From Glen Garry to The Great Glen
Teams at ITERA were paddling and rafting down Glen Garry on the afternoon and evening of day 4 of the race. The race had adapted the course to get as many teams as possible onto the stage in time to complete the rafting, which had to close at 8pm, so teams were grouped closely together when the came off of the final trek from Claunie.
They put in the kayaks at Kingie Pool to begin one of the most varied paddle stages they are ever likely to find at a race. It began with paddling down the river, which was flowing at a good rate after the overnight rain, and the teams had a strong wind behind them as well. (Finally the elements were helping them.)
There were some rapids and short portages to negotiate before they came out onto a broad loch where the surrounding scenery was seen to best effect on a sunny afternoon. The loch then lead into a river descent where the white-water rafting took place, with teams accompanied by a guide for a section which had all the competitors smiling.
Then it was back into the kayaks for a loch with a quite different character before moving into the Caledonian Canal to paddle to the final TA at Fort Augustus. The canal had a different character again and a few more portages to get around staircase locks, and teams were now in the Great Glen which divides northern Scotland from Inverness to Fort William.
This was the home straight as from Fort Augustus only one stage remained, a 65km ride up the Great Glen Way back into Inverness to reach the finish. (And this is a ride on a maintained national trail, so no more hike-a-bike.)
Not all the teams made it to the rafting in time, and one of the last to go through were Columbia Vidaraid. They were still a couple of hours behind the Lozere Team2raid and barring any misfortune on the ride the French team now look to be racing to their first AR World Series win.
They are expected to finish around 4am in the centre of Inverness, where the finish will be set up in the main shopping centre.
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