Petestack Blog

9 May 2010

Not Fyne but Shira!

Filed under: Running — admin @ 10:36 pm

So here I am, five miles up some private road up Glen Fyne when I should have been leaving it for the open hill after four-and-a-half max, acutely aware that absolutely nothing squares with my recollection of the map (which I haven’t actually looked at since leaving Kinlochleven). So why didn’t said road start from the east side of the bridge where I parked the van? Why did I run past a fairly substantial lochan when I don’t remember it being marked? And why is this road now taking me steeply and obviously east when I should be leaving it to the west? Time to dig out the map and check, but still nothing fits and, for the first time since getting my Forerunner 310XT, I’ve found a use for the British Grid ref that the 305 couldn’t give. Just need to work out how to get it now, so spend a few minutes fiddling and there it is… but it’s not in Glen Fyne and the realisation hits me like a sledgehammer… I’ve parked the van at the head of the wrong bloody loch, run up the wrong bloody glen and have nearly twice the distance to cover to get my peak (Beinn Bhuidhe) or I’ve simply driven all the way down here for a stupid road run in trail shoes…

What a pillock! :-O

So is this just a staggering display of piss-poor navigation by a qualified Mountain Leader? Well, no, I wouldn’t say so because it’s more a case of no navigation at all (can’t blame map reading/interpretation when the map’s not in use or sense of direction when I’ve been heading the right way so far). And should I simply keep quiet about it and pretend I meant to take Glen Shira all along (for the miles, you see)? No, of course not, because it’s really very, very funny and I’ve got the blog post title sorted (after considering but rejecting ‘Running up the wrong glen’) within half a mile of that sledgehammer moment. And do I care that I’ve now got to run an extra 10 miles or so that I hadn’t bargained for? Well, no, not really… so just tell myself that it’s all good training (hey presto, see my 70 mile week turn into an 80!) and if I can’t cope with that I can’t cope with an off-road ultra next weekend. So every cloud has a silver lining, I’m getting some free miles I’d never have planned, a fortuitous chance to test my resolve and, to cap it all, the long western ridge from Tom a’ Phiobaire over Stac a’ Chuirn to the summit turns out to be really nice to run on…

Result! :-)

20.4 miles and 4,100 ft of ascent (from Memory-Map as opposed to 310XT’s raw 5,093 ft or Garmin Connect’s incorrectly ‘corrected’ 3,352 ft) to bring my total since Monday to 82.4 miles and 19,400 ft. And that first 6.5 miles or so up to the little dam below the break in the forest would be a fast and easy cycle (had considered taking the bike, but really did want all the running miles I was going to get up Glen Fyne) if actually planning to go the long way another time.


  1. Absolutely magic. Just goes to show that I’m not the only numpty mountain leader around. Great laugh & big respect for admitting to it :)

    Comment by Alan Breck — 10 May 2010 @ 1:16 pm

  2. Great story Pete :-) You won’t forget that day in a hurry! I remember the summit trig point on Beinn Bhuidhe as being one of the very early styles of trig point, as opposed to a while painted “block” like the more recent ones. It was also seriously knackered thru’ (I assumed) being the victim of many lightening strikes over the decades.

    If and when you park by the (correct) old bridge at the head of Loch Fyne you should spend some time studying the bridge itself. There are many fine carved names / dates along the bridge, some of very high quality and going back many years. Very interesting; well, I thought it was. And we had a great day up Beinn Bhuide as well.

    Murdo t M

    Comment by Murdo — 10 May 2010 @ 5:01 pm

  3. There’s a photo of the trig point (not unlike the one on Beinn Alligin) in Irvine Butterfield’s ‘High Mountains’, but can’t say I noticed it on the day despite expecting it to be there. So guessing that it’s maybe deteriorated further, got largely swallowed up by the cairn or I was simply distracted by chatting to the group who’d come up the way I’d meant to come. (And, before anyone asks if I’m sure it was Beinn Bhuidhe I ran up, the answer is yes!)

    Might add that it’s not the first time I’ve forgotten that you go round the head of Loch Shira before reaching the head of Loch Fyne when driving north from Inveraray, but must be the first time it’s taken me 50 minutes to notice when you’d normally have turned Strone Point within a minute or two if you hadn’t stopped and parked!

    Comment by admin — 10 May 2010 @ 9:54 pm

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