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Highland Cross 2016 - Participant’s Bulletin 5

Welcome to the “After bulletin”!

50 folk did not give us an email address but at least one person in every team did.  Please ensure that this bulletin is circulated amongst your team colleagues.

Congratulations to all the 747 folk who finished Highland Cross and commiserations to the 2 folk who were robbed of their crossing by bike problems!

Lost Property

We have very little lost baggage or lost property still with us but if you are looking for lost property please get in touch with us via the contact details on the website or in your booklet.

Comment cards

We really want to improve the event and genuinely welcome constructive suggestions. Either email them or remember to put them on your comment card when you receive it with your Certificate soon. Also comment cards are a vital way of registering interest for an invitation for the 35th Highland Cross.

What the Lady winner says about the Cross

“Dear John, Calum and all of the organising team of the Highland Cross,

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for yet another fantastic Cross. The organisation and support was as usual completely faultless. The marshals and volunteers are always all so cheerful, it really makes the event. It is by far my favourite race each year and it is always such a great day.

I always wanted to do the Cross when I was wee, having seen family friends and neighbours training hard for it and completing it. To complete the Cross was viewed as pretty much the pinnacle of local sporting achievement in our household! This one was particularly special for me and I don't think I'll ever forgot that feeling I had as I cycled into Beauly.

Now to get the sponsor money in... one member of the Inverness Fiddlers said 'I'll sponsor you £10, but if you win, I'll make it £100'. She might be regretting her words now, but I won't let her forget!

Thank you all,

Caroline”

Caroline’s kind words bring us nicely onto

Why we make the day happen

Highland Cross exists to provide a unique crossing of Highland Scotland and most importantly generate funds for Highland Charities that seek to improve the medical and social well-being of folk in the Highlands.

That is why you have committed to the £500 per team minimum pledge. It is fantastic to see so much fundraising activity going on through online pages and we know that teams are holding fundraising events to boost their contribution. Thank you for that commitment and please continue it for as long as possible - the six excellent causes nominated this year need our help.

We are poised to give the go ahead to the charities to order the gifts that we have pledged to support but we need every last penny in to allow us to do that. If you still have money to bank or pledges from friends to redeem please do so as soon as possible. We need it all banked or through the charity giving websites by 31st July!

The Community of the Cross – Making the day happen

Volunteers from over twenty charities supported by Highland Cross this year or through previous fundraising worked to make the day happen for you and to bring in essential funds for Highland causes

As well as the supporting charities you received help from an amazing selection of Highland Cross volunteers and supporting organisations - they are listed in your booklet.

Whether you were on your 34th Crossing or you were a Highland Cross Newcomer we hope that you had a wonderful Crossing and that you make a great contribution to Highland charities through your efforts!

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Highland Cross 2016 - Participant’s Bulletin No.4

 

Safety Warnings

Foot section conditions - Torrential rain storms and subsequent flash flooding have done damage to the foot section of the course.  The surface of the “Yellow Brick Road” from Athnamulloch to the changeover point has been badly scoured. The Forestry Commission have contractors working on the road to improve it. But participants should expect all sections of the foot section from Morvich right across to be rougher than usual and take appropriate care.


Road Conditions – Junction between the Strathglass road (A 831) and the road to Beauly (A 862) at Lovat Bridge.  During a route survey it was identified that there are extremely rough road surface conditions at the bend where you leave the Strathglass road and join the Inverness to Beauly road for the last mile into Beauly. Participants must anticipate this area and ride with appropriate caution. Remember the road at this stage is open to normal traffic and vehicles may be coming towards you on the uphill carriageway.  The bend is at Grid Reference 514 449 on OS Sheet 26


Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
Into the final countdown - Bike loading in Inverness starts at 17.00hrs and ends at 21.00hrs sharp on Friday evening!


