Carnethy members organise a range of social runs, night runs, journey runs, group runs that you can join if there’s no races on or you’re all raced out. If the weather’s bad and you need an incentive to get out, or if it’s great and you fancy somewhere a bit different, there’s often a run to join in led by a Carnethy member.
Some are long standing routes repeated each year like the Eskapade, such as Nigel Rose’s journey runs, Keith Burn’s alternative John Muir Way and the Circumnavigation of Edinburgh. Others are more ephemeral; but they are characterised by encompassing all abilities of running and being very relaxed, the more alcoholic ones (like the Whisky Chaser) extremely so.
If you are new to hill running, information for beginners are covered on the beginners page
Carnethy operates an informal system for leading groups. However here are a few tips, and good things to do, if you are organising or leading a run in a group:
· At the start, summarise the route plan, likely conditions and expected weather.
· Agree what to do if any runner wants to leave the group early – such as telling someone and calling the leader or your buddy to say you are safely off the hill.
· Count how many are in the group and along the way check that you have everyone still.
· Keep a check on those at the back and re-group at regular intervals. Buddy-up slower members, especially if the weather is bad.
Have a great run, take some pictures and do a write-up to make everyone else envious.
You couldn’t have got better weather, or a better feast at Keith’s. Great soup served by delightful children, and just an amazing layout of food and cake. I have eaten far too much. I’m not alone in that! Many thanks to Bärbel and the cake bringers.
Plastic in the sea is very topical but the entire coastline is littered with planks. The timber came off cargo vessel the Frisian Lady on March 2 while it was 110 nautical miles east of Souter Lighthouse, off the South Shields coast. There have been dire warnings that taking this littering eyesore is criminal. Actually the environmental impact is criminal, and it’s going to be around for a very long time. Get out and help yourselves. You’ll have to carry it miles though. No-one else is going to clear it up.
A great day out; all 34.4 miles of it! More if you took some of the longer beach headland variations, or went to the seabird center and the gps hunted about for a signal.
Alan’s pics –
Jeff’s pics –
Forget extreme ironing – this was extreme whisky tasting. After a wee warm up in the Steading, Jeff’s unusual home made and very palatable sloe whisky, and the delightful Glencadam – a honeyed and full bodied whisky – we had the choice of the bad weather route or Castlelaw and bust. After that warmup caution had become a laughable notion so we went for it. Up and into the blizzard. Spectacle and contact wearers had an advantage as the ice scoured the eyeballs. Huddled on a hillside a very fine smokey whisky from Oban warmed us as we sheltered as best we could in the lee. The next was a recommendation from Willie; an unusually thick Pedro Ximenez sherry cask finished whisky. Oz was very taken by this one, and demanded a photo of its colour in the cup. The coup de grace was administered by a full on 46% Bunnahabhain; a fine finish and a fitting toast to Andy Millard, co-founder of the run. We were glad to get off the hill and back to the Steading for food. Thanks to Oz for another inspired outing. Same again next year (but with sunshine)!
Whisky Chaser Ode
We gathered together in the warm Steading bar,
Drank coffee and beers, spied the menu from afar.
Off we trotted into gloom and dreich weather,
Good whisky was forecast, and no doubt some blether.
Boghall trails boggy, Woodhouslee climbing,
Two bottles down and Castlelaw looming.
The spindrift coated the deep muddy peat
So we cuddled together in the leeside to preserve our heat.
Allermuir, Caerketton and a toast with an Islay
Andy Millard remembered for the 5th bottle finale.
Down through the snow and a meal in the Steading,
Beer and more whisky, and for some – apple crumble pudding.
The 17 Wards Ultra run, the 4th in this year’s series, was completed today by Jonny Muir (well, it was his idea).
