there were 10 Carnethy teams (the most ever)
at the Devil's Burdens Relay - that's 60 runners
from the club (and we didn't even need to double
up one person!). Perhaps because of the large
numbers, we won quite a few prizes... with two
first places: the Mens' Over 40 team (and 7th
place overall) and the Men's Over 50 team (helped
by our President, no less!). The Senior Women's
team came home in second place, very close behind
the winner, HBT, while the Senior Men's team
had a great 3rd place behind winners Shettleston
and second placed Ochils. Strength in depth was
shown by our Senior Men's B team being the third
Carnethy team to finsh and coming in a high 11th
place (out of 111 teams), and was first B team.
The Women's Over 50 team were probably the first
female Over 50 team as well (but not an official
Despite it being a cold, windy and rainy day, spirits
were not dampened and everyone enjoyed the day and
the very tasty soup provided by Fife AC afterwards!
All previous Carnethy results are here
||Falkland to Strathmiglo
7.2km 217m (4.48m 710ft)
|Strathmiglo to Kinnesswood
10.3k 563m (6.4m 1846ft)
|Kinnesswood to reservoir
5.7km 237m (3.5m 780ft)
|Reservoir to Falkland
6.83km 431m (4.24m 1413ft)
Men "A" -
it’s not this way, that’s someone’s house’;
‘Hmm, are you sure we should go up those steps?’
It was an inauspicious start to the day. 50
metres into our jog-to-the-start-recce of leg
4 and we were lost. I thought one way, Konrad
thought the other. Konrad was right, as usual.
We made it to the start, however, with an optimal
route off East Lomond planned (down a trod,
to the right of the forest, then straight to
stile keeping right a bit), and plenty of time
to start getting cold.
Things started to heat
up as Shettleston arrived in first place, followed
closely by the Ochils, and Paul blasted in
a couple minutes later (running a great time
despite having been off sick with a virus all
week). Game on.
Konrad set off at a blistering
pace, and led the way down and across the reservoir
then up the firebreak, slowing only to navigate
the slippery planks across a ditch without
embarrassment. My poor navigation was demonstrated
again when I missed the first gate, and nearly
ran straight into a couple of horses gazing
quizzically at the long line of runners passing
through their field.
My fingers were still
numb at this point, so I was pleased to note
that I was still holding my dibbing sheet when
we hit the first checkpoint at Ballo Reservoir.
The first real climb of leg 4 from the reservoir
to the road was made excruciatingly painful
by my decision to run straight through strength-sapping
shin-deep mud instead of taking the (sensible)
stepping stones and stile.
A brief stretch
on tarmac got us back in our stride before
the second checkpoint at the über stile at
The route to the next
checkpoint, through the lime kilns and up East
Lomond passed in a blur; all I can remember
was repeatedly counting to 16 to take my mind
off the slog up to the summit (no idea why
I decided on 16!). Ah-ha! The summit, downhill
all the way! So where’s that trod we spotted?
Hmm, can’t find it. Oh well, straight down
it is! Even my new fell shoes were no match
for that gradient, and I spent a fair proportion
of it on my bum, but once over the fence it
was quick running all the way to the finish,
three cups of tea and soup.
All in all, another
great day out in the hills. Many thanks to
Fife AC for organising!
- Leg 1
1 was a last minute change for me due to
some team illness - I was originally down
for Leg 2 with Jon Ascroft and had skived
off work the Monday before to do a double
recce - my punishment to be switched to the
fast and hard (surfaced) first leg, which
I hadn't skived off work to recce. My tactic
was to run this flat out, with an anticipated
less than a half hour of burn time.
Right from the off there was a breakaway group of 3
that I never saw again until the handover. Then there
was a group of 5 or 6, with me at the back.
I tried to stay with a Dundee Hawker but he steadily
pulled away from me on the hard track, until we took
the right turn along the grassy path and his racing
slicks become less than useless, while my x-talons
bit the soft ground and I pressed ahead.
Through the forest I could see Michael Reid ahead and
slowly gained until we were level, he was not feeling
100%, so I managed to inch past.
We soon reached the checkpoint with the normal fumbling
about of paper and stapler widget, then the final descent
through the forest and onto the mile of tarmac bashing
until the muddy field.
On reaching the handover there was surprise and disappointment
- surprise from Jon and Adrian that I was ahead of
Michael, and disappointment from Stewart and Andy that
I was ahead of Michael. He appeared a few seconds later.
After a quick drink in the hall, I bullied Mike Lynch
into running the 8 or so miles over West Lomond and
down to the stream crossing, before meandering Eastwards
back to the finish/start.
Excellent day out.