At Inverness do not attempt to leave a bike before the official time. The security gates will be in place and we do not want to distract the Fire Control Room who controls them. Your bike will not be registered into our keeping and may be left behind when the lorries depart.  Do not lean bikes against the fire engines! This causes justifiable annoyance to our generous hosts!

  • Do not over wrap bikes

  • Make sure that you have YOUR number on your bike and bags.

  • Do not attach luggage or helmets to your bike – put everything in a weather proof bag clearly marked with your number.

  • Put a label with your Name and number inside every bag as backup

Beauly bike loading starts 06.15hrs.


Bus Transport
We carefully order the correct number of buses according to the bookings that YOU have made.  The last thing that we want is not having enough bus capacity in the right place at the right time to get everybody round to the right start time!


Fuel and Drink
You should know what works for you in terms of taking on fuel and drink in these final days leading up to the event on the day itself. Every individual has different needs in this respect – we will provide water and Isostar rehydration fluid along the route. Use these as YOU know your body needs. Take food that you know that you can tolerate and will give you the energy that you require to see you safely through the day.
 

Your Bicycle

Please ensure that you have a fully functioning cycle and have the spares and tools that YOU can use to make necessary repairs or to deal with a puncture at any point on the cycle section.


Surplus gear at the start for transfer to Beauly
There will be a bag van at the Start to take your surplus gear through to Beauly. Any gear that you want transferred must be in a bag marked with your unique participant’s number with a name and number label inside as backup. The Baggage Pound in Beauly is in the open air and you are advised that the surplus kit should be in a waterproof container.

  • Your change-over gear – protect it in a waterproof bag

  • Gear being sent to the Quarry with your bike must be packed in a waterproof bag – we suggest that you use a dry-bag. If not make sure that you have used waterproof liners inside your gear bag.

  • Gear going to the quarry including your cycle helmet and any cycle computers must NOT be attached to your bike and must be in a separate bag which will go in a bag van to the Quarry.

  • Make sure that all your baggage has a waterproof label with your unique event number attached to it and another label with your name and number inside it as a backup.

Getting your gear from the Changeover to Beauly
In the Changeover you must pack your bag and pass it to the bag van marshals if you want it taken to the Finish Baggage Pound in Beauly. It must have your number on it and on a label inside it.


A new prize donation from Fishbox!
Inverness based company Coast & Glen have generously sponsored prizes for this year’s Highland Cross. Fishbox will be providing vouchers for the First Gent and First Lady Finisher in the Cross and will provide three vouchers for the highest fundraising team of Highland Cross Newcomers announced at the Charity Handover and Thank You evening in the autumn. See the last bulletin or the website for their offer to participants. Use discount code: HCross2016  www.fishbox.co.uk
 

Making it happen safely
We have constructed a Safety Net to support you along the route but the most important person in the safety Net is YOU! 

 

Do not carry an illness or injury into the Cross!
Carrying an illness or injury into the Cross guarantees that you will have a poor experience and may result in serious illness or further injury afflicting you during the event.  It is also an unreasonable burden on the Safety Net as these volunteers have to deal with an incident that should not have happened and they volunteer to deal with accidents and unexpected illnesses.  We have had the experience of a participant who returned from holiday with diarrhoea but who was so committed to the event that they started. Five miles into the foot section, at a difficult place for us to access, they needed an evacuation of a different kind! The Medical Marshal had to get to them by helicopter and then have them airlifted out. If the helicopter had not accessed them they would have needed a full mountain rescue stretcher carry out to safety.  If you know that you have been unwell or have an injury please withdraw before the event for your own safety and so that emergency resources on the Safety Net are available for event related incidents.  In the interests of your own safety we expect that all participants will carry the recommended safety equipment on the day:

  • A whistle to summon help – 6 blasts of the whistle repeated at one minute intervals

  • A weather protective suit

  • A small amount of high energy food

The forecast suggests that there will be a North to North Eastern wind blowing down the whole course all day. This is a cold wind at the best of times. Make sure that you have and use your shell protection. If you slow or have an injury it could make a huge difference to how you feel and your condition by the time resources get to you.


