Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Bill Williamson CRR Leg 2 – 21 Aug

Earlier this year (03 July) Bill attempted the Charlie Ramsay Round to complete the third of the ‘big three’ rounds in the UK. Thwarted on that occasion by dreadful weather on the last leg Bill was back last weekend for another attempt. Unsettled weather and strong winds were forecast to blow through Lochaber before dusk with a calm, dry, cloudless night to follow. With the wind behind him on the outward first leg this looked like a fairly promising forecast.

BW_CRR_20100821-001 sunbeams in Glen Nevis

BW_CRR_20100821-002 final preparations in Glen Nevis

BW_CRR_20100821-003Charlie Ramsay (left) with Yiannis Tridimis who will help on the last leg

The weather through the day was better than expected; windy but warm and dry. By the end of the first leg there were no signs of the wind dying down which wasn’t as forecast but things were still looking good at Loch Trieg for the start of Leg 2.

BW_CRR_20100821-004 Bill changing shoes & socks helped by Pat and his wife Jean (also in blue) while Andy Kitchen recovers from the first leg

BW_CRR_20100821-005 Climbing high above Lock Treig with Rhiannon

The weather started to deteriorate not long after we left Loch Trieg and long before the halfway point we were all wearing full waterproofs and our cameras were stuffed deep into rucksacks. The second half of the leg is along low level paths and tracks and still the headwind was troublesome, driving pulses of heavy rain throughout the evening. By the end of the leg Bill was still running strongly and we were all optimistic about a sub 24 hour completion as he and his Leg 3 team set off for Beinn Elide Mor summit. Before we reached Mamore Lodge some 3 hours later it was becoming obvious that the improvement in the weather was going to be very late arriving, if it arrived at all.

BW_CRR_20100821-006 Ian & Will in Glen Nevis waiting on Bill finishing

BW_CRR_20100821-007 After battling the weather through the night Bill completed the round but not in under 24 hours

The end wasn’t quite as dramatic as the picture, perhaps, suggests. Bill was only minutes behind a 24 hour schedule with only two of the twenty four summits left to do but was close to exhaustion and unable to push on when he wanted to. As the sub 24 hour completion slipped away grim determination stepped in to ensure the round was completed, no matter what. Waiting in Glen Nevis and watching the minutes and seconds slip away is not a pleasant experience. Not knowing why the team are overdue is dreadful; everyone tells each other we would have heard from someone if anything had gone wrong and we all try to believe each other. Eventually, a couple of runners come down to say that Bill is OK but slowing down and anxiety is replaced by disappointment as the clock hands slip beyond 24 hours. Disappointment is replaced by relief as the rest of the team appear out of the forest with Bill but finally gloom replaces everything else as we begin to come to terms with the final outcome.


  1. your last paragraph particularly, describes perfectly the roller coaster of emotions that these challenges present. not just for the runner but the whole team - well done to bill .....will he be back?

  2. Kate - not next year apart from supporting other attempts. He has other things he would like to do but as for the more distant future, who knows?