Margaret and I (and Penicuik Harrier Sadie who had been “can you believe it” contemplating reading a book and taking it easy) had a lovely “just in time recce” before our leg 4. It was much icier first time round but great to have time to take in the views and get some photos. The route is up through the woods where leg 3 come down and then up onto the track for East Lomond to the top before straight down the steepest side and then great downhill trail into Falkland town.
Desperately in need of hot drink and food after very early breakfast (too early for THE soup) we refuelled after our recce and we headed out again to wait in the very chilly changeover spot. But we were far too early and the sun never reached the ground deep in the woods, you could feel the heat trail as leg 3 runners came in – could have done with good heat transfer system set up so I was shivering when started over an hour later. Sadie left, then Margaret then Brian removing his cosy Keith Burn’s jacket which I wished “I” had on!
Finally, heading up into the light, it was nice to see familiar folk coming down on leg 3, Willie and Bob and no surprise I got passed by Gordon at the river of ice! I wasn’t brave enough to bounce fast down the tussocky steep descent off East Lomond on the right of the woods but I was delighted that I went where I meant to go (as we had missed out the middle checkpoint on our recce). Had a battle with a dog to get over the fence at the checkpoint; every time I went he tried to go same place at the same time – thought there were only human runners on the Burdens!
I went as fast as my wee legs could take me, loved the route, loved my soup, loved catching up with local FAC friends and had great time… Thank you ladies – delighted our times now all in! Imagine my surprise when I ran into the finish WITH a complete correctly punched card to be told no times for last two legs! Eh… did I imagine seeing Ina and Carolyn’s pink faces? Alls well ends well but take home message seems to be, you can’t just hand your card over to the next runner but you also have to report to the marshals 🙂 This leg was definitely more fun than a very muddy field start for a leg 4 trail sometime in the dim and distant past.
Kirsty Loudon, FV40, Leg 4
There was a bit of nailbiting before the race as to whether we’d manage to field a V60 team. Fortunately in Carnethy we have the inspiration
from the likes of Bill Gauld , Keith Burns and Ian Nimmo for us young ones to keep going after bus-pass age.
For the last leg there was no real rush to get to Falkland and we arrived in plenty of time. I did underestimate the change over time and
it was a bit cold hanging about for maybe 40 minutes. Surprisingly Digby and Jean came in before the V50 team . The run up to the 1st control was
a bit laboured as it was straight into a gruelling ascent with half working cold legs and a bit of asthmatic breathlessness in the cold air.
I felt a lot better after that and passed a couple of runners, including Margaret Forest on the track up to East Lomond. It was sunny
and clear so finding my way was not a problem . I was passed by a couple of runners near the top.
For the descent I decided to take the line to the right side of the wood on advice I heard at last year’s event. It was a bit rougher but much
shorter as I overhauled some of the runners who’d got ahead of me, even with my poor descending skills.
As I punched the card I spotted a yellow jacketed runner who’d followed me to the right. It turned out to be Gordon who passed as I put the
foot down along the final straight. Gordon was a bit less cautious than me on the steps down to the finish and ended up about 24 seconds ahead.
Another fun day out, good running conditions and it seems we’re going to get the V60 prize after all.
Brian Howie, MV60, Leg 4
The benefit of doing leg 4 is you get a lie in and 4 of us arrived in Falkland at 12 noon. The problem is not knowing how long you are going to wait to be tagged by your team. There were lots of Carnethies at changeover so it was very sociable although cold and you only got a few seconds notice of your departure. I was left with Annie when Willie and Bob tagged me so I knew I had 3 Carnethy teams to catch with only the Senior ladies behind me.
It was a slog up the path and at top gate I met Mary and Kathy on their way down to tag Annie. On the snow drift strewn track I passed Kirsty and as I hauled myself over the summit of East Lomond I caught Margaret. I saw Brian ahead of me in his yellow jacket and managed to overhaul him at the end of the track before the descent to the finish. No chance of catching the men’s C team who finished 9 minutes and 10 places ahead of us.
We were 44th out of 123 teams. Great event and better route for sorting out the changeovers.
