Well, the time finally came for the Kiltwalk. We woke early on Sunday to make our way down to Vicky Park for the 9am start. The weather was looking very good for the day ahead.
Let's do this thing!
I did the first bit playing with the Buckie Pipe Band. Mum was walking with her Findochty Primary School team. When we got to Buckpool harbour we started being passed by the Kiltwalkers, so I left my pipes and joined the crowd. I think there was around 750 folk doing the whole thing (and 1250 in total), so it took a while to find my mum again.
I was leading for the first half a mile!
The ant's go marching two by two
The path to Spey Bay is mostly double or single file only, so there was quite a distance between the front and back of the walkers by the time we arrived there. This was the first pit-stop, and I grabbed a buttery and a couple of bottles of water. The pipe band were playing at Spey Bay, but were long gone by the time I arrived.
The walk to Fochabers was a much quieter affair, the path is much wider and the pit-stop had spread folk out a bit more.
The team reached Fochabers without much trouble
At the Fochabers stop I grabbed some cereal bars and another couple of water bottles. The sun was shining so I made sure to keep drinking.
Just beyond Fochabers we were onto a single track road, so had to stand aside for the cars every now and again. This is also where we started the hill climbing. The worst bit is probably the sharp s-bend here. There was another pit stop somewhere around here too, though I can't recall exactly where.
The next pit stop was at the Boat o' Brig, just after coming down another steep hill. We got sandwiches (and more water) there, and I got to see a train passing while we sat. Yay!
A quick lunch stop
Past the Boat o' Brig was the real climb, Ben Aigan. If you look at a map of it (such as this one) you can see we barely go near the top. In fact only 1000ft out of 1500ft total. It didn't feel like that however after having already done 17 miles! There was a few bits of this path which weren't very good, quite narrow and very muddy.
That was a killer climb
The Boat o' Brig doesn't seem far enough away here!
When we came down the other side of Ben Aigan, there were another couple of pit stops. By this point I was in agony. Nothing specific, just all over! Mum and me had long since lost sight of the rest of her team who had launched ahead. After Craigellachie it was only two miles of flat railway line to Aberlour, but those were probably the toughest two miles of the whole thing.
That photo was at the old train station where the highland games are, however the finish line was actually up the hill towards the high school. Who's crazy idea was that? We eventually reached there at 17:42, 8 hours and 42 minutes after setting off from Buckie. You can see my route on Strava.
Stovies and a pint, just what I've been waiting for
Everyone eventually made it
Oor Wullie was chuffed with my performance
I feel rather sore today, but raising £115 is pretty good going I reckon. Overall it was a really well organised event, and the weather was just perfect. Would I do it again? No idea, but more than two weeks training is definately recommended!