2021 GROUP START
The overnight mist and fog was breaking up to blue skies as Bob, Brian, Colin and Simon set off soon after 8am. Brian and Simon set off quickly but had some navigational issues so there was some coming and going at the front with Colin and Bon at a more steady pace. This shuffling continued much of the day as people stopped for bike adjustments, coffees and food at Ballater and Braemar. The promised warm weather delivered and it was a hot afternoon with clear blue skies and hardly any wind, making streams and burns welcome spots for cooling down. Everyone was in Braemar at similar times for fish and chips and / or Co-op to re-stock.
All riders opted for the short route. Brian and Bob ended up riding together much of the time from Glen Quoich to Tarland, where both decided to bivvy, after a food and water stop at Ballater Co-op. Simon continued on after Tarland before bivvying and Colin kept going right through to get back first around 8am.
Sunday morning dawned damp and foggy on the hills and it persisted, a marked change from Saturday. Simon was next back around 10.15, with Bob around 15 minutes later. Brian had felt a cold coming on so had a long sleep and big breakfast at Tarland and re-energised completed the route around 3.30pm.
Colin Calder – 24h 08m
Simon Fairfull – 26h 18m
Bob MacGregor – 26h 30m (Singlespeed)
Brian McCardle – 31h 34m
2020 GROUP START
Bob and Chris started at ~8am with Gary following at 12pm. The weather was more reasonable than 2019 with sunshine and scattered showers. Bob and Chris met at Braemar for fish and chips from the Hungry Highlander. Chris continued on to the long route through the night with Bob taking the regular route and camping by the new bothy in Glen Gairn. Gary was making good time and continued through the night, finishing around 9am to set a new fastest time for the short route. Gary and Bob overlapped throughout the morning and finished around 2pm.
Gary Tompsett – 20h 59m for the regular route.
Bob MacGregor – 29h 59m for the regular route
Chris Johnstone – 30h 47m for the long route
2019 GROUP START
The 2019 group start was held on Saturday the 29th of June but heavy thunderstorms meant that the 3 starters abandoned the route at Ballater.
2018 GROUP START
2 riders started at 4.10am aiming for an early start and finish with 3 riders starting at 8am. Trail conditions and weather were a mirror of the 2018 conditions with fast going on the trails. 2 riders dropped out leaving 3 finishers.
Mike Dennison and Joe Purkins – 26h 23m for the regular route
Crispin Hoult – 29h 51m for the regular route
2017 GROUP START
3 riders started the group start on Saturday in fine weather with a strong headwind to Braemar but also a tailwind back.
The trails were dry, fast and in great condition with minimal vegetation, ticks and midges for once. The long daylight hours allowed the riders to ride late with only 4h of real darkness
The finish times are listed below with a flyby of the weekend on Strava.
Bob MacGregor – 31h 28m for the long route
Adam Wallace – 28h 13m for the regular route
2016 GROUP START
4 riders started the Deeside Trail in Banchory at 8am on Saturday the 4th of September.
The riders stayed together until the top of the first climb at Scolty Hill where the descent split up the group. The early grey weather soon turned fine, giving great views over Deeside as the route passed Glen Tanar. Adam and Bob ended up riding together at a similar pace with Adam climbing faster and Bob descending faster to balance things out. Anita started well but dropped out after 25 miles, admitting that a busy week leading up to the start meant she couldn’t be fully prepared. Howard was similarly just back from abroad and nursing a dodgy suspension pivot which didn’t help for the technical singletrack sections.
Ground conditions were dry making the singletrack descents and climbs fast with Bob and Adam reaching Braemar at 5pm as the rain started. An extended fish and chip stop saw the rain stop by 6pm and they continued on in the twilight until about 9pm at top of Glen Quoich where Adam stopped and Bob continued into Glen Gairn until dark. Howard stopped in Glen Lui as darkness fell and was off before 6am into the technical ground which was made trickier by rain overnight. Bob left with an hour’s head start on Adam which he held throughout the morning as the cloud cleared to leave another fine day.
Adam dropped out late morning when his seat tube snapped on Morven leaving him with a long walk to Dinnet for the bus back to Banchory. This left Bob as the clear front runner and he managed to stay ahead of the heavy showers over Tarland, finishing at 4.11pm with a time of 32h 09m. Howard was less lucky with the rain making ground conditions tricky but he continued through the evening and the late night mist to finish at 10.43pm with a time of 38h 41m, claiming the title of oldest finisher at 54.