Cycle safely
Fasnakyle Brae steep twisting downhill. Emergency vehicles may have to ascend it to get to a serious incident. Ride it at all times as though it was two way traffic. Fasnakyle to Beauly is open road shared with the public you do not have right of way. If you have to repair your bike or take a breather try to use the water stops or at least pull off the road for your own safety.

  • Withdrawing – try to do this at a water stop. There are support vehicles to help get you to Beauly.

  • Beauly Toll junction – please note the safety warning at the start of the bulletin

  • Final cross over – be aware of traffic around you and obey the Police Officer marshalling to cross-over!

Why we make the day happen
Highland Cross exists to provide a unique crossing of Highland Scotland and most importantly generate funds for Highland Charities that seek to improve the medical and social well-being of folk in the Highlands.  That is why you have committed to the £500 per team minimum pledge. It is fantastic to see so much fundraising activity going on through online pages and we know that teams are holding fundraising events to boost their contribution. Thank you for that commitment and please continue it for as long as possible - the six excellent causes nominated this year need our help.


The Community of the Cross – Making the day happen
Volunteers from over twenty charities supported by Highland Cross this year or through previous fundraising will be working to make the day happen for you and to bring in essential funds for Highland causes.  As well as the supporting charities you will have help from an amazing selection of Highland Cross volunteers and supporting organisations - they are listed in your brochure.  Some of you taking part have been volunteers on the Safety and Support Net and will be viewing the event from a different perspective. We hope that you enjoy your day but will come back to the Net with recharged enthusiasm for delivering an amazing day.  Whether you are on your 34th Crossing or you are a Highland Cross Newcomer we hope that you have a wonderful Crossing and that you make a great contribution to Highland charities through your efforts.

 


 

Highland Cross 2016 - Participant’s Bulletin No.3

Safety Warning
Road Conditions – Junction between the Strathglass road (A 831) and the road to Beauly (A 862) at Lovat Bridge

During a route survey this week it was identified that there are extremely rough road surface conditions at the bend where you leave the Strathglass road and join the Inverness to Beauly road for the last mile into Beauly. Participants must anticipate this area and ride with appropriate caution. Remember the road at this stage is open to normal traffic and vehicles may be coming towards you on the uphill carriageway.  The bend is at Grid Reference 514 449 on OS Sheet 26

Bus Transport
We carefully order the correct number of buses according to the bookings that YOU have made.   Last year there was a sudden increase in folk turning up for the early walkers’ start buses in Beauly. There was just enough space to squeeze folk on but we then had an extra bus for the Runners’ start. When we analysed the problem later it appeared that a number of participants had changed to “Walkers” at the last minute without informing us – please tell us if you are doing this, ideally by email and as early as possible also where there was a mix of runners and walkers in a team, the team had decided to all travel on the “Walkers’ bus” despite earlier making separate bookings, and folk switched from an Inverness booking to turning up in Beauly. The last thing that we want is not having enough bus capacity in the right place at the right time to get everybody round to the right start time! Please stick to the booking that you have made – we can accept changes but email us as early as possible.


Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance…
With two weeks to go to the Cross whether you are an athlete going for a record or a “get acrosser” you will be in your final preparations.  This bulletin looks at a couple of aspects of final preparation.


Fuel and Drink
By now you should know what works for you in terms of taking on fuel and drink in the days leading up to the event on the day itself. Every individual has different needs in this respect – we will provide water and Isostar rehydration fluid along the route. Use these as YOU know your body needs.  Consider what food you are going to take with you on the day and send up with your bike and bag to the “Change-over” area at Affric. We have had a number of incidents where cyclists simply fall off their bikes or cycle off the road in the area after Fasnakyle Brae. Having spoken to a few of the folk concerned they characterise their experience as having run out of energy, lost concentration and then lost control. In one case a participant was seen to simply stop pedalling, balance for a moment and fall over onto the road. The folk we have spoken to believed that they were hydrating well on the way across but perhaps they had not eaten enough. Please think about what you are going to eat – energy gels etc give a quick boost but for the long haul your body may need something more substantial with more complex carbohydrates. Bananas, cheese sandwiches, heavy duty cereal bars all seem to feature on the menu in the Quarry! Know the fuel that YOU will need and send it to the Quarry in your change-over bag.