12 started at 0830 down the A70 at Little Vantage and enjoyed wet feet from the start along Thieves Road. East Cairn Hill and Allermuir and lots of bog got us to Juniper Green and 16 miles done. A few dropped out leaving 8. We Headed for The Southside Hills and I bailed near home, then Jeff Roberts bailed leaving half the starters. Lucas Lefevre and Alan Hogg called it quits some time later and by the Royal Mile, or the 36th Mile, all but Jonny was prepared to continue when Michelle Hetherington and Mick James called it a day also. I drove into town with food and drinks to help refuel Jonny, and Rachael Normand came out also and we saw Jonny off with a half marathon to do. The rest of us drove to a pub with parking, then Rachael cycled to catch Jonny with a head torch, smile and a rucsac of moral support.
Jonny managed the full route that ended up being 49 miles and 11.5 hrs of running. A great achievement for him and the rest of us who had a go. Nice route in parts and certainly novel.
More pics from Michelle and Nadine…
An (almost) perfect night of running conditions, save for some remnants of snow, saw 11 runners depart from Linlithgow Railway Station on the vernal equinox. Phil Young marshaled us admirably and his decision to avoid Cairnpapple (too many, er, tourists) and head onto Cockleroy and then Witchcraig was the right one, as it formed a much more interesting run IMHO. We stopped midway to order food and the kitchen at the Star & Garter sharpened our focus (away from the running booze) to get ourselves back there for 9pm, else the food was a goner.
All in all, a fine, pacey run and a good pre-food workout. Next year, new Druidic locations will be sought. Suggestions welcome!
Route here: https://www.strava.com/activities/1463674292
Taking part in the Carnethy Vernal Equinox has given me hope that now Spring has arrived we may finally get to experience a bit of sunshine and warmth. Thank you Phil for guiding us so expertly round an intricate route in the dark and giving us the special opportunity to be outside for this astronomical event that celebrates new life in nature.
Well that was a fun way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day!
Nine of us started on a surprisingly snowy Calton Hill setting off in search of stout. It must have been a big one in Finnegan’s Wake the night before as they hadn’t reopened (nothing to do with my organisation skills, honest) but thankfully Ensign Ewart had and the first round of half pints of Guinness were ordered. From there it was a short jog to the castle and down the road to Malones, picking up Alice on the way (Alloa half marathon had been cancelled). Malones is definitely quite a change from Diane’s Pool Hall that was there formerly and nobody was offered drugs or chased out with a pool cue. They even sorted us all out with Guinness hats to wear for the rest of the run. These certainly drew attention and there were plenty of toots and waves from passing cars for the rest of the afternoon.
Corstorphine was next, then a different route from the race across to Luckies at Balgreen. I’d reccied this during the week to see if it was better than The Pub, which is less of a detour, but a pretty terrible pub from my memory of 7 Hills 7 Beers. After another half of Guinness here we were back on the road towards Craiglockhart. The steep route up through the trees – that I’d skied down 2 weeks previously – was tricky with a couple of inches of snow on it, especially for those who had opted for trail/road shoes, but we all made it up and across to the Buckstone. Well Google might suggest the Buckstone is open again but it’s not. Thankfully we could still get a round of Guinness in the Braid Hills Hotel and be on our way, leaving some bemused guests to their Sunday afternoon. There was still a cold stiff breeze so we didn’t hang around for long on the summit after the obligatory photo, and made our way down to The Hermitage in Morningside. Here I handed round some Irish Fifteens (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/fifteens) to give us a boost for the next hill. Highly recommend making some if you’ve never tried them before, and there are plenty of tasty variations you can make to the classic recipe.
After this stop Mike and Neil headed home and 8 of us continued on to Blackford and then Leslie’s for our 6th half of Guinness. We avoided the temptation to sit by the fire (sorry Gio) and got on the go again before muscles started tightening up too much. It was a fun climb up Arthur’s Seat with the snow making rocky section a little treacherous. We didn’t hang around to enjoy the view for long and picked our way down to the Dry Damn and stayed high on the windswept ridge. On the way down here we met Tom from http://www.weephotos.co.uk/ who I’d spoken to on Allermuir while skiing the week before. He kindly agreed (was bullied) to take our photo and gave as good as he got from Mark… https://www.facebook.com/Weephotos.co.uk/ Our final half in the Kilderkin was Murphy’s and required our Guinness hats to be temporarily removed. All that was left to do after this was make our way back up to Calton Hill, pose for a photo, and retire to Salt Horse for burgers, and maybe a beer other than stout.
