While the rest of the hill running community’s attention was diverted towards the Ochils or Glencoe, a small splinter group including 10 Carnethies seized the chance to shamelessly boost their SHR percentages at Baddingsgill. Now in its 4th year, the race circumnavigates the reservoir and is a great opportunity to explore the less well known end of the Pentlands. There was a modest field of around 60 runners at the start and it was an unusual experience for this ‘summer’ to see people applying sun cream instead of additional layers.
The race starts gently with about a quarter of a mile downhill on an estate road before turning off to ascend Faw Mount. From there, it’s entirely off-road and, in some places, completely trackless. However, the majority of the route follows a decent quadbike track which runs parallel to the estate fenceline and after a reasonable initial climb, you don’t lose too much height so, despite passing 10 tops, the total climbing is only 700 metres over 17.8km. The field gradually spread out as the race progressed over the outward half of the route with a strong tailwind making the going a bit easier but after a 270 degree corner at East Cairn Hill (or 90 degrees of course if you turn the right way), there was a long and very soggy inward half to contend with into a stiff headwind and this is where the quadbike track starts to fade. Thankfully, despite the unaccustomed sunshine, the boggy conditions and the lack of a clear route in some places, everyone seemed to make it home eventually (sadly, a few, including Mary Lye, picked up injuries and had to retire) although there were a few ‘interesting’ routes off the final summit (Kings Seat) with a couple of runners appearing along the road and having to cross the line from the wrong direction.
Tim Darlow and Cameron Murray did Carnethy proud coming 2nd and 3rd respectively and there were also good runs from Adam Anderson, Allen Flockhart (who forgot his kit but managed to scrape a set together at the start), Euan and Fiona Mackinnon, Gina McAllister and Sean Walker. I even managed to win a prize myself (3rd V40) and was delighted to pick up a couple of bottles of Freewheelin Brewery’s finest at the prize giving held at the Gordon Arms in West Linton. Even better, my wife was 2nd lady so she too won some beer and since she’s not much of a beer drinker I’ll have to help her with those as well. Perhaps best of all, since there were no ‘big names’, everyone came out a winner on their SHR percentages!
All in all, a great day out and one which I’d thoroughly recommend (but not if you’re a big name, you lot can stay away……………….)