Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Train and Inverness

It was another year and time for the Loch Ness Marathon again.
The journey on the train was first class and took the strain.
The weather was miserable and one to forget.
With sleepy eyed passengers, we boarded the train.
From Wolverhampton to Warrington, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme, Carlisle and Edinburgh, the journey was pleasant and one to enjoy.
The carraige was spacious and one I had longed to partake, first class for me and all for £46! A bargain I enjoyed and one to be proud.
From Edinburgh the scenery changed and so did the weather, although we couldn`t see the surrounding mountains and its heather.
The cloud stretched and unfolded itself to the ground, enveloping the mountains, the lowlands and surrounds.
With the plains saturated and flooded, relentless rain lashes down.
We bade Edinburgh goodbye and passed through Dunblane, Gleneagles, Perth, Pitlochry, Kinguisse, Aviemore and reached Inverness in all good time.
It was time to rest before the big day and enjoy Inverness, its market and its atmosphere.
The next day was bright and the sun shone through.

The Indoor Market is 100 years old, and has little "quirky" shops and bargains to behold.

 The view from the castle was astounding with Flora Macdonald and her faithful dog standing tall and watchful, for she helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after he took refuge after the battle of Culloden in 1746.

The registration for the marathon, 10k, 5k and wee runners began in earnest.
Nearly 9000 runners would be put to the test.

 With an army of fine chefs and organisers and Baxters crew, the pasta party welcomed one and all and the queues just grew!

With thousands of water bottles to be handed out, these two gentlemen gave a joke or two and were happy to be photographed with a bottle - or few!

With soup and a roll for starters.
It was cheese pasta, jacket potato, salad and coleslaw after
Followed by chocolate cake and custard or carrot cake - if preferred
And Highland water to drink, cold and refreshing, getting ready for the big day ahead was awaiting and testing.

The very next day, we all got up early and made our way to the coaches and Nessie, only you couldn`t tell which one was the monster!

 We all lept aboard.
All 54 laden with people, following a huge courtege of excitement and apprehension.
Though the day was cloudy, it was full of promise of times and hearts to be broken.
The course would be testament to the strong and sturdy, though sadly a few would not complete this particular journey.

My own quest I had fulfilled, 6hrs 10mins of up and down gruelling hills.
I had achieved the ultimate goal, knocking 20minutes of my previous time, though sore legs and feet a challenge complete til next time, when I aim to complete the marathon in under 5hrs, well thats the theory!

Well done to everyone who had completed a great day of runs and those who stayed on to cheer us all to the last, from the first that finished in over 2hrs, to the proud and last in an epic 8hrs.
Thanks to all those who organised the event and the volunteers and crowds that cheered and gave us drinks and jellybabies too!

I look forward to the Loch Ness Marathon next year, but now is the time to put my feet up in the B&B I call home here.

Touchwood House is enigmatic and cheering, its warmth radiating and endearing.
It is a place that has a womans touch, for many a lady has owned the place, it has also been a childrens home and is filled with laughter.
Your guaranteed a friendly welcome by the lady who now owns it and I look forward to my stay here again next year...

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on beating your previous time. What an interesting all round post this is, I didn't want it to end ! It's nice to see the alternative things like the market that most people see first and the appropriate Flora MacDonald that most people including myself seem to miss.
    (A very nostalgic post for me. Inverness was the northern hub of Scottish railrover weeks for 7 of 10 years (1984-93), so I got to know the place well. These days I'm an infrequent day visitor ... charter rail trips... never been for about 6 years as there's usually just two hours to spend....thanks for the memories.)
    It's always difficult to avoid the monster in these parts for the touristic interest whether it is made out of wood (on the River Ness bank), plastic (Drumna -"droochit".... !!) or the one you met with hot air !!