Gordon Cameron, V50-B, leg 4
My 4th, I think, attempt at the Devil’s Burdens. Over the years I’ve realized the real objective with this race: consuming soup!
The first step is to bag yourself an early leg so you can get back to the hall for your first serving. Euan Boyd and I were handed Leg 2, which was perfect for getting back to the hall. Steve Best also done an amazing job of ensuring that we started nice and early, by flying round Leg 1. From a team perspective this was great, but for Euan and I it meant that there were a fair few “A” Teams behind us ready to overhaul our lead on them. Bah!
The next step is to run hard so that you create some space and an appetite for *loads* of soup. From the start of the leg this was going well, heading from the field to the forest we pushed hard and gained on Deeside who started just ahead of us. However, a pair of Westies coasted by, the first of many coasting by, and onto the first major climb to West Lomond it was clear that there was a strong field starting behind us who were all very keen on *not* being behind us. So we hemorrhaged places on the climb, including a very fresh looking Jasmin and Konrad (but we don’t mind those guys). Once onto the summit of West Lomond we’d managed to compose ourselves and push along at a good pace to hold onto our position. In fact, the only team we passed was Stewart and Gregor, mainly due to Gregor’s footwear choice rather than our own athletic prowess. Ah well. The paths along the ridge were hard and slippy with frost, with occasional sheets of ice cutting across our path. As such, I think only about 25% of our time was spent on the lovely trails covering the Lomonds, and instead running on the grippier grass to the side.
Finally, to get to the soup you need to pass the buck onto your teammates. The final checkpoint appeared, and a final steep descent to Kinnieswood to the handover. Euan had it in his head that we had another checkpoint to go, so halfway down the hill he took out his map to take a bearing. I knew better (I didn’t really, I was just keen for it all to be over) and forged forward claiming that we’d hit all the checkpoints, and thankfully we had. The only task left was to hand over to Matt and Iain. Given their impressive performance on Leg 3, I can only assume they were keen to get back before the Cock a Leekie ran out.
Before long we were back in the hall, devouring some Beetroot & Lentil to warm us up. Then some Leek & Potato to take with us to watch Alex finish. Finally some Sage (& something) soup for the results. A grand day out!
Jim Hardie, Men B, Leg 2 (with Euan Boyd)
This year’s anti-clockwise format gets the tedious tarmac start to leg 2 despatched on fresh legs and delivers the West Lomond ascent in one long unremitting grind. We had lots of earlier starters to chase from Strathmiglo, and as we approached the gully spring we hauled in quite a crowd that had begun the ascent to the spring way too late. Above the spring we hauled in more teams as we crossed the snowdrifts on West Lomond. This encouraging progress was deflated somewhat by the choice of an unnecessarily rough line down to the glen, failing to take best advantage of a good track line lower down. We passed another team on the climb to Bishop Hill then spent the rest of leg being hauled in by the 1030 starters pouring through.
From Bishop Hill summit we learned (again) how tempting short cuts can turn into embarrassing setbacks. KB was losing pace by this time. The final plunge to Kinnesswood was enjoyed with just enough left to avoid total loss of control on the steep slippery grass. Concrete hard ground with intermittent verglas made it hard going on the joints. There seems to have been a stewards’ inquiry into our clipping discipline with pinholes not quite in the correct box, but we were treated leniently as the only surviving MV60 team, as rare as giant pandas and Tory MPs in Scotland, but faster.
Keith Burns, MV60, Leg 2 (with Trevor Collins)
Garry MacInnes’ excellent photos from Leg 3 & 4 (and a few runners at the end of leg 2)
I’ve done the majority of the Devil’s Burdens races and it’s one of my favourites, but over the years I’d not been on leg 4, usually as I’d allocated it to the fast guys when I was organising the old SLAC squads (this may be the only hill race Tom Hanlon has ever competed in). Now my luck was in, a strong squad of VeryOldGits and even better a nice ‘up and down’ of a leg. Problem is though once one reaches the VOG category one’s own legs don’t go up and down as well as they used to. My dodgy left achilles had been overtaken by a dodgy right calf, so a combination of strapping and various applications ibuprofen allowed me to get to start line.