Thanks to those who came out for all or part of it. Chris, Fraser, Ken, Lucus and myself completed the route with a half in each pub. Alice should probably get an honorary mention for going via the castle on her way home to complete the challenge, and Mark had run a marathon in total by the time he got home with only a couple of Stouts missed.
Sixteen Carnethys turned out for various stages on the run. Four joined along the way, Digby and Nicola Dunn made use of a shortcut option, and others left early to meet commitments having done their fill. This makes for a great way of running with always someone new to chat to. The pace was relaxed and the café in Walkerburn excellent. Cool bright clear weather showed winter isn’t over, but spring is on the way and clumps of snow drops here and there confirming that we were the lucky ones.
I suffered and slogged away at the back, then cut my run short after 27+ miles with the prospect of a lift home. Well done to Pete Buchanan, Lucas Lefevre, Graham Nash, Andy Howett, Auren Clark, Aisling Ailing and Alan Hogg who did the whole route of around 30 miles, with others doing at least 14 miles. Everyone who wanted to get to see the rugby did, and I think everyone got home from Galashiels.
For those of you thinking an Ultra run (>26.2 miles) like this is beyond you, get this out of your heads. Come along and see where you get to, you might be surprised, and yes, you can do it. The pace accommodates everyone there. Thanks to Pete B for the route plan and to all those who enjoyed the stunning Borders.
Pete Buchanan’s write up here
Shorter circuit from Yair with short cut:
As good a day as I’ve ever seen in the Borders. Lovely sunshine, crisp and cold. Mature pine woods (see them now, the chainsaws are advancing), great views from the ridge. A splendid 21 miles starting in Yair, and after visiting the café in Walkerburn, Nicola and I took a shorter route directly up the valley to meet the Southern Upland Way at the top (on our shortcut a prominent forest track marked on the map must have been marked 30 years ago, and it snagged and tripped us as we beat our way up feeling intrepid), pausing to snack in the sunshine and see if the fasties, on a longer route, would appear. Which they didn’t. So we set off slowly. They soon arrived and we were together again until returning to Yair, where various permutations either carried on back to Galashiels, bailed, or got into cars.
Those who started and finished in Galashiels did the true Ultra distance, some did a marathon distance, and I was well pleased to do the 21 miles. The Yair loop with the short cut is shown in yellow on the map. The short cut took 2 miles off the distance (measured from the Café).
We must do this again! (on a sunny day of course)
7pm sharp saw 18 runners and 1 cyclist assemble at Morningside Railway Station for the inaugural Carnethy ‘Train in Vain’ run to be lead by Mike. A unique chance to visit 8 Edinburgh stations, over a distance of 9.6 miles, with some history thrown in as a bonus. The intricate route took us from Morningside, Blackford, Merchiston, Dalry, Murrayfield, Balgreen, Gorgie, Slateford and back to The Waiting Room.
The evening provided a fantastic opportunity to gain some local railway history and have sights of interest pointed out to us. Mike had done his homework! Fortunately there was no test at the end, although I fear Jim might have been bottom of the class as he was intent on sabotaging our powers of concentration by supplying buckfast at every station.
I apologise for the poor quality of my photos but I set my tiny camera to ‘intelligent auto’ and the illumination from Mike’s ‘mother of all’ head torches seemed to confuse it. The camera wasn’t sure if it was night or day, whether to flash or not!
Thank you Mike for a great and informative night out. Next year perhaps Micheal Portillo might like to join us? He would certainly learn something but could he keep up with the pace? Doubtful.
20 odd of us (and Nick on a bike) gathered at Morningside Railway Station last night for a run of just under 10 miles around some of Edinburgh’s abandoned railway stations.
