Results are available on the Borders Cross Country Race blog.
Results are available on the Borders Cross Country Race blog.
Results are available on the Borders Cross Country Race blog.
Typical, weeks of still weather and some of the most glorious days recently but the Circo 2017 managed to get a wet and manky day. Good news though, no wind, or we would have been Les Miserables. Twelve runners and 4 on bikes hopped up and down to keep warm in the carpark as the Leaders Jim Hardie and Mark Hartree arrived promptly – a bit late. The first leg to Portobello followed a tested route. The junk filled railway section near Drum has been cleaned up but we faced an medical emergency when Jim H got a large thorn in his pinky. Amputation was avoided and a plaster put on to stop him trying to gnaw it out with his teeth. The Beach House café in Porty was great but despite booking and sending orders in advance, still slow.
It did stop raining a bit, then started again on the run to Cramond. A couple of guys – Pete and Nick, had joined us, then we lost a Lee and Lucas Lefevre who ducked out on the way to Cramond. Flat tarmac is not my favourite surface and various pains grew so the pub was a welcome stop and a chance to dry off. The bikers left as we arrived and we left not long after for the final longest leg leaving Nicola Dunn and Neil Rutherford at the 20 mile point. Matt Jones and Jeff Roberts joined us here. It was now trying to snow and the paths very wet and slippery on the mud. The wooden steps along the River Almond were fenced off so we ignored the barriers and used them anyway to avoid a detour. A few piccies in the Cammo estate and on past the airport and tram depot to the Gyle. I dropped out here with Sarah Robertson and got a pick-up from Neil Rutherford who had retired at Cramond after having completed The Spine Race a few weeks ago, so was no doubt a bit weary still.
Without Mark and Sarah, the remaining few made their way into the Industrial Estate of the South Gyle. The final stage of the Circo has always been the best – the gradual climb to the Pentlands. From South Gyle we pottered over the canal, shimmied through Heriot Watt Campus, over the train tracks and up Donkey Brae into Currie. It seemed only right and sensible to stop for a swift half to brace ourselves for the climbs ahead, so we popped into the Kinleith Arms for cola and beer. Time was against us though, sunset was coming and not all of us had headtorches, so we needed to get back out there pronto! Over the Water Of Leith, past the new Horse place, up towards Torphin, round the old golf course and over the Torduff dam. Looking towards the hills ahead we could see that snow would feature heavily.
At Bonaly we said our goodbyes to Nick and Peter who were taking a faster route down to Leith, and then goodbye to Andy as he didn’t fancy the hills. White Hill was the first proper climb into the snow, and on the track there were the tyre treads from the Circo cyclists – a clear sign that they were near…and crazy for shoving their bikes into the snowy Pentlands! By this point the world was white, everything covered in snow. It was glorious! Up Capelaw, and finally Allermuir into whiteout conditions, with no view and driving snow. We agreed that Allermuir would be the final hill, a quick photo, and then slip, slid and skidded our way down to The Steading. I took a tumble, bruising some ribs, but recovered enough to complain about it for the remaining run. A good run, made all the better by great company!
34.4miles in total, nearly 3,000ft ascent.
Thanks to all those that joined (Peter, Nick, Matt and Jeff)!
Well done to all those that done most of it (Lee, Lucas, Nicola, Neil, Sarah, Mark and Andy)!
Fantastic work by the cyclists (Keith, Nick, Jonathan and Eric)!
And finally well done to those that done the full Circo (John, Jeremy, Dougie, Alan and me)!
Massive thanks to Mark for organising all the hard stuff!
