Bill beats back bonx­ies on de­but St Kilda marathon

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

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