At one time, there were 50 stations within the City boundary (can you believe it?) and over the past weeks I’ve been trotting round most of them (thanks for the company Neil and Peter!) to see what would make a decent (and hopefully interesting) midweek route and settled on the following: Morningside, Blackford Hill, Merchiston, Murrayfield, Pinkhill, Balgreen Halt, Gorgie East and Craiglockhart.
We kept the pace reasonable, in order to get back to The Waiting Room for last food orders, with stops at each station (with some Buckfast thrown in for its warming and reviving properties). Route here: https://www.strava.com/activities/1419583151 or Googlemap with links to stations on old railways site.
About the stations...
Morningside Road Railway Station
It was opened by the Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway (ESSJR) on 1 December 1884 as Morningside Station. After the ESSJR was incorporated into the North British Railway on 1 March 1885, the station was renamed Morningside Road in October 1886. It closed on 10th September 1962, when passenger rail services were withdrawn from the Edinburgh Suburban line as part of the British Railways rationalisation programme known as the Beeching Axe, although the line itself was retained for rail freight use. The route continues to be used for freight services to this day, and occasionally diverted passenger trains also pass through Morningside. The repurposed station building serves as a branch of the Bank of Scotland.
Blackford Hill Railway Station
Was opened on 1 December 1884 and closed on 10th September 1962, when passenger rail services were withdrawn from the Edinburgh Suburban line although the line itself was retained for rail freight use. The route continues to be used for freight services to this day, so freight trains avoid Edinburgh’s main stations of Edinburgh Waverley and Haymarket, and occasionally diverted passenger trains also pass along this line. This station was on the inner circle. The inner circle line ran anti-clockwise; the outer circle, beside it, ran clockwise from Waverley station and through the southern suburbs. The next circular stops after here were Newington, Duddingston & Craigmillar, Portobello, Piershill and Abbeyhill. A local advocacy group, the Capital Rail Action Group (CRAG), ran a campaign for the SSJR line to be re-opened to passenger services, and proposes that it should be operated either as a commuter rail service or as a light rail system to form an extension of the Edinburgh Tram Network. Following a petition submitted to the Scottish Parliament in 2007, the proposal was rejected in 2009 by transport planners due to anticipated cost.
Merchiston Railway Station
This station was built by the Caledonian Railway between 1879 and 1883, with the last passenger service on 6th September 1965. The station was demolished shortly afterwards and the track bed has become a footpath. The station was constructed with two platforms and a small overhead footbridge, at the bottom of what was then Bonaly Place (since renamed Harrison Place). Although a small suburban station, it had very long platforms to match the trains stopping here; reaching from Harrison Road to Shandon Place. After closure the first part of the old line from Princes Street Station became the Western Approach Road, built in the 1970s. The part of the track occupying the former station at Merchiston is now a footpath, extending to a service road leading west to Slateford Yards. Merchiston was the only station on the line between the Caledonian Railway’s Princes Street Station (at the West End of Princes Street) and Slateford about two miles to the SW. This line carried trains from Princes Street Station to Glasgow via Shotts, Lanark and Carlisle and the south.
Murrayfield Railway Station
This intermediate station on the Caledonian Railway’s route around West and North Edinburgh (from Slateford Junction to Granton, Newhaven and Leith) was opened by that company on 1 September 1879. It closed to regular passenger traffic on 1 October 1951, and closed for good on 30th April 1962. At the time, it was the nearest station to Murrayfield Rugby Stadium.
Pinkhill Railway Station
Pinkhill served Edinburgh Zoo and was the last stop on the line from Edinburgh Waverley to Corstorphine. The Corstorphine branch (at that time handling the journey to Waverley in just over 11 minutes) closed to passengers at the end of 1967. The platforms at Pinkhill closed January 1968.
Balgreen Halt Railway Station
A halt, in railway parlance, is a small station, usually unstaffed or with very few staff, and with few or no facilities. In some cases, trains stop only on request, when passengers on the platform indicate that they wish to board, or passengers on the train inform the crew that they wish to alight. The station was opened by the London and North Eastern Railway in 1934. The line passed on to the Scottish Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948, to be then closed by the British Railways Board. The stationmaster’s house remains standing, in the site which has been landscaped as part of a garden. Balgreen tram stop is now adjacent to where the railway station stood.
