Day 3. Crunch Time.
Many of the participants in the Cape Wrath Ultra commented at the outset that day 3 could be make or break for them. This morning the day arrived and footsore and tired after their run across Knoydart yesterday most were aiming for a 7am start to give themselves as long as possible to make the cut-off times. (There are two today. 12.30 @ CP1 and 16.30 @ CP2.)
Today’s route looks intimidating as it’s the only one with 3 panels on the race map – it seems to go on forever, and there is a lot of climbing as well. It’s 68km and 2,400m of ascent and although race staff have assured participants it is easier running ground than yesterday the cut offs are still a concern, especially for those who arrived into camp at dusk yesterday. It is committing too, as once past CP2 there is still a long way to go and no way out other than to finish the day.
The route crosses the mountains of Kintail first, climbing to pass between The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine before dropping down to the coast again at Shiel Bridge. After a bit of road running the path heads into the wilds towards the Falls of Ghlomaich, the biggest by volume in Scotland and here the maps warns to stay well back from the gorge edge.
Beyond CP2 there are several river crossings, one on a wire bridge and right at the end of the day comes a difficult cliff descent which will be staffed. (The warning here is ‘Be Alert to Correct Route’ and the guidance time on the map is 22.00!)
It’s going to be tough, and last night two participants, Lee Muir and Jim Frondorf (USA) reluctantly decided against continuing. Frondorf arrived into camp late, looking weary and withdrawn, not chatting to the finish staff. Soon after he enquired about retiring saying he’d been carrying a knee problem and hoping to push through, but now felt it best to stop.
All the remaining competitors are now underway on day 3, climbing out of Kinloch Hourn into Kintail, and you can follow their progress on the race tracking page.