With only a rough idea of the changeover time a possy of leg 4 runners trotted along the road from the hall, bouyed up by James W’s superb run on leg 1. Andrew and Mark had gone over the route in reverse and given us a few tips. Andrew was first away, I missed the mixed going through but before long the V40s were in and Mark was off, not long after Mike and Harry came tearing in and I was off.
Luckily a pretty steep start followed by a gradual climb didn’t make my “old man with dodgy legs” shuffle run look too out of place. I reached the first checkpoint without being overtaken just as Bob and Willie were coming through it in the opposite direction. This filled me with some relief* as I now reckoned that at least I was safe from being caught by Gordon and we would be first Carnethy V50 *(I didn’t realise Bob had pulled his calf – as a regular calf tearer myself you have my sympathy Bob).
Running along the track past the walkers was really cracking – warm sunshine, great views and snowbanks.
I did get a bit of a wake up call when I glanced back and saw a Carnethy and an Ochil vest not too far back, Simon was gaining fast on me but more worrying – was that the Ochils V50s? Bugger it! I’d bet get a move on. Up to the trig point, punch the card – brief sip of the view and then it was straight down the other side on some lovely forgiving grassy slopes, a slightly dodgy go-for-it across the snowbank and down to the stile. Flat out as fast as my dodgy legs could take me to the town, with that lovely wee weavy path down the steps through the railings (really need to go back and do the Falkland hill race again) and through the finish line.
Well, I didn’t get passed and the rest of the boys had put us in a great position which meant we scooped the V50 prize (with 5/6 of the team that were 3rd down at the FRAs, and a fair number of the squad that I part of that won the V40s a few years back too).
Thanks to Iain and Helen for organising, Fife and Aidy for organising (and for a great route on leg4) and last but not least to Adam, Steven, Aidy, Mike and Harry for putting us in an unassailable position.
Bruce Smith, MV50, Leg 4
This was my 5th Devil’s Burdens Hill Relay, but the first time I had run a paired leg, so it was a new experience for me. Having run a fair bit with Neil here and on holiday in Spain I know we would be a decent team, and so it proved, as we put in a better-than-expected performance.
As we waited at Kinnesswood for Joel and Mark, reports indicated that we would need to be mindful of the ice on the tops and the hard paths. It certainly made for tentative running in places, but the start of our climb was fine, and we quickly overhauled Willie and Bob and Alan and Andrew before passing Jasmin and Konrad at the first checkpoint, who were trotting back the way they came. This next section was very icy but we got a fair pace going for the next wee while as we settled into things. It’s always satisfying when you’re never overtaken on a leg, and manage to pass several teams. Towards a checkpoint we passed Digby and Jean, who looked to be going well, and before I knew it we were approaching the final checkpoint with Helen charging past us for the mixed team. The final couple of miles was a fast finish and we passed Alex coming one way and Cali and Irene going the other, before I lost the plot a bit with a woman and her dogs (I feel bad now – sorry lady).
In summary – I loved running as a pair and am keen to do it at the Comries or next year. Total number of words exchanged between us? Seven I think, in the following order: Neil: “Ice, there.”, Me: “I’m knackered.” and Neil: “Final checkpoint ahead.”
Mike Lynch, MV40 B Team, Leg 3 (with Neil Burnett)
Mary’s photos, and Mary and Kathy’s Leg 3 video.
Bob Waterhouse and I have been running as a team in relays for a few years now. Not an ideal combination as Bob normally goes off like a rocket and descends like a demon whereas I take a while to get into a race and descend like I have 2 wooden legs. After a few months of bad knees I was feeling slow and unfit, but recent toothache saw me doped up on Paracetemol and Ibuprofen, its amazing what that does for sore knees.
The climb was hard work with about a minute of running before we had to go to fast walking. Once at the forest the slippy snow led on to slippier ice as Bob led the way down at an unfamiliar pace for me. After the Hill and the snow the rest of the route was more of a trail race. Great scenery all round and mainly good running with the odd bit of ice to keep you on your toes, especially at the dam crossing.