Your bicycle
Please ensure that you have a fully functioning cycle and have the spares and tools that YOU can use to make necessary repairs or to deal with a puncture at any point on the cycle section.  With so many different styles and sizes of bike we do not keep spares at any point along the route. Almost every year we unpack a bike with a list of repairs or adjustments needed to be done on a label attached to it! Needless to say the people who do that find the bike waiting for them with the label still in place.


Your change-over gear – protect it in a waterproof bag
Gear being sent to the Quarry with your bike must be packed in a waterproof bag – we suggest that you use a dry-bag. If not make sure that you have used waterproof liners inside your gear bag.  Gear going to the quarry including your cycle helmet and any cycle computers must NOT be attached to your bike and must be in a separate bag which will go in a bag van to the Quarry.  Arriving at the Quarry to get into fresh cycling gear that is dry and ready to go is far preferable to the alternative of wet gear. Prepare your kit bag for the change-over and for the Finish and you will reap the benefit. Remember both the change-over in the Quarry and the Finish bag compound are open to the elements and we cannot protect your gear.  Make sure that all your baggage has a waterproof label with your unique event number attached to it and another label with your name and number inside it as a backup.


Substitution arrangements
If you need to withdraw for any reason a substitute entry can be made for a replacement participant for your team up to the 13th June. The rules governing substitution are in your brochure but the substitution can only take place on the form from the inside back cover of the brochure.


A new Prize donation from Fishbox!
Inverness based company Coast & Glen have generously sponsored prizes for this year’s Highland Cross.  Fishbox will be providing vouchers for the First Gent and First Lady Finisher in the Cross and will provide three vouchers for the highest fundraising team of Highland Cross Newcomers announced at the Charity Handover and Thank You evening in the autumn.  They comment:  “We are a seafood wholesaler who supplies over 200 hotels and restaurants across and the Highlands and Islands. We also send out 'Fishboxes' direct to consumers. Fishbox is a subscription box of fresh, sustainable, Scottish seafood delivered direct to your door. Fishbox champions the quality of Highland seafood, delivering this produce to homes across the UK. We are a growing, local business and we would love to support the Highland Cross.  We have a personal link to the local event with many of customers, based locally and further afield, competing in the Highland Cross each year. Even our MD Magnus Houston has a proud photo of him crossing the finishing line!  We send a selection of the freshest Scottish seafood to homes across the UK, with free delivery. All fish is responsibly sourced from small, independent fishing boats and suppliers. We are delighted to be supporting the Highland Cross and would like to offer 50% off to anyone who orders their first Fishbox online.“


Use discount code: HCross2016        www.fishbox.co.uk
 

Why we make the day happen
Highland Cross exists to provide a unique crossing of Highland Scotland and most importantly generate funds for Highland Charities that seek to improve the medical and social well-being of folk in the Highlands.  That is why you have committed to the £500 per team minimum pledge. It is fantastic to see so much fundraising activity going on through online pages and we know that teams are holding fundraising events to boost their contribution. Thank you for that commitment and please continue it for as long as possible - the six excellent causes nominated this year need our help.


The Community of the Cross – Making the day happen
Volunteers from over twenty charities supported by Highland Cross this year or through previous fundraising will be working to make the day happen for you and to bring in essential funds for Highland causes.  As well as the supporting charities you will have help from an amazing selection of Highland Cross volunteers and supporting organisations - they are listed in your brochure.  Some of you taking part have been volunteers on the Safety and Support Net and will be viewing the event from a different perspective. We hope that you enjoy your day but will come back to the Net with recharged enthusiasm for delivering an amazing day.  Whether you are on your 34th Crossing or you are a Highland Cross Newcomer we hope that you have a wonderful Crossing and contribute to the benefit to Highland charities through your efforts!

