one thing how do you manage to have the time to get such great photos and still do a good time for a walk? I really admire you for it.
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Thu 6th May 2010, 23:13
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Thu 6th May 2010, 12:53
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
The results of the Marshals' Walk are now on the website http://www.heartofscotland100.org.uk.
(Garfield)
Author: Janet R Pitt-Lewis
Posted: Tue 4th May 2010, 18:29
Joined: 1993
Local Group: Marches
Must echo the thanks to the marshals - not many walks where you are asked what you want to drink at the checkoint and put in an order for hot chocolate - many thanks Tony. And Roger - that yogurt you produced at the Tay forest checkpoint was essential to get me along the interminable riverside path to Aberfeldy. Some one kept moving Aberfeldy. I agree the hightlight were the section from Daldhu to Shinagag and the walk along Loch Errochty towards the snow dusted mountains in the early morning sunshine.The low point - walking 3 miles along the road to Fortingall away from Aberfeldy having read that the village hall was the last building in the village.
Author: Katie Hunt
Posted: Tue 4th May 2010, 17:07
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Norfolk & Suffolk
Congratulations to everyone who completed the Marshal's Walk. The posts by Garfield and Ken have really said it all but I wanted to add my thanks to all the organisers and checkpoint staff. The work they have put into this event is amazing and the cheerfulness of everyone involved was something really special - a tribute to the spirit of the LDWA! I must say the cheese and beans and toast kept me going through many a mile! - Malcolm

As a note from Katie - I would encourage people to think of volunteering to marshall next year's Marshals' Walk because it is a really special atmosphere. It is a real pleasure to help this much smaller band of people round - they are amazingly cheerful, grateful and I personally got a fantastic sense of a team out there making it all happen. More marshalls helping on this weekend would, I am sure, help the organisers. So consider it for 2011! I am in awe of all the people who finished - you are all fantastic. Good luck to everyone at the end of May!
Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Tue 4th May 2010, 16:29
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
Thanks, Garfield. Your report balances Ken's very evenly.
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Tue 4th May 2010, 16:11
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
Ken's posting in "Events" says it all really, so I'll just add my own perspective.

I started with a chesty cough and sore throat, and a hot-spot on my left sole, so I knew I was going to suffer at some point. But the early stages of forest roads passed easily and I felt fine at Dunkeld. The pace had been quick thus far, but by the start of the climb to Loch Ordie the 27 starters had fanned out into more-or-less the order they would eventually finish in. A short heather tramp, a long soggy descent into Kirchmichael, and a third of the event was over. I patched-up my hot-spot and set-off on the long, long road to Daldhu.

Leaving Daldhu you are surrounded by tall snow-capped mountains and the feeling of isolation is wonderful. As expected, the track gets rougher, ducks, dives, disappears and reappears and in the dark I needed to keep a sharp eye on bearings. But I made the broken bridge spot on, and was soon at Shinagag. The miles were now getting longer, my throat had closed-up and most areas of my left foot sore or blistered. Considering I finished the Wessex without a blemish, I was puzzled by the degree of blistering. I pulled into Blair Atholl and submitted myself to the charms and ministrations of the ladies in Room 36 of the Bridge of Tilt hotel.

Then it was the Bruar estate, imagining the falls through the darkness, and down to Calvine and the cycle track. Now, this is a flat, tarmacced 5-mile stretch - time to motor and pick up the pace. But not for me. I felt tired and drowsy and looked for a suitable haystack or shelter to just enable me to close my eyes. I gradually pulled through this, and Sunday dawned bright and and sunny.

My wife, Helen, and her friend Fionnuala were running the next checkpoint, at the fabulously located Errochty Dam. The temptation to stay there was strong, but after a ten-minute shut-eye I was off down the side of the loch. The route now changes character and enters a couple of rough stages. The first involves some steep heather-bashing for around 800ft in total; nothing untowards but after 75 miles I found this really hard work. An easy descent into the beautiful Kinloch Rannoch was followed by a long pull up through 1500 ft over the shoulder of Schiehallion. This good track takes you to the Tempar Bothy, after which a thin track clings precariously to the edge of the heather banks. I've no idea if I took the right line of descent, but the track alongside the burn is easy to follow and I was soon at the waters-meet. More prolonged heather-bashing takes you to the track to Pheiginn Bothy, but there is still more climbing before you reach it.

The remaining 19 miles or so were straightforward. The descent to Keltneyburn seemed to take forever though, and then there is a 3-mile road walk to Fortingall. At 92 miles I knew I would finish the remaining 13 miles, but it was still painful work. Fortingall, however, is a fascinating place. A wonderful village hall, an ancient Yew Tree, a stone circle and all manner of oddities in the church yard. A place to return to. By the time I reached the Tay Forest Car Park checkpoint it was dark again, and the final miles to Aberfeldy were just the worst. I played all kinds of mental games to keep my mind off the walking. I usually sing, but my throat was too sore. Probably as well. Soon the lights of Aberfeldy were upon me, and I walked into the Scout Hut 40 hours after leaving it.

This was a walk that was, in my mind, dominated by the staff. At every checkpoint I was looked after so well, and had such friendly discussions that I overstayed my allotted time at each one. Every person deserves praise and grateful thanks. Perhaps I can single just a few out, though? Tony Rowley and his good lady who sat in their car on the cycle track at Calvine for 17 hours!! Or maybe Helen and Fionnuala in their tent covered in ice, for 16+ hours? Or Mavis who, at Kinloch Rannoch, persuaded me to carry on when my feet and throat were screaming "No More!"? Thanks to you all.

The route has been assembled with care and is full of the character of Scotland I love and miss - remote, wild, stunning views, chattering burns, and characterful wildlife. The distances are governed by the lengths of the Glens and Lochs, and the terrain by the mountains and moors. Man feels insignificant here. (Garfield)

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