Gorgie East Railway Station
This was named Gorgie Station until 1952, and was opened on 1 December 1884 and served the closed in 1962, when passenger rail services were withdrawn from the Edinburgh Suburban line. There is now no trace of the station but the route continues to be used for freight services to this day.
Craiglockhart Railway Station
It was opened by the Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway (ESSJR) on 1 December 1884. The station closed in 1962, when passenger rail services were withdrawn from the Edinburgh Suburban line although the line itself was retained for rail freight use. Craiglockhart station was built for the North British Railway in 1887. Except for a short period, 1917-19, at the end of World War I, the station remained open to passengers until 1962.
I’d have liked to spend a little longer on the top of Mount Maw, the first hill of the Baddinsgill Round, taking in the crystal clear views of the stars, moon, distant red lit towers, sky glow from Edinburgh, far off sparkling lights on this remote feeling spot, but everyone shot off back down the squelchy hill to get back in time for a cosy feast at the Gordon Arms Hotel.
Sparkling night! We might have been OK at West Linton for the scheduled night run but this was a fine substitute. The crystal clear air showed off the lights of Edinburgh and Penicuik to the best, with wreaths of cloud here and there, the forerunners of the promised snow.
So I had my pie chips and onion rings at 6pm, (The Steading food was not available for after the run) so I was well fuelled as I prepared for the run. Moira turned up to give me a lift so pints after were on too. The Steading porch became the meeting point but with 27 or so we were causing a bit of a traffic jam.
The fast socials headed off for a clockwise climb of Caerketton and us slowcials ran up towards the ski slope. Passing below the slope I put on my Kahtoola micro spikes for the first time this season. After a regroup above the T-Wood, Nicola and Jonny went their own way and the other ten of us ascended Allermuir meeting the Socials just before the last climb. We had 27 Carnethies on Allermuir as we admired the view.
As the socials headed west the rest headed east following the ridge toward home, then we had our own Caerketton Downhill Race. We took roughly 5 times the record to do the descent, but what a night to be out.
After a pint the Socials appeared, and a second pint was ordered, A perfect night.
Tonight me and my mum split from the pack and just had fun by the form of snowballs, snow angles bum sliding and getting stuck in a snowdrift. We went 3 miles in total only .7 miles behind the slow group. Our run was for fun not just for the sake of running. Hope to do another one if it snows again🤞!!
What better way to spend Hogmanay than getting blown off the tops of Caerketton and Allermuir? Mike rallied us along and the dogs faired best with four paws to cling on against the gale force winds of Storm Dylan that hit us head on. With stops for mince pies and eggnog we continued our way over Capelaw, down the Scalextric track, over Torduff and up to the mast then down to Water of Leith via Poet’s Glen. We adjourned to the dog friendly Kinleith Arms for a quick drink and after wishing each other Happy New Year we still had time for a quick world record attempt getting six Carnethies and two dogs into a Mercedes A class. Good job Mark fitted into the boot! Thank you Mike for a great festive day out.
One of those days where you think the photos you’re taking are genius, only to be undeceived when you get home…
The met office forecast for lovely sunshine after showers didn’t quite happen but it was a splendid day out regardless. The first time we’ve been round the back of Mavisbank House, revealing more desperate ruination of a once beautiful building. What a shame.
The going was an odd mix of wet, mud and melting slick ice, precipitating Nick the lone cyclist to the ground on more than one occasion. The bacon roll stop in Penicuik was as welcome as usual and set us up for the more remote part of the run with lovely views over to the Pentlands. Penicuik sees some runners stopping and other appearing. Joel’s dog Merlin appeared, magically. We were a bit worried about the fasties but they had sped straight to the bar and rather slowly appeared clutching pints to nab the remaining rolls. Shane and Laura visited with new baby (nice pic by Alan below). I think everyone had a go with it as it processed around the tables – laid out unusually neatly this year, as for a wedding. A ring was even found on the floor, though no-one seemed to have lost it, and no-one was inclined to marry just at that moment.