The Cyclists report:
The 24-hour ahead weather forecast is not often as badly wrong in the wrong direction as it was for Saturday. We cyclists were down to a hard core of five, but not all at the same time. The opening leg to Portobello prom set a new record for discomfort from rain, mud and high wind chill, causing complaints of frozen fingers and toes; some would say appropriate conditions for this tour of Edinburgh’s unloved badlands which only the connoisseur appreciates. The Beach Café (a name inducing childhood memories of sunshine, ice cream and candy floss) provided us with life saving bacon and egg rolls and tea, but at an eye watering price. As usual, the runners appeared not long after. It’s much easier to keep warm on foot than on a bike; there was even plenty of exposed flesh being flashed. The bikers left early for Cramond. The cold was moderating from desperate to mildly uncomfortable. The beach refugee camp at the sewage treatment plant was gone. There was a welcome absence of the usual nuisance of dog walkers with telescopic leads on the Granton – Cramond prom. Hospitality at the Cramond Inn was excellent for a relaxing long lunch – until the runners burst in, reminding us that we needed to start building our lead before the trials of the Pentlands foothills and the White Hill crux. The Almond riverside path presented the unusual challenge of an impenetrable council safety fence protecting the perilous decaying Salveson steps overhanging the river. Combined tactics got the bikes safely around the fence overhang, down the rickety steps and a repeat across the fence at the bottom. Back on the bikes for the rest of the riverside path, finishing with the Fat Man’s Agony taking us to the Cammo estate entrance. The rough path to the rubbish dump wasn’t too muddy. I noted more interesting stuff to collect later at the rubbish dump, then a straightforward passage to the tram depot and new Gyle railway station interchange. A new underpass took us across the A8 into the Gyle commercial utopia with its landscaped tumbling burn between a million executive desks and glowing screens. Who would swop those for the bracing arctic downpour we were enjoying in the sweet fresh air? Next under the city bypass culvert alongside a suspiciously whiffy ditch to join the long road climb to Haston’s Currie Wa’s and his new memorial. Now falling snow prompted a final hot brew before tackling the Pentlands closing stage. We were down to two to finish the end game. The Currie Brae was despatched with gusto as a re-warmer, thankfully turning downwind for a fast passage past the reservoirs to Bonaly car park. No sign of snowy footprints or screams to the rear so we were clear for the White Hill climb ahead of the runners. The snow made pushing the bikes a battle for traction to the top. During the swampy struggle we heard screams from behind – they were closing on us. A couple of over-the-bars face plants cleared us down to the burn with only the traverse across past the horse depot to finish in the failing light. The runners had pressed on over Allermuir to find deeper snowdrifts in the dark. Just under 8 hours including relaxation stops. The longest continuous rain and snow session I can remember for some time. The first pint and fish and chips went down very well. And we finished without losing any toes or fingers. Herman Buhl would have approved. Much thanks to Mark for the excellent catering arrangements.
The bikers, variously: Jonathon Whitehead, Shane Bouchier, Eric Brown, Nick Macdonald, Keith Burns
I had done it enough times to know better but its charms always seem to tempt you back and my sister had recently moved back to Scotland and settled for Contin, the Strathpuffer’s race HQ. So, whilst riding the Trans American Trail last summer, I interrupted our travel blog (http://dinkelpops.com/) writing to rashly enter the Puffer one more time. It seemed an age and a world away.
Back in Brexit land, the months passed, more insane votes came and went and mountain biking had taken a bit of a back seat for one thing or another. Events long since entered have a habit of coming round far too quickly so last weekend Debs and I travelled up north for a bit of fun with me less than ideally prepared.
The course has been more or less the same except for leg 3 which was shortened in 2015 because of a shoot.
Or pdf here
If there are STILL mistakes let me know!
On Sunday evening of 22 01 2017, travelling in an anticlockwise direction, Jim Mann from Bowes in the North Pennines, originally from Edinburgh and who currently runs for Durham Fell Runners, completed the round in a new winter record time of 22h 23m.
Jim was supported by a very distinguished team of top Fell / Hill runners from both north and south of the border including a number of Carnethy enthusiasts.
Jim also played a major support roll when he supported Jon Ascroft during his record round in 2015 and Jasmin Paris during her successful fastest overall time in 2016.
Jim will be recorded as Number 97 on the Ramsay’s Round finisher’s page www.ramsaysround.com
Will we see any more from Carnethy getting into the 1st 100 finishers? And who will be No 100?
I missed all the fun, frolics and cloud inversions at the Burdens because I was down in the Borders with my folks so I did this race instead. A race with capital letters and exclamation marks too, not to mention entirely unnecessary multiple river crossings at the end. It was pretty much a straight up and down from Ingram (just south of Wooler) up to the summit of Hedgehope and back. Similar distance and ascent to Feel the Burns but with even more mud and some smashing views across the Cheviots hills and valleys. Maybe the thinking behind making us wade across the river THREE TIMES at the end was to wash the mud off? We got a nice mug as a momento. The winner was Mark Lamb 1:43 and 1st lady Liz Gray 2:02. I was chuffed at 12th lady despite losing time to extract my shoe from a bog. Thanks to the organiser and helpers. Results here http://v1.racesplitter.com/races/3B3A89ED9
7 o’clock on Wednesday night saw some 26 runners shivering outside Clippers in Penicuik where we were destined to eat later, but at that time we were waiting for the off to do the Cuckoo Waltz. No, not to play Jonasson’s Swedish accordion tune but a designed Willie waltz (ooer) around the designed landscape of the Clerk’s Penicuik estate.
Penicuik means the hill of the cuckoo but in the early stages it was more hills of the suckoo as gripping mud sucked at our shoes. As the estate covers some 500 acres but the run was 5 miles only (food was awaiting at Clippers remember), we clipped along a somewhat concentrated but enjoyable route firstly following the south bank of the Esk, ascending steadily through the aforementioned delightfully splashy mud to the remains of Ravensneuk Castle. As is often the way with old buildings this 16th century castle was robbed out in the 18th century to provide stone for the Bastion Wall bolstering Penicuik House – amongst others.
