The Paps of Jura

Alasdair and Rick on the Paps of Jura
Alasdair on the Paps of Jura

Having been sailing for 26 hours means you are not necessarily in tip top race condition at the start of the run but somehow the adrenalin kicks in and the energy comes from somewhere. Harris, from the nice yellow yacht in Dunstaffnage, had made us a specially decorated tub of nourishing energy giving food and kindly given it to us as a present before we left the marina. Even with Harris’ nosh I wasn’t sure quite how we would pull this one off. At least we were running in daylight. Rick and I cleared the thorough kit inspection and jogged off to the foothills of the Paps. With a combined age of 114 years we were probably the oldest team to run this section, but maybe not.

The cumulative ascent was to be 1,740 m. Our maximum speed of ascent was 1,010 m an hour and our maximum speed of descent was 1,930 m an hour. The Paps are quite steep sided and when you’ve got to the top you need to descend to climb another one and then do it all again. I was beginning to flake out on the second ascent but just managed to continue the top. After that it wasn’t so bad.

My fear of my knee playing up didn’t happen but I was trying to be kind to it on the downhill runs. It was good being with Rick, who was much faster and more experienced than me. I learnt a lot of little techniques and loved running down the scree slopes.
The scree is tough on the shoes. Mine held up fine (Salomon Speed Cross SCS) but Rick’s Inov Mudroc’s really took a bashing. About a third of the studs were torn off the sole and others were about to break loose. He will be taking them back as they were pretty new. I never liked my shoes when I bought them but now I think they are the bees knees.
After 6 hours and 51 minutes we arrived back at the check point, a little worn but not injured, and we were collected by Charlotte in the dinghy ready for the next section.

3 responses to “The Paps of Jura”

  1. Good luck with the race.

    BTW how long are you around? I’m due to be visiting Islay this weekend and am interested in hearing about your sail last summer.

  2. Ah! I’ve been caught out. This blog is a bit of an “Apres Blog” as I ran out of time to blog as we went along! Sumara is now moored in Troon and I am back at work in London. Very happy to answer any questions regarding the Jan Mayen trip. There are a couple of short videos on Sumara of Weymouths You Tube site. I’ve made a short 30 minute video on a CD too which I can post to you if you like.
    Have a great sail,

  3. If you get a chance email me – I’ve already enjoyed those youtube videos.

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