Scottish Islands Peak Race

Brimble is a 28ft, 45 year old cruiser with 2 sea berths and no running water. On the race we carried 5 people and three ducks (they were optional) and sailed 160 miles. On land there were 60 miles of running for the crew and 12,000ft of mountain to get up in day and night. The engine could not be used whilst runners were on board so all approaches into bays and anchorages were under sail. It was always going to be fun ... and my goodness it was. It was also a little tiring.

I can best describe the experience with photographs but just a recap on the race. There are broadly two classes. One class is boats with crew dedicated to either sailing or running, each boat having 3 sailors and 2 runners. The other class is for the boats with crew who do both sailing and running where every member of the crew must complete at least one of the 4 runs. The race organisers described these boats on the radio before the race as 'nutters'. We chose the 'nutter' class.

So the race comprises:

- a 5 mile run round Oban (Alasdair and Simon)
- a 17 mile sail to Salen Bay on the Isle of Mull (Team Brimble)
- an heroic run 23 miles and 1005m up Ben More (Simon, Grit and Rob)
- a 54 mile sail past the notorious Corryvreckan to Jura (Team Brimble)
- a 14 mile, 1800m climb up and down the three Paps of Jura (Simon, Alasdair, John)
- a 74 mile sail around the even more notorious Mull of Kintyre (made famous by Paul McCartney and Wings) to the Isle of Arron (Team Brimble)
- an 18 mile run 1200m up Goatfell (Simon, Grit, Rob and John)
- a 15 mile sail to Troon (Team Brimble) and the finish


160 miles of sailing in the highlands of Scotlands .. Id like to do it again when I can enjoy the view a little more leisurely
 
 
Waiting for the ferry to take us over to Brimble. The new oars bought for the race glistening in the sunshine. You're not allowed to use the engine but if the wind dies away you can row. Whoop whoop.
 
 
 
The good ship gets a bit hectic when you're getting her ready
 
 
 
 
Race briefing .. everyone looked very skinny and fit and knowledgeable and rugged and rufty-tufty mountain men ... we
looked a bit nervous .. and rightly so
 
 
Team Brimble ... pretty dashing I think. Rob Parsons, Alasdair Flint, Simon Blanchflower, Grit Eckert
and myself
 
 
 
Alasdair and Simon set off ashore for the start of the first running race
 
They're off, Alasdair and Simon run the first leg to put us mid field - great start guys
 
The sail across to Mull was fast and furious. At one stage we were above 9 knots. On the
good ship Brimble this is the equivalent of being airborne
 
 
 
 
 
Down below was 'busy'. This is the living space, well actually that's all the space. Rob, who took the pic is in the toilet!
 
 
 
This was the starting point for the first climb up Ben More. It looks bleak but it got much much bleaker and by the
time the guys got to the top they were on the edge of hypothermia
 
 

We plucked the Arron Team from the dinghy under sail. They then turned in for a well deserved rest and Al and I started the sail on to Jura. It rained quite a lot like it does sometimes in Scotland

 
 
As we sailed through the Sound of Luing we encountered headwinds and adverse tides. It was too much for the
good ship and took us nearly 5 hours to get through. Rob, Simon and Grit were by now awake and sailing and were in command for the Battle of Luing .. which they won
 
 
The starting point and kit check for Jura was right next to a Whisky Distillery. One team retired at this point
 and went there instead. The organisers were brilliant all the way round,
 
 

Simon climbed every one of the four hills. One fit guy!


Simon and Al did a brilliant job navigating up the three Paps in darkness

 
 
To say the Paps of Jura were rocky would be an understatement. Only one runner was helicoptered off the mountainside which was, under the circumstances, a win
More like google earth but having set of at midnight it was an incredible sight
 
 
The best Dahl I've eaten. When I can sneak the recipe of Rob it will be added to the extensive recipes on the Blog
 
Sleeping was a challenge .. two in berths and one on the floor. It was OK except when you forgot there was someone on the floor. But it was not a big problem because they told you quickly when this happened so you could take your foot of their head
Mull of Kintyre - we took the short cut around the inner passage. It worked well. I had read somewhere that you had to stay within a boathook of the shore.


The oars I bought were put into action on the Mull to Jura leg but we didn't go fast ... in fact ... to be honest we didn't really go at all
What are you looking at?
The final row ashore to Arron. We were tired with the exception of Simon who had the energy of a Duracel Bunny
Close to the top of Goatfell. It doesn't look cold ... but it was

Rob doing some exercises to keep warm. The running just wasn't enough such was his mighty fitness

If you weren't running or sleeping you were sailing .. there was nothing else. I forgot about everything else



Looking back up Goatfell ... it looks a long way away .. it was along way away. I think there's a great opportunity to shorten the whole course


And finally Troon Marina ... aha, that's more like it



The end to a great few days. We had had a wash by now. But imagine what the boat would have been like when we arrived

And then time to clear up and go home

Thanks to the organisers and the volunteers who did a great job and kept us safe from start to finish. I cant even begin to imagine how difficult it must be to set up an event like this so a big thank you.

But, how did we do?

Well, our aim was to finish, to finish in one piece, to finish before the organisers went home and to enjoy ourselves. So, victory because we achieved all of these. For those that like to linger on the nitty gritty pernickety detail of race position .. well, we were last but who cares. The good ship was the smallest boat there and once again she did us proud..

Next trip for the good ship is over to Ireland ...
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