Nicky's Charlie Ramsay Round
I set off at 12.25 on Saturday 17th May 2008. The weather forecast was good. My plan was to get on schedule then try to stay on schedule feeling comfortable. And to eat - a lot - and all the time.
The 1st leg started with the Ben and we were 10 mins down at the top. I wasn't so worried but tried to pick up the pace in order to get a little back. Charlie Ramsay had come to see us at the hostel beforehand and then walked up the Ben. He was stood on the path leading down to the arete - a very good place as its hard to get a good line off there.
With the rocks being so dry it was possible to make time up and by the Aonachs I was back on schedule. Unfortunately coming down off Carn Mor Dearg Ian Charlesworth fell over. As soon as I saw his hand I knew it was bad. His middle finger was broken and the bones were sticking out at right angles to each other. He walked off from there and was actually operated on that evening.
I carried on with Ian Winterburn, Rus Beresford and Rob Woodall. The snow in the gully meant that we had to descend by the cairn into the Grey Corries and then contoured back. It wasn't too bad and lost us 3 minutes onto the next top. Once again with the clear conditions it seemed easy enough to pull this back so that at the top of Stob Ban we were 4 mins up.
I wasn't looking forward to Stob Coire Easien but found it ok and got well ahead of the support. I decided to carry on at the top and Ian W caught me on the ascent to Stob A'Coire Mheadoin.
I had been eating very well (for me!) and having the odd gel as well. At Loch Trieg I got some pasta and tea down then set off steadily up Stob Sgriodain with Bob Berzins, Roy Gibson, Mark Pearce and John Rowe. We got a good line up it and made good progress. I like Chno Dearg and enjoyed the gentle walk up to it. Rob Woodall had caught us by now having decided to have a go at the round himself. The light had gone by the time we were descending and we ended up missing the correct line down into the valley and came off the steep rocky end instead. Because the ground was relatively dry though it was ok however this was where Mark P twisted his ankle and ended up having a very long walk out with John Rowe.
I continued up Bein na Lap with Bob, Roy and Rob and on the top we were about 10 minutes up. Bob got us a brilliant line off which was all on easy ground and we were soon on the track. I wanted to make good progress in the valley as I thought that with a bit of effort time could be made relatively easy. My stomach had started to feel odd as John and Mark had gone off with all the food I wanted! I was determined to eat though and while in the valley managed pizza, eccles cake and softmints.
The effort paid off as we were 30 minutes up when we reached Loch Elide Mor. I had porridge at the stop but this didn't stay down long so I thought the best thing would be to set off up Sgur Elide Mor slowly and eat some Hula Hoops. My support on that leg was Tom Westgate, Mark Harvey and Andy Plummer. My plan worked and by the top I could eat rice pud and another gel.
Because I was up on schedule it was still dark and we couldn't find the paths off and so descending seemed slow. It was nice going across the path to Bennein Beag and up/down it. Bennein Mor was another I wasn't looking forward to and there were icy rocks and frozen ground on the top too which made it rather unpleasant. However the last big one over and more rice pud and fruitini and we were off.
I started to worry that it would all go wrong like on my PB when I lost loads of time on the last 6 hills. I counted down how many I had to do still and was disappointed when it was 8. However I knew I felt better than on the PB when I hadn't been able to eat much at all and so concentrated on just doing "the next one".
The out and backs are demoralising - I set off on both feeling good, half way along would feel tired and slow, then reach the top and feel better all the way back. In-between them Am Bodach looked big but wasn't covered in nasty icy snow like the last time I had been on it so although it was a steep climb somehow felt easier than before!
My support was doing a marvellous job of keeping me eating as its tempting to think you've nearly finished. I was down to mainly gels, rice puds and water by now with the odd banana and kendal mint cake thrown in. I had packed that much different food that I completely forgotten what I had. Thanks to the support on this leg for lugging so much round and I hope you made good use of it at the end!!
I was making good time and somewhere along the way decided to try for sub 23 hours as I was 40 minutes up on a 23.45 schedule. This was way beyond my dreams although I had once wondered what it would be like to feel good and make time up at the end of a round instead of doing all humanly possible to finish in time.
The Ramsay has a lovely finish with the hills getting smaller and the climbs easier. Stob Ban was soon over and then it was just Mullach Nan Coirean and the long run off down. My muscles had started to twinge and so I was careful descending not knowing whether it was cramp coming on. I was determined to run the track and found it ok. Down to the road and then what I thought was sprinting along to the YHA !! I finished in 22.32.
I had asked my brother to run in with me as he has done on the BG and PB but I was too early and although looked for him on the road thought he must have decided not to run. He ran in about 100m behind me so was there in reality.
Rob Woodall had been in view behind us most of the way and came in about 10 minutes later - well done Rob!
I was just going to write a short write up here but as you can see went a bit mad! I'll add pictures as and when they come in but thank you to all my support and I owe you lots of pints (especially the ones I injured!).
Link to my Ramsay schedule and Times
Link to Photo album