JORDAN WYLIE’S 15x15x15: DAY THREE- CAIRNGORMS
They say ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ – a mantra that served me well today in the most northern of the UK’s National Parks; the Cairngorms.
After a 10 hour drive up to Aviemore with a quick stop in Glasgow for an interview with BBC Scotland, it was time to hit the road for marathon 3/15. Although the weather forecast was sunny with light winds and the odd shower, it couldn’t have been further from the truth. Torrential downpours and heavy winds consumed most of my day but luckily the team at Montane had equipped me as always for all the conditions I would face.
This was without a doubt my toughest run so far in this series which I guess is no surprise really. I knew after just 5 miles that I wasn’t going to be breaking any PBs and my focus was solely on completing the 26.2 miles of the Scottish Highlands jagged and unforgiving terrain.
By the halfway stage I was really struggling, the tough winds seemed to change direction and every turn and I’m sure the Highland Cows (or Coos) were smiling and laughing as I passed them. These fellas were out in full force and were a great source of morale when I needed to dig deep (which was on a regular basis). Although I found it challenging to enjoy the incredible landscapes up here, one thing I will certainly take away is the diversity of the wildlife and plants, I don’t believe any other national park can match this, although I guess I will find out very soon!
At the halfway stage I decided to take a time out for 20-30 mins as an old military back injury was starting to raise its head. Combined this with muscle fatigued and the build of Katie acid, it seemed reckless to just soldier on through. When I did it started again though. The day became all about psychological warfare and making sure my mind could control the body and not the other way around.
This was a tough day. Much tougher than I had ever envisaged, and it took me almost double the time of the New Forest marathon 48 hours earlier. I’m pretty certain the logistics of sitting in a vehicle for 10 hours and driving long distances plays a factor in this but there can be no excuses. This was never going to be an easy challenge but that’s another one down.
Next stop Loch Lomond…