Saturday. Day 2.
Up by 6am and walked across the road to the Hall that was going to be our base for the next 52 hours. We was up in Dunkeld to help out on a walk. Each of the 498 walkers can bring two bags for us to look after. One is taken to Kinloch Rannoch checkpoint 9 at 68 miles by John and myself. That is why we was in a van.
The first walkers started to turn up by 7am, That was the start of a very long and tiring weekend for everyone involved, around 800 in all.By 10am the van was full with around 300 breakfast bags with about 200 more piled at one end of the hall. At the other end was about 300 finish bags for the baggage team to look after, My wife and 2 friends (from Harrogate and Doncaster) to look after the bags and sort them out and give them back to the walkers as they come back.
At 10am and to the sound of a pipe band around 400 are sent on there way. With a bit of luck maybe 75% will made it back to the finish by using just there own two feet and a hell of a lot of guts,
At 12 noon A few fast walkers and some runners set off.
And at 2 pm a few fast runners are off.
The 32 miles to Kinloch Rannoch is not a easy one to drive, Even with speeds of up to 70mph on the A9 it still took us one hour to do the run.
The route we took was,A9 North to just North of Pitlochry to the B8019 passed the Queen's view and Loch Tummel. Then the B846 into Kinloch Rannoch and breakfast stop. We quickly unload the 300 bags and set off again back to Dunkeld. So we would not get too bored with driving the route, we took a different route back. It was all on narrow and windy roads that would help me to keep awake on the night shift.
The route back was, Well the first road dose not have a road number on the OS map. It went South of Dunalastair Water to pick up the B846 South to just North of Aberfeldy onto yet another minor road with no number to Strathtay. Over the bridge and onto the A827 for one mile them onto the B898 to pick up the A9 just one mile from Dunkeld.
This was not a easy route but the scenery made up for it, and at night it got a little bit hair raising to say the least. After a cup of coffee we loaded the van up and set off to do the round trip again.
By the time we got back it was 8pm and I took over the driving for the night section. John went off for some sleep so he could take over again in 12 or so hours. After yet more coffee I set off driving my first run. I took one of the "bag ladies" with me and a walking friend (a retired policeman) who was at a lose end until he started helping out somewhere on the walk on Sunday.
We set off from Dunkeld at 9pm just as the wildlife started to stare. Sorry to say I did kill two bats, and dodged a couple of deer on my run to breakfast spot. The first walkers / runners was due to cover the 68 miles in14 hours.
Let me explain I drove to Kinloch Rannoch empty, my job now was to bring the bags back to Dunkeld as the walkers have finish with them or as any walker drops out of the walk. About 25% or 125 walkers do not finish. We had already brought some bags back on our second run earlier on. Seeing the first walkers was due in at midnight we stayed there drinking yet more coffee and yes talking about pasted hundreds and walks we had done. What a boring lot we are! At midnight and after endless cups of coffee we go outside to see if can see any walkers coming down the hillside.
To our surprise it was raining cats and dogs. We waited until 12-30am until the first one's came in, them in appalling weather we set off back to Dunkeld. Now me and common sense do not see eye to eye, so I drove back along the minor roads. They where in flood in places with up to 4 inches of standing water. Driving along we saw thousands of frogs on the road. Sorry to say Scotland as a few hundred less frogs now. The rain had striped the blossom off the tree's, and one of the roads had a tree branch across it. It took me over 90 minutes to drive the 32 miles. Back by about 2am for yet more coffee until 3am and to do the trip yet again.