- Leg 4
into this I didn't really know how much my
efforts on The Spine would have taken out of
me. I'd had a couple of runs and felt OK, almost
spaceman like not being burdened by the weight
of a rucksack. But it's not until you have
to race that you find out whether there's any
zip in the legs. A gentle jog over helped to
loosen the legs and fine tune our route choice.
Standing around at the start we were caught
slightly unawares when Craig came flying down
the road. So that was it, bang, we were off,
some "kids" flew by us more o'less at the start.
We didn't panic as we definitely new they had
another 20+ years before they'd be classed
as vets and so we watched them disappear. I
for my part assumed my position sitting on
Olly's shoulder concentrating on keeping up
and getting the required oxygen to keep me
going. It was good team work, with Olly setting
the pace, both of us shedding clothes as we
went, he sorting out the CP's and allowing
me to to concentrate on keeping going till
we got to top of East Lomond. Where he then
urged me on for the downhill to sort the CP
duties out. In contrast we did have company
in the first third of the leg with another
V40 team but they certainly weren't working
together and as such it felt we had the upper
hand especially on the climbing.
It's nice to do well, but I think I was more relieved
at the finish not to have let the team down after they'd
done such a great job on the previous 3 legs and put
their faith in me. I'm sure we were all wondering what
I'd be like, like I say I know I was. Relays are interesting
they bring that added dimension of team sport to what
is normally an individual pursuit.
Men "B" -
The day after the Feel
The Burns race down in Selkirk my achilles had
flared up and was bloody painful. The rest of
the week was spent downing ibuprofen and doing
the eccentric stretches, praying it wouldn't
put me out of the relay's, I was hovering over
pulling out but didn't want to let the side down
especially since the rest of the B team was definitely
A quality. So I headed up with Steve B, and joined
the throng in Falkland Village Hall to get our
numbers from Iain. Hats off to Iain and Helen
for captaining with assuredness! Looking around
the hall it was a who's who of Scottish hill
racing, it always makes you feel up for the race!
I gingerly warmed up for the 1st leg and set
off with the others just wanting to keep up with
the main group, with the fasties pelting away
down the track. As it went on I was feeling okay,
managed to creep past Mike Lynch, and spent the
rest of the leg trying to hold him off! A horrible
bit of tarmac and a muddy slide down the field,
with a strategically placed fallen tree to dodge,
and that was it and handed over to the Andrews,
Normand and Gilmore. Very glad for the lift back
to the village hall with a marshall, decided
against joining Mike and Graham Nash for a tour
of the Lomonds. Super glad for the lovely soup
and cakes back in the hall, and wandered to the
finish to clap the other teams in. Achilles is
now creaking away but getting better.
Ladies "A" -
lurgy lungs, snot inducing calf screaming ascent,
bum muscle pulling descent and painful shuffle
BUT: great to see so many friends and FANTASTIC results!
(Other than mine)!! And, it made my day to see Bill
running so strongly as I hobbled back to the start
of my leg. He is a Super Hero, never mind a Super-dooperd-vet!
||Male Super Vet
MV50 - Leg 4
Burdens time is always going to
The initial teams come out and i am on leg 3, I think
maybe I should ask to run leg 4 with Bob W, lets wait
and see what happens.
I go on e recce of leg 4 with Joel, Olly and Mary the
saturday before! might come in useful.
Then in the following week the team stays the
same until a few days before, emails fly back
and forward and suddenly I am on leg 4
We drove to the changeover with Cali and Margaret,
the hour and a half wait passed surprising quickly,
with Bob worrying the teams with his shouts of "Runner" at
Harry ran in at a fast pace and we were off.
Just ahead of the Boggy Lassies. Bob pushed the
muddy climb with we hanging on and I was working
hard along the reservoir, a couple of "old runners" passed
and Bob was convinced they were V50s. The Boggies
passed us at the checkpoint and I took the led
Bob for a while on the climb, and then there
was the tarmac. Bob went ahead and clicked the
card and we stayed fairly close together to the
limekilns. Passing a few teams on the way.
On the climb to East Lomond we passed Cali and Margaret
as we got passed by Lisa and Jacqui, I got to the summit
a bit ahead of Bob and then he galloped down the hill
chasing the girls and waited for me at the stile. Then
it was hell for leather for the finish.
A great fun run, and 2 minutes after Jason and Joel
run in the Joel looking rather tired!, After a minute
or so Helen gave us a lift to the road crossing and
we ran back for the car, returning to Falkland just
after the prize giving really happy to learn our team
were 1st V50.
A great race as ever, thanks to the Captains for their
efforts and to Fife AC and all the helpers, and also
to Digby and Eliza (the non running support).
MV40 Team 2 - Leg 2
It was a leg
of 2 halves, me desparately trying (yet failing)
to keep up with Simon through the storm on
the long slog up West Lomond followed by Simon
successfully keeping up with me across the
top and then down the slippery precipice to
the start of leg 3.
