Almost 12 months ago Bill completed a Bob Graham Round, since then a Paddy Buckley Round and last Friday travelled north to tackle the Charlie Ramsay Round to complete all three within a year. September Ramsay Rounds are rare, not least, because of the shortage of daylight. Weather forecasts were promising but as Friday midnight approached so did low pressure which threatened to make Saturday afternoon less than ideal. I was fortunate to be able to join Bill’s support team and help on the short middle leg.
Very early morning light at Loch Treig
Alan recovers from Leg 1 while Bill prepares for Leg 2 with encouragement from Rob
Climbing out from Loch Treig
Stob Coire Sgoirdain and waterproofs are needed
Brief respite in Beinn na Lap
Back down to Loch Treig for some sunshine
Beautiful and remote Abhainn Rath south of Loch Treig
Regrettably the good weather we enjoyed on the second half of the leg wasn’t to last and as the evening wore on it deteriorated savagely.
Bill’s brief summary of the attempt -
“In retrospect it wasn't a good idea to do leg one in the dark.
It was a pitch black night and I kept getting on really rough terrain slowing us down.
Sorry for the "short cut" up Aonach Mor Alan. We were well to the left of the main path, I'm thinking of sending in details to the SMC and claiming a new route
Coming off Stob Coire Claurigh again got it wrong, when some light appeared I found myself in the middle of a large boulder field and had to clamber over them for ages until I could get on to the grass.
By this time I'd left my support hoping to meet them again after Stob Ban but they'd had trouble coming off Stob Coire Claurigh as well so I had to go over Stob Coire Easin on my own with only one power bar.
Felt very vulnerable here as they also had my cag and I could see the weather was changing, didn't know what I would do at Treig for a waterproof.
Half way up Stob A'Coire Mhead I spotted what I thought was someone on a training run coming off Easin by the time I got to the top he'd caught me, it was Alan with my cag and food.
By the time I got to Loch Treig I'd lost 1:10 not a good start
On leg two Chris and Ian were brilliant, I managed to rehydrate and get going again even though the cloud base dropped right down and the rain started.
By the time I got to the ruins at Loch Elide Mor I'd clawed back ten minutes but on the climb up Sgurr Elide Mor I bonked and lost 15.
By Binnean Beag another 6 had gone but the weather was getting worse now with gusts of 50 mph. I was knocked to the ground a few times going up Binnean Beag but the worrying thing was I couldn't keep warm going uphill, when I got back down to the col I was shivering and knew then I couldn't make the time as in a few hours it would be dark again and get even colder plus I was going into a headwind so I decided to call it a day.”
It was a huge privilege to be part of Bill’s team, to be able to contribute to the attempt and to share in the commitment of everyone involved. The disappointment of the final phone call was palpable and greeted with disbelief by all of us – we were all so sure, despite the difficulties, that Bill would make it. I have no doubts that we will all be back for next year.