:— Where Angels FearTbTread

Running 2-1 tniles in three and half hours is good going not quite a competitive marathon time. but definitely good going. But wait. that includes running up and down a 3000 ft mountain. if this sounds like something

you could take in your stride. enjoy even. then the Scottish lsland l’eaks Race is the endurance event for you. To take part. you need a team of live. including at least two runners. and a boat. The race starts off with a gentle five-mile warm up round ()ban before jumping aboard your vessel and heading for Mull. The crew drops off the runners who bound up Ben More and back. Then it's time to sail >- no motors allowed - to Jura where the runners thrash tip the scree slopes of the three l’aps. a twenty-mile trip that some contestants manage in under five , hours. The final peak is (ioat Fell on i Arran before the team sails to the finish at 'l'roon. The best ever titne was 36

hours. but most crews take around two days and presumably two weeks to recover. ‘iiyeryone's so knackered by the end of the race. we have the prize- giving in November.’ says organiser Barbara Mills.

If you prefer to work up a sweat while remaining on semi-dry land. then the annual Highland Cross Race could be your cup of high energy brew. ('ompetitors run twenty miles from ls'intail on the West coast. jump onto bikes and then pedal a further thirty miles to Beauly on the East coast. Front

:1 field of 600 competitors less than ten I fail to complete the course each year.

For those w ho prefer to take things easy and just rtm up one mountain at a time then your nearest Highland Games eyent is the place to find like-minded souls.

Popular locations fora spot of mountain sprinting include Ben Nevis at 1344 metres and Ben Macdui at a pil‘lling l30‘) mctres.(Iiddie Gibb) Is/tmt/s I’m/e Raw. This year's race is on I!) May .w I'I's Irm Info In ell/er. lh'lrt/ls‘g/m' mnrl year on 0592 890408. lire/Mum! ('mss. This year Is race is rm 2!) June but I/Irfi/t'e/(l [Ir/idly bun/red. You run cheer on I/1(’ .s‘uri‘it‘rn‘s (ll lir’uu/y/mm about 3/51»): onwards.

Two-wheeled trail blazing

Mountain biking seems to have more than its fair share of equipment

freaks. They would have you believe you need to look like Darth Vader with 5

corporate sponsorship before you can even think of swinging your leg over a bike (titanium alloy-framed, for preference). At the weekend you’ll find them in any car park in the Trossachs swigging Gatorade and talking loudly about gear ratios. Ignore them. The real mountain bike enthusiasts will tell you they were thrashing down mountain paths for years before Lycra became a fashion statement. All you really need is a sturdy bike with fat tyres, a few low gears to get you up the hills and a helmet.

Forestry tracks are a good place to start. The Forestry Commission actively encourages mountain biking on the huge network of paths that criss-cross the land it manages. All the rangers ask is that you respect other forestry users and steer clear of areas where logging machinery is being used. Many forests such as Glen

SCOTTISH SPORTS (‘()l'.\'(‘ll]l)().\':\l. M,\(‘[,1{()[)

Tress near Peebles and Elizabeth Forest Park in the Trossachs, have marked out cycle ways and centres where you can hire a bike. Or you can buy an Ordnance Survey map and plan your own route. You can pretty much go where you want on a mountain bike, leg muscles permitting, but reponsible cyclists try to avoid softer

- areas where tyres can contribute to s erosion of paths.

Cycle clubs tend to concentrate on the competitive side of mountain

biking, but at most races there is a fun

: category where the emphasis is on

f getting round the course rather than shaving a couple of seconds off your

time. In Edinburgh, the BikeBus runs trips around Scotland for up to fifteen

people using mainly off-road and car- free routes. Your bike (or you can hire

one) is loaded on a trailer, the group is taken to the starting point and then picked up later at an agreed time and

i place. (Eddie Gibb) ; The BikeBus is on 031 229 6274 and

costs £8 for a day trip. Cycle Tracks runs weekend trips by Loch Earn for £45 which includes bike hire and accommodation. Cycle hire at Glen Tress can be contacted on 0721 720336 and at Queen Elizabeth Forest on 0877 382392. Call the Scottish Cyclists Union on 031 652 0187 for details of races.


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The List 20 May-2 June I994 17