The one advantage of going
slowly was that we were passed by both the
MV50 and Ladies teams and there are no better
guides to the optimum route than Steven Fallon
and Angela Mudge so at least we never got lost.
We even managed to keep in touch with both
teams until the final descent and we were then
happy to hand over to Bob at the end before
starting the agonising search for where he'd
managed to hide my car (who knew a tiny village
could have so many side streets.......)
MV40 Team 2 - Leg 4
As Jason and I are waiting for Bob, Neil Gilmore comes hammering into the changeover
for the MV50. I turn, horrified, to Jason. This is serious, if the old gits beat us,
I'll never hear the last of it from El Presidente. Nah says Jason, it takes the pressure off us.
Well if that's how Jason runs when there's no pressure, I must remember never to challenge him to something.
Forty lung bursting, leg screaming minutes later I collapse over the finish line.
I think the stress, exhaustion and pain must have shown, as there was much hilarity.
'Oh Jason', says Helen, 'you've broken Joel'.
To be fair, Willie later congratulated me. But.
Ladies "B" -
though they might be, are always a bit of a
logistical nightmare: getting race numbers,
people and extra clothes to the various start
and finish points. Heather and I decided to
kill a bit of time before our final leg by
eschewing Matt’s lift in a cosy car and
recceing the route in reverse. We walked/ jogged
over with Euan, Lisa and Steve in the rain,
and thoroughly muddied and dampened, proceeded
to freeze at the start line. After a wee while
we took refuge in Helen’s car. Bob W
exhibited typical scampiness by rapping hard
on the window. Panicking that Kate had flown
through leg 3 in superhuman time, I threw myself
out of the car, wild-eyed and squawking, much
to Bob’s amusement. The swine.
The car was reclaimed by Digby (very nobly ferrying
people and kit around the hills of Fife), leaving Heather
and me shivering and jogging in soggy anticipation.
Heather showed me a nifty technique for working the
blood back into frozen fingertips. Hard to describe,
but you look a bit like a penguin when performing the
manoeuvre. As Kate hoved into sight we were very glad
to get running with a fast stretch into the fire break.
The mud had been thoroughly churned up by this time,
making the plank bridges quite perilous. A lovely grassy
downhill took us to the drained reservoir (“Danger
of Quicksand” eek!), and then a shortish pull
up to a brief roady section. We negotiated the most
enormous stile I’ve ever seen, and trekked on
up hill towards the “Gowk Stone” (I still
have no idea what it looks like). We overtook a team
or two at the Lime Kiln and met Brian Howie and Ian
Nimmo at the start of the steep climb to the summit
of East Lomond, and briefly conferred about the best
route up: longer and gentler track to the left or shorter,
steeper to the right… We chose right, which was
I think, er, right!
A steep, bouncy, mossy descent was followed by a carefully
reccied route to the right of the trees (definitely
the quicker option - we closed the gap on a couple
of other teams). Marshalls at the stile before the
path/track to the finish warned us of treacherously
muddy conditions. It actually wasn’t too bad
- the mud was deep enough to provide a bit of traction!
Heather romped onward and I puffed along behind her
as we passed another couple of teams. The final hundred
metres to the finish line was an all out sprint as
Heather, with fire in her eyes, hunted down one last
team for us to pip at the post.
Excellent fun, as always, followed by delicious pea
and spinach soup and cake. A thousand thank yous to
everyone who makes it happen, and especially Helen
and Iain for captaining so magnificently.
||Male Super Vet
MV50+ - Leg
of the fun of the Devil's Burdens is working
out transport to the race and the changeovers.
Thanks to Ian and Anne
it all seemed to work
for our legs.Ian had stepped in magnanimously
to fill the gap left by
The worst part of Leg 4 is the long
wait. It was particularly wet and
cold and there a bit of nail-biting as to whether
our numbers would
appear. Nick arrived eventually with them in
the "nick" of time. My
fingers were like frozen sausages trying to
pin the number on. Myself and Ian then jogged
up and down the track looking for Bill and to
keep warm. Is it? Yes? No?, Maybe? Red top? No
someone else. Then Bill came storming in - a
few pleasantries and we headed off up the
muddy track, churned up by several hundred
By this time the
rain was off,visibility was perfect and the
tailwind was helpful. The
run itself was very muddy in parts but fairly
uneventful, punctuated by
the occasional passing pairs, including Heather
and Mary on the climb up
East Lomond. A major decision whether to go
left or right.
The corner of the wood was clearly visible
from the top for the descent
to the final control and down the path to the
We finished in
good shape in the emerging sunshine. Last pair
in the race - there's not
many can say that.