Habbie’s Howe is the last part before Carlops where the river runs through a beautiful glen. My favourite part of the route. If only we could find a good way after this. The landowner is not at all keen for anyone to be on his land and makes it obvious with electric fences barring the path. They’ll shout at you too if they get the chance. Nevertheless we got to the cosy Allan Ramsay, with a very tasty IPA and an eccentric food system.
I enjoyed it all!
This year I ran down to Lasswade to join The Eskapade, two miles away from where I live. Willie’s ETA was 10.30am and sure enough, right on schedule, it was a sight to behold as Carnethys piled over the high stone wall there and shimmied down a sign post.
I love running most when it’s not a race but a sociable trot, and with lots of intermissions for local history and geology lessons, the miles flew by as Willie led us alongside Midlothian’s beautiful Esk.
A huge supply of bacon rolls at Penicuik were met with enthusiasm. Some of the speedier Carnethys, with a later starting time from Musselburgh, joined the party at this point, plus Merlin – Joel’s dog.
I opted to run back to Loanhead whilst most ran on to Carlops. A great few hours out at this hectic time of the year. Perfect!
Alan’s photos –
The fasties report:
The ‘long lie’ group set of from Musselburgh just before 10am in pursuit of the main group. This year, thanks to Graham’s laminated map, we managed to avoid a detour up the South Esk. Shortly after Polton we did make a deliberate detour to Stewart’s Brewery to take advantage of their Christmas open day. Samples of their festive brew Fezziwig and mince pies all round! Some of us also fuelled up on steak pies made with one of their ales. Those that hadn’t been to Stewart’s before got a quick tour while myself and Graham discussed First World Problems. Then it was back to the Esk, through Roslin Glen and up to Penicuik to finish off the bacon rolls. At this point I chose to bail and get a lift to Carlops (thanks John) as my legs were suffering after an Ultimate Frisbee tournament the day before, and 18 miles.
A most enjoyable run on tracks probably new to a lot of people, on a lovely crisp cold evening. Send us your report!
From Margaret...This run is part of my stamping ground, so it was nice to know where I was going on a Carnethy night run for a change. We ran from the disused RBS at Juniper Green down to the Water of Leith and over to Woodhall Farm. If you’re here in daylight, look out for the recently rebuilt dry-stane dykes around the farm. We followed the Edinburgh Circo route (now a clear, broad track instead of a burn) up to Tiphereth where we found another new path up to the old Torphin Hill golf course. From there we continued to Torduff Reservoir, across the dam, up the hill and then over to Clubbiedean Reservoir and on to Kinleith. We ran down the Poets’ Glen (another place worth visiting in daylight) and from there to Blinkbonny. Here there was a little discussion about alternative routes: 5 minutes back to Al Borge (and food!) or a “small” extension to the run. We chose the extension, of course and this is where I lost the route. Basically, we were running forever in a westerly direction, along a farm track which was new to me, and then we rejoined the Water of Leith and ran east to Juniper Green. It was a perfect night for a run. Many thanks for Euan for organising.
Alan Hogg’s pics –
On Monday night seven Carnethy Ladies ran from Philippa’s house in Morningside over to the Craiglockhart Hills via the old railway footbridge and Balcarres Street. We almost got stuck in deep, muddy excavations on the side of Easter Craiglockhart Hill, but managed to dig ourselves out and get to the summit. On the way down we saw a head torch approaching up the hill and later found out this was Bill, who was taking a slightly shorter route. After the second hill, we ran through woods and along tracks to the old City Hospital grounds (now an upmarket residential area). Back at Philippa’s we met up again with Bill and enjoyed delicious soup, bread and cake.