A spectacular inversion treated all the runners bar the unfortunate leg 1ers, who never emerged from the mist. Great running conditions, and a great run. Carnethy results were 3rd place for the senior ladies team, 1st places for Carnethy Mens V40 and V50 teams. When the results are out we’ll update the comparison chart and the final composition of teams will be revealed. Really nice soup awaited in the hall. Send in your reports and we can make a page like last year’s. For the moment keep checking below for new reports.
Willie’s photos here Devils Burdens West Lomond
Leg 3 FV40, Fionna Mackinnon and Phillipa Ivison
A quick recce up the slope at the start of the hill from Kinesswood gave us a glimpse of the glorious cloud inversion and views we would get for the rest of our leg. Navigation not being my strongest point and having only run leg 2 in the past I was glad we would see where we were going. Straight up through the crags and hard left seemed the best route, and we found a decent trod all the way to the 1st check point. A slight deviation round the wrong side of Bishops Hill then back on track for a lovely run over undulating ground, then downhill to the bottom of West Lomond. Nearly lost Phillipa in a bog at one point but fortunately her shoes stayed on. The second part of leg 3 is downhill and on trail so it felt great and helped by amazing views of East Lomond that looked like an island and support from Nick and Willie. Back into the fog for the last steeper trail into Maspie Den… and then handover to… would you believe it we were so fast we made it there before our team mate did… 🙂
A great day out.. thanks Phillipa for your company and well done team mates Maggie, Joanne, Dorothy and Patricia… Massive thanks to Konrad and Jasmin for organising
MV50+++ team Leg 3
Our V50/60/70 scrap team had been progressively emasculated by drop-outs and inter-team transfers during the week, leaving a less than finely tuned racing machine after the patch-ups. A careful early-week reccy of leg 3 led to rejection of all the tempting-looking short cuts on the map. A last minute rejection of local knowledge about a traverse below the Kinnesswood crags was also left alone after consultation with Cali and Margaret at the top of the first climb, where we saw that no-one else was taking it. Emerging into the glorious sunshine above the inversion made it a pity to rush the pace, with stunning distance views to far horizons, the foreground masked by the cloud sea with sunny East Lomond emerging like a nunatak on the Greenland icecap. This was a wonderfully bracing cruise across the moor. There were occasional pleasant chats with other runners drifting ahead or back in equal measure, suggesting my pace was well measured: probably no net position gain or loss, no falls, no fluffed choices of line, and a recklessly fast descent down the Maspie and back into the fog and cold. There were at least three reasons to disqualify us, but we covered all the checkpoints and we’ll probably get away with a reprimand. It was a new experience to run with a personal photographer.
Mens Senior C Leg 3
The leg 3 start had everyone staring pensively up the steep hill at runners appearing and disappearing in the mist hoping for their team to arrive – all whilst hearing promises of golden sunshine on the hill tops. Unfortunately on leg 2, David and Noel at the top of West Lomond for CP4 realised they’d missed CP3 and had to go back down but initially mistook a sheep for the missed checkpoint…
So it was down to the last few teams remaining until Konrad, who with James had already run leg 2 in the fourth fastest time and hopefully might be tired to my fitness level, and I set off. Emerging from the mist below the White Craigs and it was perfect sunny day for running with no wind. The hills were now barren of other runners but we moved apace until the second climb to CP11 whereupon I really need to improve my hill climbing endurance. Perhaps time to start running with the fasties on a Wednesday now? :-O
Fortunately, my strength is flat running so from CP12 we were able to storm down the path for the final 5K until, for me, the last little kick up at the finish. After the finish, Konrad was discussing with Jasmin about doing more speed training so I maybe, hopefully, helped stretch his legs – though he had still run two legs!
V50 A leg 1
Surprising to me but there were only 55 starters for leg 1 at 10.30 as 100 teams had started at 9.30. It used to be the other way round. But 8 Carnethies lined up and 4 of us stuck together jostling for places in the fog. Good ground conditions meant dry feet and a 30+ minute blast through the woods. At one point Ali Mary and I blocked the track to prevent anyone passing us with Matt just in front leading the way to the finish only for Ali to beat him to the line. I handed over to Bob and Steven although we managed to drop the baton in the hand over – but fortunately that didn’t stop us from going on to retain our title from last year. A great effort from the team who got the sunshine whilst I had the fog.
Carnethy Hill Running Club is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland with registered number SC492072 and having its registered office at Munro Cottage, Loanstone, Penicuik EH26 8PH