Sunday 22nd May
Fort William to Glenfinnan
Approx distance 37km (23 miles). Approx height gain 500m.
Up early, I arrived at the Nevis Centre before anyone else! Well, I hate being late. The centre was not open yet so I chatted to people passing by when they asked what was going on.
The team began to arrive and when the centre opened we were able to begin attaching trackers to participants’ rucksacks, running vests, or whatever ‘sack’ they would be running/walking with during the event.
The trackers used on the Cape Wrath Ultra were certainly more sophisticated than I’d seen before. Due to the remoteness of the route, it was imperative to maintain accurate whereabouts of each participant. The YB trackers not only used satellite GPS technology, as you’d expect, but also mobile communications using a satellite link. This meant, should an emergency occur, the participant could text Event HQ from wherever they were. Conversely if it were necessary, event HQ could contact the participants.
The schedule for the day had been set out as follows:
08:00-08:30 Rendezvous at the Nevis Centre
08:45 Depart Nevis Centre, walk to Ferry
09:00-09:30 Ferry Departs to Camusnagaul (across Loch Linnhe)
After we had seen all participants to the ferry, we then headed off in a loose convoy to Glenfinnan to set up Administration, Catering, Medical and sleeping accommodation for the participants.
A small team were across the Loch setting up the start area.
The overnight camp on this first day was in the shadow of the viaduct, the one the Hogwarts Express goes over in the Harry Potter films. Good eh?
Setting up camp takes the majority of the support team.
Administration, Catering and a Medical tent (large ones) go up first; a large (ish) marquee goes up at the same time if bodies are available. A gantry is erected in front of the administration tent to welcome the participants as they finish. We then put up 15 8 person Berghaus tents. The structure of these tents uses air pumped into four large tubes that form the shape. They are then pegged down as any other tent.
The area of the camp was fairly damp in places which therefore gave us the added joy of midges!
Not too bad though, if I’m honest.
A generator is connected up to power sockets in the three main tents and lights are put up in all. The participants’ tents have no such luxuries, but no one complained!
As each participant arrived at the finish they were cheered/clapped and generally welcomed after their first day on the Cape Wrath Ultra.
The camp began to come to life as it were. We were all feeling good, the weather was kind and a good buzz was about the place.
Participants were fed and they settled into their respective tents in groups. Although the day for them had been relatively easy, I think some had the next day on mind. The distance was stepped up as was the height gain.
After I’d had dinner, our day concluded with what was the first of our end of day briefings. I was in two minds whether to put up my tent. In the end I decided to sleep in the car.
Here is a link to Sleepmonsters and Rob Howards account of the first day: