ARWC 2007: The home straight (Thursday/Friday)

Adventure Race World Championship: The home straight (Thursday/Friday) Thursday saw the leading teams begin the home straight of the Adventure Race World Championship. This began with an ascent of the enigmatic Curved Ridge to the summit of Buachaille Etive Mor and a circuit of all the hills in Glencoe; an incredibly mountainous circuit. Only 5 teams made the cut-off enabling them to do the Glencoe circuit. The rest, on the short course, will trek direct along the West Highland Way to Kinlochleven. After traversing all the hills on the south side of Glencoe, teams made the long and arduous descent to the valley.

Snow still lines the gullies in Glencoe

From the foot of Glencoe it was straight back up the steep ascent to the Aonach Eagach Ridge. Traversing the ridge provided the teams with many breathtaking moments, both in the tremendous view with clear skies and the exposed nature of the scrambling that attains grade 2 in places.

Traversing the Aonach Eagach Ridge

From the Aonach Eagach Ridge, it was down to Kinlochleven where teams got back on their bikes to follow the West Highland Way through to Glen Nevis. From here, it was a first for adventure racing; teams made it to the summit of Ben Nevis (previous ascents of the Ben scheduled in other adventure races have always been cancelled due to poor weather conditions). The return from Ben Nevis was via the scramble of Carn Mor Dearg Arete and at around 6am today (Friday), the lead team Nike crossed the finish line back at the Nevis Centre almost 5 days after setting off from Rum. In total 49 teams started the race. Five teams are set to finish the full course, 26 are set to finish a shortened course, and 18 withdrew from the race. The first British team are Helly Hansen UK finishing on the shortened course and are currently in 16th place. I am sure all teams, whether finishing the full course or not, are looking forward to the closing party on Saturday. There will be many a story to tell about this amazing course. Each leg of the event was a journey in itself. The Cuillin of Rum, kayaking from Rum to Eigg and then across into Knoydart. Dawn whilst trekking through the wilderness of Knoydart, the beauty of Glen Affric, the loneliness of the Monadhlith Mountains, a perverse kayak across the centre of Scotland, Curved Ridge, the Aonach Eagach Ridge and finally Ben Nevis. A truly fitting course and a truly awesome achievement for every finisher.