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The Adventures so far!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

#BikesBoatsBoots for the RNLI ~ 4th to 8th June 2015 ~ £5,176 raised for the RNLI!

The #BikesBoatsBoots Trek was once again inspired by a chat at the coffee machine between myself and my now good friend Dave McDonald as to how we could beat last year's #3PeaksbyBike trip and we came up with the plans for a 190 mile coast to coast adventure trek across Scotland... Cycling from Oban to Fort William, Hiring canoes and canoeing along the Caledonian Canal and through Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness, climbing the Loch Lochy Munro’s of ‘Sron a Choire Ghairbh’ and ‘Meall na Teanga’ on route to Inverness, cycling back from Inverness to Fort William & finishing off with a climb of Ben Nevis... Joined again by Paul Cunningham and this time also accompanied by Stu Thompson who with the most canoeing experience would look after us in the boats (something the rest of us had to take some basic training for including rescue skills).

The plan was to start at Oban Lifeboat station, visit Loch Ness Lifeboat station at the top of Loch Ness and also call by the Kessock lifeboat station in Inverness. The trip was going to be very weather dependant but unfortunately we didn't envisage it conspiring against us so much!
Thu 4th June, Day 1 ~ Went well with an amazing and very humbling reception at Oban Lifeboat Station to start us off where 6 of the crew made time to have a coffee, chat & photo's with us before we set off on our 50mile bike ride to Fort William.

From there we picked up the canoes and paddled onwards for
another 14 miles to wild camp overnight on the banks of Loch Lochy which made for a total of 13hours of Trekking.
Fri 5th June, Day 2 ~ We set off at 8.00am from our overnight camp up through the woods to climb the Munro's with a very steep scramble before getting caught in a storm and 'white out' after 1.5 hours that we had to take shelter from for 40 mins. After much deliberation we decided to turn back at that point as further storms drew in...
This delayed the canoeing for an hour because of the rough water before carrying on and finally getting to the banks of Loch Ness after a total of 15 hours to make camp for the night at 11pm!

Saturday 6th June, Day 3, Saturday was a write off :-(. 50mph winds on Loch Ness brought up 2m high waves, much too big for our laden canoes. A huge disappointment but the wise and safe choice advised by Loch Ness RNLI team who told us afterwards they were quite relieved at our decision...

Sunday 7th June, Day 4 ~ With winds still against us and to claw back some of the distance we were aiming for we decided to pull the canoes out and amended our plans to cycle 20miles up the Loch from Fort Augustus to Loch Ness RNLI at Dromnadrochit rather than canoe up to say hello to the crew (and reluctantly skip the final 10 miles from there to Inverness). We received another overwhelming reception by the Loch Ness crew and then had the return cycle back to Fort William seeing us cover just over 75miles that day on the bikes.

Monday 8th June, Day 5 ~ And another early start for a 5 hour climb of Ben Nevis with the last mile to the summit in snow!? In June!? Altogether it was about 8'deep at the summit with many of the usual landmarks buried deeply with only the storm shelter and Trig point visible!

We didn’t make the full 190miles due to having to sit out the full day on the Saturday but it was still an amazing and exhausting few days meeting some 'ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the RNLI' and a lot of other lovely folk on route too!

 Here are some of the stats from our Trek...
~ 170miles covered
~ 33hours 47mins on the move over the 3.5 days we could make progress
~ 7,542 calories burned
~ 3,986m elevation climbed
~ £5,166 raised in donations from our trek for the RNLI