Ben Lawers- Practice Run for Malawi


Today’s challenge is to complete a 60 mile cycle to finish at the top of Ben Lawers in Perthshire! This is a big challenge for me and I am determined to finish it. I attempted to complete the same course last month with a couple of friends however, I only managed to make it up a third of the mountain when my I badly injured my knee and had to turn back, which was extremely disappointing.

I set off in the car from Glasgow at 8am and picked up fellow IQA colleague Brian Ward and friend Bill French. We arrived in Kenmore at the end of Loch Tay and got the bikes set up. It was a mild day but with a lot of wind and a little drizzle.

Ben Lawers stands at almost 4000ft above sea level and is the 10th highest peak in the UK. Our base start at Kenmore is around 1000ft so we had a fair height to cycle (albeit our road doesn’t go to the very top). The scenery was amazing and the cycle was tough but very rewarding. The weather was fine but we hit some high winds as we climbed up towards Glenlyon, at the foot of Ben Lawers. An hour and 17 miles later we eventually got to Glen Lyon and had a quick rest before setting off up the mountain.

The incline was steady and we meandered up the single track road, which was surrounded by beautiful hills and countryside, plus the odd sheep and lambs. You could only really cycle in the lowest gear and if you stopped pedalling you would have moved backwards. It was tough! It probably took over an hour to cycle the 4 miles and what a rewarding feeling when we reached the top. We walked the last few metres to the viewpoint at the top and were greeted by amazing views.

Even better was the way down! I must have travelled almost 3 miles without pedalling which was a lot of fun, although at this point there was a strong rainstorm so it got a bit slippy. The best part of the day was arriving back in Glenlyon at the foot of the mountain, and visiting the Glenlyon Post Office and Tea Room. South African owner Becky looked after us and we had a fantastic lunch followed by the famous Scones.

This fuelled us up for the 17 miles back, and for some reason we really pushed it for a while and had a very fast run. I must have overdone it though as I hurt my knee once more and had to take it a lot easier on the final few miles. Luckily I had a knee support and that helped a lot. We celebrated our achievement with a pint in the Kenmore hotel before heading back on the 2 hour journey to Glasgow. A fantastic day and well worth it!

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