on the bus

A Grand Day Out – the 2008 Eskapade

Organised by Willie Gibson Report by Richard Lathe

Waiting for the late-comers

ready to go

A splendid one again – and each year is different. There was some aiding and abetting from Nick et al (the et al includes some reccying, ladder building, and some uisge – hence the name of the Esk). Scarcely recovered from the trials of the Wed night Pub Run experience a band found themselves 07:30 in pitch dark at Carlops awaiting the minibus. We were slow to fasten our seatbelts. “Last time I managed a 360 degree turn on ice” quoth the driver (Irene Schierloh once again - many thanks- ed). We buckled out seatbelts.

a wierd morning

over the wall
The sky lightened as we arrived at Musselburgh, where the gale was gusting 50-60 mph (where was Nigel?) off the bay with a splendid display of whitecaps. By now the group had grown. Cody arrived with Gordon in tow, other brave aficionados incuded Karen, Hilary S, Bill and Rodney. And many others yet to experience the Esk. Ben gets the prize for the latest arrival (Mykura beware, serious competition here).

Rodney is lost

Cody looks surprised

Derek crosses bridge 2

In Dalkeith Estate

Still in Dalkeith

Unlike previous years (wall to wall frost and ice) the temperature was an unusually clement 10-12 degrees, and before we’d gone far the sweat trickled and gortex tops were discarded. We followed the track under the new Dalkeith Bypass bridge and headed for Lasswade. Sadly no mice pies (but we have a promise for next year!), but Win turned up instead, and on we go, passing increasingly desperate signs “Strictly no access” “private” “trespassers will be prosecuted” with wry ignorance.

A Happy Chappy

A lot of Bottle
First stop at Polton Bridge, to grab some much-needed water, and Juliet brought out some magical flapjacks! Now Roslin Glen, where the water was surprisingly low enough to let us follow the low road, though some care was needed. The castle was upon us (we ran through the underneath arch) and the powder works were quickly left behind as we regrouped at the start of the old railway (marked on the map, not having glasses, as ‘demented railway’).


Kings Acre
This is the hard and tedious bit. Plod, plod… footsteps resounding as we head through tunnels before the final stretch up to Penicuik High Street and the Hotel Royal, which it’s not. True to tradition not a cup of tea or a bacon sannie in sight, just 2 score tired runners waiting patiently.

Down to Lassswade

Down to Lasswade




Meeting the Others

Polton Mill
How many Scotsmen does it take to make a cuppa and a roll? Answers on a post-card to the Hotel. But refreshments arrived just in time to avert mutiny. Many cups of tea later, quite a few took off at this point, only to be joined by more freshmen (Cali, Bob, Joanne among them) who took off like daisies as the final team donned soggy shoes and braved the elements.

Polton Mill

The met office said the wind would decline in the afternoon. It decidedly did not. However, no met office spokesperson was available for comment, and we headed into the muddy depths of the upper Esk valley. Across the gorse-bound pipe-bridge and up to the next checkpoint at one of several odd pillars that adorn the valley.

The Royal

Part 2

Penicuik Estate

John Littlewood


A pillar of Carnethy

The windy Moor
About this time the hallucinations set in. A twin pair of horses, jet black and ivory white, monster chess-pieces, came prancing down the turf. Can’t say who was more surprised, but as they cantered past one neighed to the other “am I going mad, or was that a pack of wild carnethies?” As they say, stuff happens in thar hills.

More windy moor

Kate James

Here we are running into the wind, buffeted, pushed, torn, we can hardly run it’s so strong. Another pillar, and finally the Pentland Hills approach. The last bit through Habbie’s Howe, still following the river, was absolutely grand, though few were minded to enjoy the scenery with so many muddy miles behind us.

A mile to go

Last regroup
Talk of mud, as we padded up the last hill, over the fence, and on to the fields of Rogersrig, we thought we’d left the murk behind in the valley, all ready for a swift run home. Wrong! That last field was mud over the shoes, in patches half way up the calf, and glutinous sucky stuff to boot. Yuuuuk..

Amazon Dean has a fewengravings by Allan Ramsay

Not far now
As the light in the sky fails, and 25 miles under our shoes, the lights of Carlops appear magically. No marathon run this, it’s an off-track mudathon where ankles creak, pals barter nurofen tablets, and the odd fall into the mire is part of the experience.

Bob is 21 today

It was a Cake walk
But the lights of the Inn! Muddy shoes are shed, the back room shimmers in in the light of a glorious new timber-burning fireplace, we are back – warm, tired, happy, a cold pint in hand, Rodney made it again too (he’s done every Eskapade since the run was inaugurated). Relax… We all lean back, creaking gently, as the logs crackle. Cody is already asleep in front of the fire. A Grand Day Out! See y’all next year.

A good meal








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