 


 

Highland Cross 2016 - Participant’s Bulletin No.2

Welcome to the second Highland Cross 2016 bulletin!
From the numbers of groups of three walkers, joggers, runners and cyclists that we see around Inverness and the surrounding countryside it is clear that folk are getting well on with their preparations for the Cross!

Substitution arrangements
We hope that your personal preparations and fund raising efforts are going well and that you will be with us on 18th June but if you need to withdraw for any reason a substitute entry can be made for a replacement participant for your team up to 13th June.


The rules governing substitution are in your booklet but the substitution can only take place on the form from the inside back cover of the booklet.
 

Why we make it happen

Highland Cycle Ability Centre

This is a centre created to provide cycling opportunities for everybody in the community irrespective of the challenges that they face.  Highland Cross 2015 was privileged to fund the purchase of a Landrover and trailer combination to allow them to expand their work into communities across the Highlands. The trailer can take a selection of their amazing specialist cycles to bring cycling opportunities to folk otherwise denied them.

 

Highland Children’s Unit went operational on 9th May

Calum Munro represented Highland Cross at the preview of the new Highland Children's Unit on 25th April. It is hoped that the Unit will start accepting patients very soon.  The facilities are extremely impressive and look nothing like a standard NHS facility. Great effort has gone into making them as child and young person friendly as possible with enhanced facilities for parents/carers to be with seriously ill children.  The £40,000 of Highland Cross funding from the 2012 event will be combined with the funds raised this year to pay for the fitting out of the High Dependency Unit (HDU) a key area of the new Unit. The photograph shows the Nurse's Station in the HDU and gives a taste of the decoration and quality of finish in the whole unit. Another wonderful example of what the wonderful folk of the Community of Highland Cross have achieved for the wider Highland Community!  Volunteers from the Archie Trust, who led the fund raising for the new unit, will be fitting your wristbands just before the start at Morvich.

Making it happen safely
We have constructed a Safety Net to support you along the route but the most important person in the safety Net is YOU!
How you prepare, equip and conduct yourself on the day will determine if you have a memorable or miserable crossing!
In the last bulletin we gave you the advice from the Scottish Hill Runners Committee and we are repeating this advice to you all.


As a minimum Highland Cross Organisers expect every participant to carry with them at all times during the event the following:

  • A whistle to summon help – 6 blasts of the whistle repeated at one minute intervals

  • A weather protective suit

  • A small amount of high energy food

Weather Protection
Lightweight weather protective suits come in all materials and price ranges. The link below takes you to a new shell jacket from Alp Kit. It is light and neat and very easily packed in a day sack or bumbag. www.alpkit.com/products/arro-mens

In the interests of your own safety we expect that all participants will carry the recommended safety equipment on the day.
 

Congratulations!
Highland Cross is delighted to send its congratulations to Calman Trust who have just had a major success in spreading their award winning work with young people in Highland.  Youth charity the Calman Trust is to take over and run energy company SSE's staff cafe in Inverness.



The new canteen will provide opportunities for young people to learn and work and the profits will be used to support the wider work of the charity, which includes housing support, training, cookery classes, life skills and work experience.  Calman Trust already runs the city’s successful Café Artysans venture, a social enterprise that supports young people to gain vital training and work experience on the road to sustainable employment.  The Café Artysans team is now serving breakfasts, lunches, drinks and snacks to SSE staff at the company’s Inverness base, located in Longman Industrial Estate.  Read the full story at:  http://thirdforcenews.org.uk/tfn-news/social-enterprise-to-run-sse-staff-canteen


Highland Cross has been proud to support Calman Trust in previous years through the supply of embroidery machinery for their training centre and with a refrigerated van for their outside catering enterprise.

