Day 6: Runners Head into the Magical Assynt Landscape
The landscape changed dramatically today as runners headed into the south-west Sutherland region of Assynt. The countryside is more rolling, green and wooded compared to previous days. Assynt is also home to a series of isolated mountains rising dark and stark against a backdrop of big skies, rocks and lochs.
The start of today's route provided a challenge on very remote and rough high ground, which then gave way to runnable double-tracks through forested glens and alongside prime salmon-fishing rivers.
Towards the end of the course, the runners passed over a bealach beneath Conival and Ben More Assynt. The terrain here was more technical and rugged, which suited some runners more than others.
Day 6 is the longest day at 45 miles and the campsite at Inchnadamph is the highest of the Cape Wrath Ultra at 80m.
Day 6: Inverbroom to Inchnadamph
Distance: 72km (45 miles)
Total ascent: 1400m (4593ft)
- XT = 21%
- ST = 15%
- DT = 57%
- RT = 7%
Kit drying on the fence at the campsite. Credit: Jimmy Hyland/JHPvisuals.co.uk
Making the most of the sunshine at the overnight camp. Credit: Jimmy Hyland/JHPvisuals.co.uk
The stats on day 6
- Still 'competitive': 120
- Non-competitive: 26 (still travelling with the event to run future days)
- Retired: 31 (left or leaving event)
Mist gave way to sunshine today. Credit: Jimmy Hyland/JHPvisuals.co.uk
News from the front
The Cape Wrath Ultra 2018 is proving to be more of a battle for second, third and fourth places rather than for first. In both the male and female race, leaders Robert Barnes and Carol Morgan have dominated almost from day 1.
Yesterday it looked like Gore ambassador Jamie Ramsay, originally from Scotland, was going to be a threat to second placed Jim Mann, a very experienced ultra runner.
Jamie Ramsay flying along in 3rd place ©Credit: Jimmy Hyland/JHPvisuals.co.uk
But while Jamie remains in third place at the end of Day 6, he has lost time due to an ankle injury (and a half pint at a CP!). He was only 14 minutes behind Jim after day 5, but is now almost 1hr 45 mins behind.
Close to CP3 today, Jamie said: “I have had to walk quite a bit today to start with. My ankle is very sore. It is disappointing but there is not much I can do and I did join the Cape Wrath Ultra for the journey rather than to win. I think I might stop at the pub at the checkpoint for a pint!”
After finishing, he added: "I might well have had a quick half at the Oykel Bridge Inn at CP3 but I picked up a lot after that and the rest of the day was okay, despite my ankle being so sore."
Paul Ainsworth, England, is now only 11 minutes behind Jamie in fourth place.
Jim makes good progress. Credit: Jimmy Hyland/JHPvisuals.co.uk
Second placed Jim has been a man of few words for most of the race but today, at the start line, he revealed a little of how he has been feeling. Jim, who has previously won the sister race, the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race®, said: “I have been struggling a bit this week and that has been frustrating. I prefer to be in a position where I can attack a race rather than hold on.
“In particular, I felt bad on the night of day two. I felt like I had a temperature and that led to a very bad day 3. I had to sit down for a rest at the halfway point, which was a low. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to carry on.
“But I have been feeling a lot better as the days have progressed since then. I enjoyed yesterday’s trickier terrain.
“Today is not going to be my favourite day because the route is more forest trails and tarmac than technical and more remote paths but I am happy to be going out. I’ll see how it goes.”
Top three runners
- Robert Barnes (7), England, 35:47:30
- Jim Mann (112), England, 37:06:43
- Jamie Ramsay (32), Gore ambassador, 38:49:30
Sunshine and hill paths on day 6. Credit: Jimmy Hyland/JHPvisuals.co.uk
Carol Morgan - a strong leader
Still at the top of the female leader board, Carol Morgan, Ireland, remains well ahead of the other women. She has been steadily increasingly her lead, in particular on days four and five, on second placed Sarah Witte.
Today Carol finished 2hrs 9mins ahead of Sarah.
South African runner Karoline Hanks has been in third place since day 3 although still around 1.5 hours behind Sarah. I caught up with Karoline today. She said: “I might be in third place but it is a pretty tenuous placing. Carol and Sarah are much stronger and further ahead.”
At the end of the day, she added: “I found all the hard-packed forest tracks hard on my body. A spring or two feels broken! I much preferred the end part of the course, which was more technical. That is the terrain that suits me better.
“I am really pleased about how I am running and my placing but I think Carol and Sarah are much stronger than me.”
Top three females
- Carol Morgan (124), Ireland, 36:38:01
- Sarah Witte (187), England, 39:47:06
- Karoline Hanks (68), South Africa, 41:16:59
Find out about the Ups and Downs of the Other Runners
Assynt offers a change of scenery. Credit: Jimmy Hyland/JHPvisuals.co.uk
Digging deep. Credit: Jimmy Hyland/JHPvisuals.co.uk
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