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Today At The Fort


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having 'challenged' the official reporting of the p65 its only right that now been in a position to record my 'holiday in the highlands ' this may i should do so.

a mere 364 miles after leaving home i pulled into the carpark at 5.30 sunday the parade was over and bikes were under lock and key in the PF. much was as normal althoug there were no vans from the tyre barons, and the army were doing the refuleiing but using 'hired' vehicles for the week ( transit flatbed and ford pickups)

up early on monday and perhaps 50 saw the first rider pipped away by a wee lady piper ( who quickly sought the dry and warmth of her car after the first rider had left)

fast as legally able we got to trotters burn as the first riders were leaving, parking was available along the narrow single track road but the constabulary were out the day before with hundreds of cones. the sections lowere down were straight forward enough the water levels were benign the top section though was the mark taker a steep 8 foot rock climb sorted the top boys out ( who made it look effrotless) those less skilled or just unluky had to be plucked from the pool at the bottom as bikes hung from the top of the rock or worse still followd them back into the burn, one scorpa fell so hard it sparked as it bounced and took the fuel cap clean of the tank!!

those with an eye on saturdays finish wisely started the section but turned left and out just before the rock climb.

the weather at this stage was wet but not windy the rain soft but persistant.

next we were off to the ferry at corran but were lead astray by the sirens at the morrisons cafe ( full scottish braekfast toast and tea a fiver) so made an early arrival at laghana. what a well set up group the locals had the community hall all set up teas coffee soup ( tomato or veg) and the best selection of WI cakes for many miles an excellent effort by the ladies whilst the men took a couple of quid to park us on the football pitch and then when full across the road at the farm.

despite the requests on here and from the organisers two quid was too much for some to bear and they had to ride or drive to virtually the sections themselves!! the first couple in the beck behind the farm were traditional fare with football sized boulders rolling around in the fast but shallow water. the main meat though was a couple of hundred yards away steep rocky sections with a difficulty rating of close to 10. very few cleans on the hardest section and again the qualities of those better riders is to be admired but also disected. Doug's bike control and confident competant style can only be marvelled at. Harrys bravado and moto cross style is no less effective whilst the younger 'bouncers' like to leave the section with a hop of celebration if clean.

dougs routine at sections is worth noting. he walks the length of each section then when walking back down every five yards or so he turns and reviews those few yards before descending a few more yards and turning to check again then at the start turns and checks one more time. a real pro as he follows this from the hardest to most simple sections.

it did really rain at laghana and the level of the water rose and fell throughout the afternoon but in practical terms made little or no difeerene to the sections themselves.

tuesday and up with the larks again at 7.30 to check the previous days results in PF. unsurprisingly it was raining already..Our first section was at alggan locksa nd how riders must have breathed a sigh of relief for despite the rain there was no water apparent at either of the two sections! the first was in a modest gully with the 20 or so spectators standing on either side looking down on the riders. the section had some decent boulders 2 foot or so to negotiate but the hardest part was finding grip on the vbery loose surface which was mainly grit and fist sized stones. Katy was probably the first clean at the fist section here. the second section was longer but on a much easier gradiant and being 6 foot wide there were plenty of possible routes and the section proved clenable by most infact the applause ussually reserved for cleans was given only to those who found troiuble and got out of it with a dab or two.

then on to creag linne (spelt very badly) via a massive map reading error. standing at the bottom of the first section where the massed ranks of the lampkin clan with big mart playing with the youngest who was seen astride a bike and taking a keen interest in the handlebars whist other young lampkins barely old enough to go to school demonstrated thier skills riding thier variuos push bikes down the muddy slope. A little like a Yorkshires version of the Spartan initiation test!

the bottom section had a stiff leap between rocks that was attempetd by many and cleaned by a good few many escaped with a dab few fives were reported and i saw non asked for a good section that everyone could ride and have a go at.

the next had riders gulping as they were faced by a 15 foot rock face that had to be tackeld from virtually a standing start from a deep rock pool. again though the plotters had it right the rock had grip and determination luck and or skill had a high proportion making the ends cards and into the next sub immediately . this had everyone scrathcing heads and doug harry and mart gave it a good coat of looking at and watching how others fared and failed before settling on the right line. once chosen ot became the line of choice and many cleans were made of the off camber climb then the ride along a knife edged rock.

the final two subs had a massive boulder ight on the ends of the first and start of the next sub. i'm glad i didnt have to observe. only the brave attempted the boulder head on other chose to take two or three dabs and worked there way around the rock.

on the way back to town we stooped briefly at forest edge a steep section in a gully which ended with a boulder at the end of a very yneven climb cleans werent so frequent but were roundly applauded. one rider waited for his mate ( who failed at the last step) and when asking how had he done said it couldnt have been that good as he'd not heard any applause!!

my record of events from wenesday is in another thread but to finish a big well done to the organisers to see the 'juggernaut ' persevere in such conditions is incredible, support for the event from locals seemed unanimous,' radio nevis for talking to themselves in the Pf. the very wet teams who supported riders each day upon thier return the landladies for drying kit each night the observers and those soaked desert rats well done one and all..

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What a first class report, sometimes its so refreshing to hear a real fans perspective.

How many sausages and pieces of bacon did you get with the breakfast?


Edited by Cota Kid
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