Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Bill Williamson’s Ramsay Round

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.

Final preparations at Fersit  Jean & Wynn with Chris as he finishes sorting kit for Leg 2


Early morning light at Loch Trieg

 Very early morning light at Loch Treig

morning light at Lock Treig  Early morning light at Loch Treig

Almost ready for Leg 2

 Alan recovers from Leg 1 while Bill prepares for Leg 2 with encouragement from Rob


climb out from Loch Treig

 Climbing out from Loch Treig

Loch Treig

 Loch Treig

Stob Coire Sgoirdain

 Stob Coire Sgoirdain and waterproofs are needed

Beinn na Lap

 Brief respite in Beinn na Lap

Loch Treig

 Back down to Loch Treig for some sunshine


Abhainn Rath

 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.

1 comment:

  1. I've been caught on the Breacons when the weather closes in and it's not pretty, sounds like it was a good call in the end!

    Not to diminish the feat of two, but three would have been sweet!