Race: January 2001

Reproduced from Relay Magazine April 2001.

Once again the Devil's Burdens proved an exciting and enjoyable race for the 38 teams who started.  For the first time the mist had a real bearing on the result with the eventual winners, Fife A successfully navigating there way around the course, but only just.  Lothian's men led from the start until the third leg where they chose the more difficult Devil's pulpit route, through mist and thick heather, but it was still a gallant effort by Rob Lee and N Wright.  This is all after Adam Ward and Stuart Whitlie enticed Martin Laing and Thomas Greene, the local Fife A team down to Leslie to buy an Ordnance survey map of the race route to get them back on course on leg 1. Unfortunately a large number of teams followed them so it just goes to show that you can never trust a Fifer!!  They still managed 8th on leg 1 but it was surprising how many teams lost their way coming off East Lomond.  Westies pair, Manny Gorman and Brian Bonnyman had their moment of glory in second on leg 1. Cosmics were well up throughout as were Carnethy with Adam Ward just back from New Zealand, not relishing the cold.  However the third leg from Scotlandwell to West Lomond and the water tank proved the most challenging in the mist, definitely an orienteering leg this year with local knowledge helping the Fife, Ochil and Lomond teams.  Fife A gained a comfortable two and a half minute lead for John Cowboy Cunningham to hold off Colin Meek on the final leg.  Third were Cosmics who had their own battle with Carnethy.  Fife vets finished a creditable 5th with Tom Ross and Laurie Anderson blazing a trail through the mist with Bryce Aitken anchoring their vets team to victory.  It was good to see so many road clubs competing and orienteering too, well done.

The women's race was clearly won by Carnethy, yet again ... is there no stopping them.  Unfortunately we do not have their times for the first leg unless you can supply them?  We thought there might be a shock on the cards this year with Westies women well prepared to challenge Camethy but Elspeth Scott turned an ankle on leg 3 and hobbled in with Jane Robertson.  This unfortunately meant Pete couldn't get p****d in the pub.  First mixed team were Cosmic B with Lois Noble and Elaine Stewart successfully negotiating leg 1 and Gary Gutteridge guiding his partner carefully over the West Lomond and down, very quickly.

The fastest legs (record in bold) were:-

Men: Leg 1 G Ackland/D Simmons 37:00 (34.06)  Leg 2 C Russell 26:09 (24.58)   Leg 3 D Anderson/A Davis 47:00 (43:00)  Leg 4 C Meek 34.27 (32.51) Winners  Fife A 2:30:28 (2:22:27)

Women: Leg 1 ? (45.54)  Leg 2 ? (34.48)  Leg 3 L Wilson/K Powell 1:00:30 (58:00)  Leg 4 K Jenkins 43.18 (38.14) Winners  Carnethy 3:08:18 (3:01:18)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

A big thanks go to all the marshals, organisers, cooks and helpers, especially Frank and Margaret McLaren who organised the entries and took times at the finish.  Also Gary Barker and Dave Bee in the kitchen, Frank Cation for marking leg 4, Joe Holden for leg 1, John Cummings, Jim Haig, Ronnie Mill and Dave Francis.  The conditions gave us a few problems especially after the race.  Heavy snow on Sunday, approximately 8 inches meant a very long expedition over two and a half hours to collect three controls in the forest and West and East Lomond.  Thanks to Tom Ross and Dave Anderson for collecting controls on Sunday when we were all knackered but we were pleased that the snow had not been the previous day.  Another two hours on Tuesday night were taken to collect the other controls, what a slog in the thigh deep powder up to the Bishop Hill, thanks to Laurie, Joe and Pat.

No real technical problems except for mist, minor injuries especially to pride, and some sore bums on the descent of West Lomond.  Well done, see you next year.

Adrian Davis