The Borders are secret Scotland and the area around Selkirk hosts some cracking races like Feel the Burns and the Bowhill Duathlon Series among others. These two are in winter and whilst can be tough in wet conditions, show that the hills in the area eminently runnable. So, to make use of a mountain bike race series, Durty Events decided to use one of the marked bike routes to add a new couple of races – an Ultra Marathon and a Half Ultra. Advertised as 44km, the Ultra looked like it was going to be a trail marathon and turned out to be such.
After a month of drought, rain was forecast and the clag was down. Waterproofs were donned but soon removed only to be needed again for 30mins in the race (for those who bothered). The half Ultra did a lollipop route from the start to do a circuit around the Bowhill Estate and down Duchess Drive to loop back around and over Pernassie Hill to return to Selkirk. The Ultra route headed past Broadmeadows passing a ruined castle and following a fabulous river trail, up to the Three Brethren, a tour of Yair Hill Forest and back up the Southern Upland way to return to Selkirk Rugby Club. The views were limited in the low cloud and trees but the odd glimpse into the valleys was possible now and then.
This is a really great selection of trails with only around 2km on tarmac and the rest using forest tracks, steep winding mountain bike descents, a section on green trods through heather and lovely single track paths, all in a stunning area. Well worth the visit. The organization was great, with plenty of route markings and marshals where needed. The four aid stations were well stocked with water, fruit, great cakes, biscuits and pretzels, and friendly helpers. Results are here: http://www.durtytiming.com/race-results.html.
There were a few Carnethys in both races. Carnethy results… Read more…