Some time before this I'd bumped into my superfit pal Caroline randomly in the Cairngorms (she was going up, I was coming down) and we had arranged to go running one Tuesday. As luck would have it we picked what must have been one of the most beautiful days of the year, and I selfishly suggested the titled route, Caroline's only criteria being it had to be a 50km, 2500m+ day.
So, bikes packed (to save some of the boring run), running crampons, ice axes and a plentiful and everlasting supply of duvet jackets and insurmountable amount of food at the ready we left Aberdeen at 0530 hours to get the most out of the daylight.
7am start from carpark - freezing! Cycle into Clais Fhearnaig path. Dump bikes. Hoof it up the hill to warm the fingers and toes. Long climb onto Beinn a Bhourd, but steady, and pathed. Very enjoyable running down to the Sneck. Quick sandwich stop. peeing made interesting with the wind. And up Ben Avon.
Not an awful lot to say about this and resummitting Beinn a Bhourd fairly straightforward. Fun begins on the way down to Beinn Bhreac across the yellow moss. In bog... out bog... in bog... well, you get the picture. Fall in a hole. God damnit woman, pay attention and stop looking at all the wonderful scenery. Anyone would think I was enjoying myself!
Three down and I can't remember how many hours at this point - possibly 5. I will download my Garmin eventually. Back across the yellow moss and onto hill four. An exciting descent down the scree (will have to work out if this will be a night section, which would add to the excitement). Quick sandwich stop and straight up the burn line. 'Impossible' exclaimed Caroline, but up we went and possible it was. Major sugar low despite the picnic so cram 3 bars in. Much better.
Stunning atop Beinn Mheadhoin but erosion meant not such a nice descent into Etchachan as I remember. And a long snowfield to climb back out. In trainers. No danger of slipping but doesn't half waste energy kicking steps! Next June had better no be a late winter! Up onto Derry - last hill of the day. Too much snow on MacDui to contemplate and too late in the day... and I really hate the run down Sron Riach which would be our bail point if we did go on. Stop to sun ourselves - we have earned it after all! More of a shuffle, really, back to Derry Lodge. Stop again to enjoy the sun and the late daylight. After all, there won't b much scope for this when it comes to the real thing.
Both decide we'll walk back to the bikes. Then see some walkers coming the other way. Start running again. Not that I care what they think! Back to car. Excellent day.