As we climbed the farm track Bob pulled a calf muscle and ran/walked the rest of the uphills until we reached the road. He could still go downhill though and led me (faster than I have gone downhill for ages) down Maspie Glen to the finish.
A great day out.
Willie Gibson, MV50 B, leg 3 (with Bob Waterhouse)
For my first hill race I was a bit worried to be running with such talented company in the mixed team, I just hoped I could keep up with Andrew and not let the side down! We arrived nice and early at Kinnesswood in time for a quick warm up after watching our men’s seniors fly down the hill just ahead of Shettleston. Having reccied the route the week before I was pretty confident on the navigational aspect of the course but wasn’t quite ready for the pace Andrew set on the first climb, definitely need to get along to wintervals soon and get some more hill reps into my training!
At the top of the initial climb a lot of runners were continuing up to the last checkpoint for leg 2 which involved a bit of extra climbing and distance, but we skirted this and headed direct for our first checkpoint at the gate before the woods. The descent from here was particularly icy and Andrew adopted a side-to-side, half pipe approach while I opted to hurriedly slip and slide my way straight down, just managing to stay upright with a few close calls. The route was more or less straight-forward undulating trail from here and we passed a few teams with the good pace Andrew was setting.
At the last checkpoint I almost lost him as he tried to tag on with men’s senior Andrew Gilmour and head up East Lomond but I kept us on course and for a fast final descent down Maspie Den to hand over to Helen for the final leg.
Ross Christie, leg 3 mixed
Some photos from the leg 2 & 3 handovers; Jean and my run on leg 3; leg 3 finish and the hall.
They were about to announce the V60 result when someone rushed up on stage and said “Stop! – there’s an adjudication!”
Well we don’t seem to have been disqualified… yet…
As we started leg 3 I was wondering what number the first checkpoint was. 8. So why wasn’t CP 7 punched? Either the last one on leg 2 was missed or an earlier one, and they just kept punching the next available number. The threat of V60 prizes already seemed out of the window as there were only 2 teams, and 3 were needed. So when I ran past CP10 thinking it was on the far side of the reservoir I was not inclined to go back for it, and just enjoyed the fabulous weather and an increasingly slow run. Jean stormed ahead but stopped for a cup of tea, read the paper for a while, and some time later we finished together. Brian Howie handed me his jacket and hared off to run leg 4. I naturally put it down and forgot all about it. So thanks to all the Carnethies who thought it was Gordon’s and took it back to the hall, and in a series of “I thought it was yours” eventually reunited it with its owner. And the extra mileage I put in running back up in a fruitless and frantic search are all good training. The words skin of and teeth spring to mind. As do early onset and dementia. Sorry Brian!
Digby, leg 3 V60
At least 72 Carnethies ran in today’s Devil’s Burdens Relay Race. The weather was perfect (although very cold at the change over points). Some snow and ice about, but plenty of dazzling sunshine.
I ran the new leg 4 route and reccied this in the morning with Kirsty and Sadie from Penicuik Harriers. Although the final run down from East Lomond Hill was the same as last year, the start was new with a very nice, steady climb up Maspie Den and then the Lomonds track from the quarry to the limekilns towards East Lomond.
It was a novel experience for me to be in the winning team for the Ladies over 50 vets. Many thanks to my team mates: Hilary, Karen, Moira, Cali and Irene.
Margaret Forrest, leg 4 FV50
My second Devils Burdens, and it was completely different from last year. Leg 2 instead of leg 4. Instead of high wind and driving rain; glorious sunshine, tremendous views and a pleasant breeze. Dry, hard grass and ice replaced bog and tussocks. A warm village hall substituted for a freezing cold reservoir road. Mark Hartree replaced Jason, which was a little easier but he still pushed me hard. The logistics worked out, as they inevitably do, and the soup was as tasty as I remember it. Thanks Carnethy MV40 B team, it was a blast!
Joel Sylvester, Leg 2 MV40 B