Well, you can’t do a MM, even a MMM, without a partner, so I took Jenna along with me. She looked much more the part in peaked cap and my running rucksack. We arrived early to find Mark ensconced in his bivvy in the back of the car in belay jacket, woolly hat and brew. Maps were issued, chinagraph pencil was demonstrated on my map case, Jenna was given a sneaky choccy biccie by Mark and then he waved us off towards Torduff.
Jenna set the pace out to CP1 and we scrambled up the to get to the flag through bracken and rocks. After that we set off towards CP3 through the woods. I got my upper body workout lifting Jenna over the first of several fences and walls and we reached CP3 without too many events. Then things started to get interesting. We did try for CP6, with Jenna gamely slogging up the hill through the grass and heather, which was around her waist at points. CP6 was one of those cunning ones, which let me demonstrate to Jenna that in the world of orienteering and mountain marathons that the shortest route does not always deliver the result and I didn’t fancy dragging her through the dense pines to her doom, so we went round Bonaly Reservoir but didn’t have time to nip back up to get the CP. Jenna did remark on her appreciation for the lack of houses on Cape Law.
We picked up the track back towards the car park but time was wearing on and Mark’s words about watching the time over 90 minutes were weighing upon me, so I decided to try and pick off the CPs on either side of the track back down. Well, we got 5 and 2 and maybe could have managed one more in the shape of 9 or 4 but that is the way the MMM crumbles. Jenna remarked how quiet it was on the hill, making me hopeful that she can be persuaded into the silent depths of the Scottish mountains in winter in years to come. On the still days, at least.
We made it back to the car park to be met by Graham, Digby, Andy (in the lead at the time) and Mark and declare our time and adventures. Jenna pronounced the experience less tiring than cross-country at school. The youth of today!
Tour de Glencorse
‘The best laid plans o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley,’ as Burns put it. Returning to doing a lot of running this week I’d planned to space the races out and do my final one on Sunday morning. But a phone call during the MMM meant that I now had a job on somewhere up North on Sunday. So it was the ‘Dawn Patrol’ the morning after the MMM evening before. I left the house with everyone else abed, including Shadow the dog, who went out in the drizzle and swiftly returned in disgust. ‘Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back in time for breakfast,’ drew a quizzical stare from the faithless hound as he ran upstairs to hide from the weather.
I arrived at the Flotterstone car park in a slightly shambolic state and found that my printed off map of the route was not in the car, despite sitting on the dashboard most of the week. It is a tribute to the clarity of Mark’s map and instructions that I could recall most of the route and my Harvey’s Superwalker provided a few clues.
I headed off along familiar tracks from my days living in Penicuik, had a brief moment of indecision about which way up to Castlelaw and then slogged on to the ruins of Kirkton Cottage, through the bracken on the lower slopes of Bell’s Hill, wishing this was over already. What I lacked in speed of leg was at least compensated for with good navigation in the drifting clag and I got over the summit and down to Loganlea without any problem.
The crossing to get onto the trod at Turnhouse caused another moment of indecision, coupled with cursing as I realized I had accidentally stopped my watch, then I forded the stream (easy) then forded the bog (squishy) and picked up the trod marked with the spoor of fell shoes from Thursday night. The contouring did go on and on but eventually I came to the familiar fence line off Turnhouse that I am more used to encountering towards the end of the middle leg of the Junior/Senior relay. Now on familiar ground, I did my utmost to uphold the honour of the club colours by putting on a turn of speed past the few hillwalkers just starting up the path and returned to the Visitor Centre. Then back home for my kippers!