Yesterday was International Women’s Day and I decided to celebrate it with a wee adventure. A few weeks back I had seen that Girls on Hills, an amazing outdoor company aimed at women, was putting on a trail run for celebration.
Early in the morning I set off on an almost 3-hour drive to Glencoe despite forecast for heavy rain. After all, there is no bad weather, there is only inappropriate clothes, right? The drive itself was very scenic, with views of hills and the beautiful Loch Earn. About midway, the blue skies changes to dark clouds and heavy rain started.
Out on the hills, part 1
After arriving at the Glencoe Mountain Resort, I changed into my rain proofs and went to meet up with the other women participating. We were a group of about 10-12 women brave enough to show up in those treacherous conditions. After a brief introduction and distributing some kit to test, we headed out into the pouring rain and up West Highland Way.
The run was great fun. Everyone was going at their own pace, with small regrouping breaks every now and then. The path was muddy and covered in melted snow slush, with some patches of white in between. Luckily, the rain mostly stopped, the sun came out for about 5 seconds and there even was a rainbow spanning the whole valley in bright colours. After about 2.5k, we all headed up the snowy slope of a hill to a cairn. After soaking in the views, we charged down the hill again. Such fun! On the way back, rain set in again, eventually turning into a hailstorm as we were crossing the parking lot at the mountain resort. The hail corns in my face were seriously unpleasant, to be honest.
Back at the Mountain Resort, we warmed and dried a little inside, before everyone started heading off to get changed into dry clothes and shoes. Some of the others went for a drink, but I decided that I wanted to make my experience worth the long drive.
Out on the hills, part 2
I just changed into dry running clothes, ate some banana bread and then drove a few minutes further down the valley to head out on another run. I was aiming at running to the Lost Valley, a fairly short out-and-back route. The ascent was quite steep, the path flooded from melting snow and the terrain very rocky. It was a great, technical run. Well, more of a power-hike in most places, if I’m being honest. My feet were completely soaked within minutes. I felt the weight of my wet socks in my trainers. Undeterred, I pressed on. To the left was a drop down to a river, with a majestic waterfall on the other side. I had to scramble up some easy passages along big boulders and really loved it.
However, the heavy rain set in again. At that point, my rain jacket was beginning to soak through. I felt in my back how cold water was getting in. My mittens gave in as well, resulting in hands getting cold. I started to feel a little chilly, despite being on the move. A little disappointed, I decided to be sensible and turn around. While running back, I soaked in the views again. Glencoe is such a majestic place. Such a pity my day had been cut short a bit by the rain.
Back at the car, while I ate banana bread and had some hot tea, I resolved to come back very soon. The terrain and the views in Glencoe are superb and I can’t wait to do some more exploring! And obviously that’s a great training ground for my upcoming races. Until next time, Glencoe!