The campsite has been gearing up for this weekend when the Great Wilderness Challenge (www.greatwildernesschallenge.info) took place.
It is a 25 mile mountain marathon in aid of (predominantly) charities like the Highland Hospice, Maggies Highlands and Barnado’s. The event has been staged for 25 years and involves six checkpoints, fording a river, rough moorland and peat bogs! A lot of planning goes into the race with assistance from the Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team (MRT), HM Coastguard, the local NHS and Wing Air Cadets.
Last year it had to be re-routed due to heavy rainfall earlier in the week but this year they had to contend with gale force winds (60mph at sea level so goodness knows how windy it would have been on the peaks)
The site managers Philip & Julia, organised a raffle for the event and for the last two months we’ve been selling tickets to our campers with the chance of winning a spotting scope or binoculars. With the help of our campers we were able to raise £800 for the cause which was an excellent result!
The night before was extremely busy with walkers/runners turning up on site throughout the day and into late evening. As usual the weather turned nasty with very strong winds – not the best weather when trying to pitch a tent! Some visitors needed assistance putting their tents up and we did our best to get them sorted while Philip & Julia were booking people in until after 10.30pm – a very long day for them!
We had been watching the weather forecast so knew severe gales were forecast. Dean removed a lot of stuff from our tent just in case it didn’t survive – exposure to the elements over the last five months has made the fabric brittle – and it turned to be a worthwhile exercise…
Overnight the wind got even stronger with gusts up to 60mph but come 11pm we had to just leave the tent to the elements and deal with the aftermath in the morning. Sadly, the tent died in the night with a rip right across the roof from one side to the other that we discovered at 7am. By 10am it had further opened up so half of the roof was now open to the elements. When we’d finished off our morning duties Dean had to set about emptying the tent of all our belongings and dismantling the rest of it to be disposed of later.
Throughout the day we could hear the bagpipes playing up the road where the finish line of the race was, and then the runners/walkers made their way back onto camp for a well deserved shower! There was another Ceilidh in the village hall that evening in aid of the Dundonnell MRT and by all accounts it was very well attended.