The Community of the Cross – Making the day happen
The examples in the bulletin show the quality of the causes that Highland Cross is honoured to support. Volunteers from twenty charities supported by Highland Cross this year or through previous fundraising will be working to make the day happen for you and to bring in essential funds for Highland causes.

 


 

Highland Cross 2016 - Participant’s Bulletin No.1

 

Highland Cross is now in its 34th year and provides you with an opportunity to challenge yourself to cross the width of the Highlands in a day along one of the most scenic of routes and to raise funds for at least six fantastic Highland Charities.  Whether you are a “Cross Virgin” or a regular you are very welcome to this amazing day.


Why we make it happen
Highland Cross is created by a voluntary committee backed by the generous support of a wonderful group of individual volunteers, charities and organisations and commercial firms who give of their time, equipment and talents to create benefit for Highland Charities. We are delighted to celebrate the athletic achievements of participants but the key fundamental of the Cross is creating benefit for others less fortunate than ourselves. Therefore unashamedly we emphasise the need for you to honour your commitment to raise a minimum of £500 per team in sponsorship.  As described in your booklet, online platforms such as “Justgiving” and Virgin Money Giving” can be used to create fundraising pages to support your efforts.


Making it happen safely
We have constructed a Safety Net to support you along the route but the most important person in the Safety Net is YOU!  How you prepare, equip and conduct yourself on the day will determine if you have a memorable or miserable crossing!  Each year we undertake a thorough review of how we organise the event and this year we have once again benefitted from the guidance of the Scottish Hill Runners committee (SHR) who have reviewed our safety processes.  They strongly recommend that every participant carry a minimum of safety gear and we are repeating this advice to you all.  As a minimum Highland Cross Organisers expect every participant to carry with them at all times during the event the following:

  • A whistle to summon help – 6 blasts of the whistle repeated at one minute intervals

  • A weather protective suit

  • A small amount of high energy food

The SHR guidance notes state:  “Adequate whole body cover to protect you against hypothermia or heat exhaustion/dehydration in the severest conditions likely on the day.” And “Hypothermia is dangerous. Competitors should be aware that if circumstances cause a runner to stop or slow to a walking pace then body heat is lost quickly. In cold, wet or windy weather the onset of hypothermia can be very rapid unless sufficient warm clothing is worn.”  We appreciate that the majority of you who enter as Walkers will already be planning to carry a sack or bumbag with waterproofs etc – this is great!  However we have noted that in past years quite a number of runners and joggers have chosen not to carry a shell despite our advice to carry protection. Given a fair day and constant movement you may get away with this but if you have a minor injury you will find yourself chilling quickly if you have to slow or stop. Over the years quite a few participants have been grateful that they did take a shell with them when problems arose. In the interests of your own safety we expect that all participants will carry the recommended safety equipment on the day.


Congratulations!
Highland Cross is delighted to send its congratulations to Birchwood Highland, a charity that is part of our Community, for their achievements in the recently released Care Commission Annual Inspection results.  Staff and service users at local mental health charity Birchwood Highland are celebrating great results from two visits by the Care Inspectorate, to the Inverness Support Service, the Lochaber Support Service and the Easter Ross Support Service, the Care Inspectorate awarded all three services the top rating ‘Excellent’.  The services provide housing support and care at home to individuals across the region.  The same grade was awarded to Birchwood Highland’s Recovery Centre after another unannounced inspection of the 23-bedroomed facility in Inverness, where individuals are supported by a dedicated team of nurses and support workers. Birchwood Highland are nominated as a major beneficiary from Highland Cross 2016 and volunteers from the charity will be working in the Finish Area in Beauly Square on the 18th June.


The Community of the Cross – Making the day happen
This example shows the quality of the causes that Highland Cross is honoured to support. Volunteers from twenty charities supported by Highland Cross this year or through previous fundraising will be working to make the day happen and to bring in essential funds for Highland causes.