A Burdensome Run
We sat in the car park halfway up East Lomond hill watching the rain
batter against the windscreen and feeling the car rock in the wind
as we waited
for the others to arrive. By the time we were ready to start, the
rain had nearly stopped so eleven of the intrepid Carnethy journey
set off on the hill path towards West Lomond hill. The weather cleared
but it was so windy we later had to push hard to run down from the
steep summit of West Lomond. We paused part-way down to look at the
unusual rock formations of the Devil’s Burdens, like a line
of tors along the hillside.
Further down we went into the spectacular valley of Glen Vale. A
narrow path took us down the valley amongst the unusual limestone
carved out by the burn. Some slithery parts had to be negotiated carefully
to avoid falling into the waterfall. Further down, the valley was dominated
by the huge buttress of John Knox’s Pulpit. Leaving the valley, we
climbed up onto Bishop Hill and ran along the top edge of the escarpment.
At the appointed place, we went over the edge and scrambled down to see
the dramatic rock pillar of Carlin Maggie – reputedly a witch turned
to stone by the Devil for mocking at his Burdens.
It was too windy to stay so we ran over to shelter in Munduff forest
for a lunch stop. We continued on farm tracks to the dam at Holl Reservoir.
Some people kept muttering about race legs but I think it must have been
a horse race as I heard ‘leg 3’ and ‘leg 4’ being
mentioned. The run continued by tracks and byways to Conland and Battlefield
forest. An unpromising scramble over a barbed wire fence soon got us onto
a good forest track. Towards the end there were tantalising glimpses of
the wireless masts by the car park but we circled round them a bit to find
a good path back to the finish. Afterwards we went to the tea room in Falkland
for tea and home-made cakes – just as the rain started again.
speed limit on the bridge was 40mph (strong winds) and the rain started
soon after we crossed it. I tried to look on the bright side - it's
always worse inside looking out, it won't last, I've got a dry change
clothes in the boot....
Getting out the car was the most difficult bit.
Once I was wrapped up and 'in harness' it felt good to be out, all
that fresh air being forced into my lungs on the short climb to East
Lomond. What a good idea to start at the high car park.
Our first real section was East Lomond to West Lomond following the route used
in the Lomonds of Fife race. The track was very muddy and slippy in places but
you can't run with Carnethy without getting dirty.The top of West Lomond still
had a little patch of snow to remind us of the Devil's Burdens relays. We stood
gazing to the north and west, being buffeted by the wind and wondering where
Carnethy teams had 'gone wrong'.Instead of reversing leg 3 we dropped down to
the Devil's Burdens and into Glen Burn to escape the wind. It was really interesting
exploring nooks and crannies I'd never normally visit.
We stopped for a quick lunch in the wood on Munduff Hill and then reversed leg
2 to Holl Reservoir running downhill and with the wind - brilliant!
From Ballo Reservoir we could see the ugly mast at our car park and decided to
head straight for it, across country.
As we walked up to the car the sun came out for the first time that day. I changed
out of my muddy, sweaty gear feeling well-satisfied with our Sunday morning escapade.