The met office map full of sunny suns proved less than true and it started to snow as we hunkered down by one of the engines. Willie had bought along a 12 person bivvie bag so we enveloped ourselves in that for lunch. We considered completing the run as a large orange centipede we were so cold. My hands went completely numb. But as we set off again the sun came out and we thawed. Read a fuller account in the journal! Oh and the pointy hill we couldn’t identify was Ben Lomond!
|When you are out round halloween
strange ghoulish runners can be seen
So watch for ghosts in every Neuk
Especially round Penicuik
We all gathered after dark
Into the woods all in the gloom
Then quickly off across the grass
|Then past the stable the Moon shone bright
The Ruined house came into sight
118 years ago
This massive house was all aglow
Destroyed by Fire it’s now a shell
toward the gate we all then hurried
We cossed the Esk above the weir
|In fear we dashed along the track
with out a thought of looking back
The bravest three of us were sent
To scale the Ramsay Monument
We headed on towards the gate
And then enthused, the group departed
Pubs and chips, it is the run that has everything! Well, assuming that your life revolves around eating and drinking. A swift pint in KB, then off over Blackford Hill to the Merlin, then Bennetts (with chips), then Waiting Room (or whatever it’s called now), then a long slog to the finest alfresco pub in all Edinburgh – Le Oz. Situated on a summit of the Braids, Le Oz serves the finest Pimms in all Edinburgh! Perfect for a summer’s evening! A flying run down to The Stables completed the official festivities for the evening, partly because the usual final pub has been replaced by student flats (booo!). Throughout the evening the rain threatened, and fell, but generally the run was dry and full of cheer. After the Stables Bar the social drinkers to disengaged from the serious drinkers, and headed home with a spring in their step and a fuzzy warmth to their thinking. The serious drinkers took a leisurely run to Leslies, for the usual post-Pub n Chips pint(s) of beer, and then some more, and then finally home without any memory of how they got there. Three cheers for beer (and chips)! And people! Hurrah! Many thanks to Oz!
Where was everyone? Just two of us turned up for the start of the Trossachs journey run. Alan and I set off up through the woods and into Glen Finglas. Although the weather forecast had been bad we had little rain throughout the day. We left the Glen Finglas reservoir and headed up the hill track into Gleann Casaig. On the far side of the valley we could see another track leading up to a small hydro dam higher up the valley. Near the dam we spent some time looking at a tiny dam on our side of the valley, up the hillside from the track. It was only a few feet wide and seemed to catch a small trickle from an area of boggy ground above. We couldn’t work out what it was for.
Near the top of the valley we came into the thick mist that hung over all the hill tops. When we reached the ridge between Ben Vane and Ben Ledi, Alan said he wanted to test an electronic gizmo. He wandered round in the mist holding a small box with an aerial above his head. Actually, I think he was trying to contact ET – didn’t work though, just made the rain come down heavier. We were very glad of the line of rusty fence posts that guided us along the ridge to Ben Ledi. When we couldn’t see more than 50 yards ahead the ground looked disturbingly lumpy and disorientating. When we eventually reached the summit it was surprisingly calm and mild so we sat on a grassy knoll for lunch.
We continued down the tourist path for a while, occasionally meeting walkers looming up out of the mist. We left the path part way down and with a combination of compass bearings & lie of the land we stravaiged our way down the hillside. Soon we came below the cloud base and could see our objective of a gate in a deer fence. This led to a path through a deciduous woodland plantation and out though another gate at the bottom. It was much easier than the climbing of deer fences I had to do during the recce. We were now on The Great Trossach Path which took us on a lovely high path overlooking Loch Venacher, all the way back to the car park. If we had gone a few days earlier, this is what it would have looked like. On the very last bit, just before the car park, the ground was totally blue – covered with a carpet of bluebells.
Short version – where the hell were you? Numbers were low this year, possibly due to Stuc, with just a dozen of us venturing out from The Steading. Even stalwarts like Nick, Gordon and Shane were missing.
More fool them. Personally, I think Oz excelled himself this year, with a set of ridiculously good malt whiskies and the finest weather ever experienced on a Chaser. Even better, despite multiple drams at each stop (for those that wanted them), there was still enough left to auction off at the end, for the benefit of the Friends of the Pentlands. I shall enjoy the remains of the Kilchoman all the more for knowing I outbid The President for it. Thanks Oz!
