We woke at 7am after our ten hour shut eye. Sleeping wasn’t easy on the hard ground and with the cold, but we still managed to wrap up as best we could. We had a nice breakfast, in Liyakat and Mustafa’s tent, of porridge, omelette, toast and tea. We relaxed in the morning sun by the river, which by the way was so powerful and noisy that it sounded like being on a plane all night. I love rivers though so the sound didn’t bother me and I could watch a river all day, especially a glacial fed river like this one.
The river and camp at Domail.
We set off with our packs and Liyakat at around 9am for our second day on the trail. It would turn into half a day but in these conditions and at this altitude it was no harm in only doing around four hours. We reached the base of Shary Mountain after a short hike and would gradually climb, with some steep sections, for the next two and a half hours. We met some sheppards and their familes with a few cows and a bull they were trying to make interested in their cows, however he was having none of it today. I saw some unusal birds I have yet to identify and more animals I managed to identify a bit higher up the trail, cows I believe they are called. The path wound it’s way up, some of it proving to be very technical hiking, followed by meadow like terrain until we reached the top. We sat at the top taking in the view with mouths wide open. Amazing to say the least. Eventually we closed our mouths as we ate lunch. A potatoe, an egg and a carrot each with some juice and nuts.
Resting near the top of Shary Mountain on day 2
We descended back to camp in about an hour with a quick stop for some salty biscuits along the way. The day was very hot with a good sign of high pressure after a night of rain last night. We weren’t to know at this stage but there would be great weather for the rest of the week.
Once back at camp we did some stretching and yoga, some reading and snoozing and before dinner we even managed to feed biscuits to a pair of hungry hikers that ran out of food on their travels. We then sat in for a lovely meal with the guys before hitting the hay early we talk of a steep climb to our next camp tomorrow.
Views of the snow to come.
A little breeze on top of the hill!
Finally my 2015 posting will start to ramp up in the next few weeks. Please excuse any spelling mistakes as my cat is either on my lap or on the keyboard as I type!
Due to adverse weather including snow melt and storm force winds the course today was altered. We were now due to run a 10km loop twice taking in a 350metre climb on a boggy hill both times. I have to say of all the races I have taken part in this one was shaping up to be seriously tough. Gael to storm force winds with a driving mist and the ground was so soft and slippy that trail runners seemed more like slippers.
I decided after a strange week, busy at work and a head cold that this was going to be more of a really hard training session than a competitive race for me. I knew I wasn’t going to be at full fitness but that this race would stand to me later in season, It was strangely enough my first ever mountain running race, which wasn’t part of an adventure race. I’m still a greenhorn really !
At 9am we hit the trail after a 2 km warm up. I felt ok and stayed with the lead group for the majority of the first lap. I could tell there were some great runners here today though. After around 2km we hit some really boggy ground with one of the group taking a tumble, and I could swear he disappeared in the mud for a few seconds. I was to find out how this felt a little later . We managed to wade through this section and reach the base of the mountain. It is only 350 ish metres but it is slippy,very very soft in parts and steep, fun and painful. At the summit the gael force winds hit with a bang and as we descended the wind was so strong you had to lean into it to balance even a bit. I had a slip or two on the descent but managed to catch the lead group at the bottom. At the dib station at the bottom my dibber didn’t work and by time it did 5 guys had screeched away in the distance. A hard blow but I settled into my ” training” mode and decided to push myself and not worry about others for a while.
The second lap was similar, surprise there, a bit harder as I tired and I fell about 5 times. The falls were fine as the ground was so soft. A few guys passed me in the last 2km but all in all I felt good on the mountain and felt I lost most time on the road/trail sections. Some work to do here maybe. I haven’t seen the full results yet but I was definately somewhere in top 10. Not bad considering I haven’t really got into mountain training mode yet this year.
I would highly recommend this course, even for a training route and hope to come back fit and ready next year. Nice to have the first of 2015 under the belt. Now for sleep !