Skyline ScotlandWhen I close my eyes to picture it I see only grey, mast excavating and green. And when I try glen coe skyline think glen coe skyline how it felt, I just remember feeling tired. Everything blended into a blur of rock, grass and mud. As we shuffled forwards to the startline, I tried not to look too closely at the other runners for fear of psyching myself out. All runners had been personally glen coe skyline by the organisation to check their mountain running and climbing experience, and glen coe skyline showed: Several rows in front of me were some of the best runners in the world, including the king of mountain running, Kilian Jornet. I tried not to think about them.
Salomon Skyline Scotland - Fusing Mountain Running and Alpinism - Salomon Skyline Scotland
When I close my eyes to picture it I see only grey, brown and green. And when I try to think about how it felt, I just remember feeling tired. Everything blended into a blur of rock, grass and mud. As we shuffled forwards to the startline, I tried not to look too closely at the other runners for fear of psyching myself out. All runners had been personally vetted by the organisation to check their mountain running and climbing experience, and it showed: Several rows in front of me were some of the best runners in the world, including the king of mountain running, Kilian Jornet.
I tried not to think about them. The speed was vicious from the start. All the hills were run, no matter how steep. Some runners switched to hands-on-knees power hiking, but still maintained the pace.
After over 20 years of looking at this peak at the entrance to Glen Coe, I finally was climbing it. Curved Ridge Grade 3 loomed above and I could see runners strung out all along the steep and narrow pillar of rock.
The scrambling was easy — all the holds were there, right when you wanted them. I was stuck in a traffic jam for a few minutes a less competent runner above, holding us up , but I tried not to let this bother me. The middle section of any ultra race always seems to be a struggle for me. I gained some places and lost some places. It felt too fast. At this point, I decided to buck my ideas up: I had been wanting to do this race for years, it suited my strengths perfectly and Caroline was up on the next climb waiting to cheer me on.
I briefly thought about how I would feel the next day if I quit. There was really no good reason to stop. So I pushed a bit faster to catch up to a couple of Scots and engaged them in conversation. It made me go a bit faster than I wanted, but chatting helped the miles pass faster.
Soon I was overtaking these runners on the m descent to the one and only aid station on the route, feeling strong, happy and ready for the business end of the race. Quite unusually for a race that could take hours to complete, Glencoe Skyline only has one aid station. I had planned accordingly, making sure I had enough food to get me round the whole route, all tucked away in my pack. Ordinarily, I would plan on drinking about ml of water, and eating about kcal per hour.
For the last section, there would be no ability to refill bottles from streams, so I switched to water and energy gels per hour. A volunteer very kindly filled my bottles for me all the organisation and volunteers were so kind and helpful at this race , while I downed a cup of coke, a cup of water, and emptied the stones from my shoes. Tromping up the climb, I went into hunting mode: I knew that halfway up the climb I would be seeing Caroline and that that would give me a boost of energy.
Sure enough, it did, and I kept on digging in for the rest of the m climb. I was actually starting to enjoy myself at this point, and the exposed scrambling of the ridge got me excited. I overtook some people, and played cat and mouse with some others. The descent was tussucky, boggy, steep and occasionally rocky, before it hit the final 6km of easy trail on the West Highland Way again.
I ran faster, knowing it would be only half an hour to the end, but I seemed to lack the killer instinct to catch the runner in front. The last few hundred metres, I stretched my legs out and went as fast as I could, rounding the final corner and then crossing the line.
I hauled myself to my feet and walked over to the barrier to give Caroline a big, sweaty, smelly, muddy hug. After many years climbing and running on the roads, he realised he wasn't actually any good at either of those things. He has since turned to mountain ultra running, which he's better at. Joe also enjoys playing the classical guitar, and has an unnatural aversion to swimming.
Running the Glencoe Skyline: The race is regarded as one of the most technically difficult ultramarathons in the world, with scrambling up to Grade 3 standard, 55km to cover and m of climbing. But I can remember some specifics…. My legs felt pretty good at this point… 10 minutes before the start of the race! Starting to enjoy myself a bit more on the climb up to the Aonach Eagach ridge. Very happy to have finished the Glencoe Skyline in a little under ten hours.
View Articles by Joe Williams. Solo on Charlie Ramsay's Round 11 Jul The Lochaber s 15 Apr Write a Trip Report. Write a Book Review. Send us an Update.