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The Race For King of the Mountains

Rob Howard / 11.06.2014See All Event Posts Follow Event
Chris Jones and Hugh Aggleton cross the finish line for Mistral
Chris Jones and Hugh Aggleton cross the finish line for Mistral / © Rob Howard

Through Tuesday night and Wednesday morning the wind steadily increased, driving the remaining competitors towards the finish at Corpach.  That was the good news (though the skippers who’d finished said they were glad to be moored up), the bad news was for the runners as Ben Nevis was covered in heavy cloud, very cold and very wet.

It was a tough finish for the runners from Moby J, Chris and Adam Smalling, but Adam seemed to cope with his trapped nerve injury and they still set a fast time on Ben Nevis, though nowhere near their record of 2 hours 50 mins set last year.  Their slower time on Scafell Pike due to the injury put them out of contention for King of the Mountains this year, but their times were still quick and helped place their team 3rd.  (I’m told they plan to walk the 3 miles into Fort William early Weds morning to catch their train home!)

The race for King of the Mountains was between Mistral and Wight Rose, and Mistral was the next boat to arrive, with Hugh Aggleton and Chris Jones keyed up to try and win the title, but not exactly sure how fast they needed to go. They went as fast as they could and got back to the finish line in a time of 3 hours 08 minutes, with Jones collapsing on the grass beside Corpach Lock after crossing the line.   It is still to be confirmed, but unofficially their time was enough to win the title.

“We were racing at a silly speed back along the road,” said Aggleton, “and pushed really hard on the mountain, even taking a long slide down the ice near the summit.  The weather was fairly appalling and we had to put on full waterproofs, which we rarely do, as it was raining really hard and very windy.”  The pair had never attempted the 3 Peaks Yacht Race before and skipper Keith Mander was amazed at their performance. “To be honest we had no idea they were so good! When we left Caernarfon in 3rd it was a nice surprise!”

The sailing had been a little frustrating for him in places. “I couldn’t believe we lost the wind right in the main channel of the Menai Strait,” he said. “Exactly the same thing happened to me a few years ago! Then we just missed the tide at Galloway and Luing – that’s how it goes in this race sometimes.”  Despite that the boat will win quite a few trophies, there is a prize for the first Welsh boat, and the first Sigma to finish, so they will go with their runner’s King of the Mountains title.

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