Bill beats back bonxies on debut St Kilda marathon
LOCHABER High School teacher Bill Cameron was well prepared for St Kilda’s harsh terrain and unpredictable weather on his recent successful attempt to run the first marathon round the island.
But he had to improvise when some of the local feathered residents of the World Heritage Site objected to his record-setting run through their territory.
Angry ‘bonxies’ – Great and Brown Skuas – took to constantly dive-bombing Bill during his two-and-half circuits of the island earlier this month.
‘I ran a half marathon on St Kilda a couple of years ago and since then had always fancied having a crack at the full 26.2-mile run,’ said Bill.
‘As far as I am aware, I’m the first person to run a marathon there.’
Bill took care plotting his route, leaving supplies of water and food at strategic spots along the way.
He set off at sunrise on his chosen day, around 3.30am, and completed the marathon distance seven hours later.
What added to the challenge, however, was the constant aerial attacks by the seabirds trying to protect their young.
‘Bonxies are not your average seabird.
‘They aim for your head and this lot were definitely out to draw blood!’ laughed Bill.
As a way of combating his winged assailants, Bill found a stick and a bit of rope, which he tied together.
‘I kept whirling this round my head as I ran to keep them back. I must’ve looked a right numpty if anyone saw me!’
This was the 43-year- old’s sixth marathon and sixth visit to St Kilda, with which he has had a long fascination.
Bill says he was determined to complete his gruelling marathon as a way of commemorating Lochaber’s connections with the last of the St Kilda islanders, who were evacuated in August 1930.
‘I am delighted I completed a marathon on the island. It was tough going, climbing a total of 9,000ft over pretty rough ground and against some strong winds. Well worth it though – even with the bonxies!’
Marathon man Bill Cameron makes his way round St Kilda.