For the full story – read on.
|Mackmyra Brukswhisky – A Swedish Single Malt. Who knew?
Where : Above Boghall
Oz’s Notes : Nose – butterscotch, citrus, pear, liquorice, banana and mint. Taste – delicate spiciness with toffee, anise, ginger and sweet almond. Finish – vanilla and marzipan, with a hint of play dough.
Joel’s Notes : Nice, definitely worth a second helping
|Glenfiddich IPA – Mmmm, beer
Where : Sheltered slopes of Woodhouselee Hill
Oz’s Notes : Nose – green apple, spring blossom, some herbs and just a hint of aromatic hops. Taste – vibrant, with rich vanilla and zesty citrus flavours. Finish – enduring sweetness with an echo of green hops.
Joel’s Notes : not your typical Glenfiddich. Good enough to take a top up
|Ben Nevis 10 yr old – made from melt water from Coire Leis, Coire na Ciste and the CIC hut outflow.
Where : Castlelaw, with a glorious view the length of the Pentlands
Oz’s Notes : Nose – malt and nut (almond?) notes with some dried fruit and the faintest hint of coffee. Taste – rich and chewy with some caramel sweetness, honey and dark chocolate. Finish – fairly long, rich and sweet.
Joel’s Notes : Better than the miniature you get after the Ben race. Had a splash more for good forms sake
|Kilchoman Sanaig – sherried peaty smoke, smoky peat, with extra sherried peat and smoke
Where : The heathery slopes of Allermuir.
Oz’s Notes : peat, smoke and some soft cooked fruits with caramel and vanilla. Palate – toffee, peat smoke and citrus with a lingering sweetness. Finish – well balanced peat smoke fruit and more sweetness.
Joel’s Notes : Oh wow. When is the auction?
|Longrow – to be honest, it was all getting a bit much by now.
Where : Hillend Fort.
Oz’s Notes : Nose – very creamy, then the smoke develops gradually, followed by aromas of toasted marshmallows. Taste – rich and creamy with a fruitiness and herb note. Finish – long with waves of smoke and a little dash of iodine.
Joel’s Notes : Pretty good. But not as good as the Kilchoman.
|The aftermath – A bidding war for the Kilchoman has almost destroyed a great friendship between myself and Willie. I’ll need to make recompense, probably by letting Willie loose on it.|
Fiona and Geo’s Photos
It turns out Willie doesn’t think any one of these is an adequate reason to avoid dipping a toe into mountain marathoning.
Edinample was a great introduction into what is involved for a novice like me. In actual fact, it isn’t 26.2miles and Willie has a selection of spare tents.
The location was great (see picture of view from camp site), the company was lovely, the hills were spectacular and the lack of washing facilities liberating!
I would definitely recommend any worried novices like me give an event like this a go.
Thank you to all who put so much into making it a success- from Andy from marking the course, to Willie patiently trying to teach me to navigate, to Helen for lending me warm blankets.
I admit my navigational skills leave a lot to be desired, my fitness level could be better, and my limited camping equipment has seen better days; but after a bath and an uninterrupted 10.5 hour recovery sleep last night, I feel quite positive that I could be back to try again….
The routes taken by most people are below, uncharged watches aside, Ross Christie got most points both days with a fantastic 360 Day 1 and 270 Day 2. Alasdair Hood and Gordon Eadie won the oldies award with Alasdair celebrating his 59th birthday on Saturday with 220? points and 120 on a escape early day 2. Helen Wise was out on her own day 1 (230 Points) and with Fraser Day 2 (170 Points). Willie, Patricia and Tracey had a good Day 1 (120) and were joined by Jason Coombs for day 2 (110). Joel was out day 2 (180 points) , Cali and Bob got the OAP prize Day 2, and Jeff and Helen did Day 1 on Day 2. All in All a great weekend.
Ross Christie’s Report
With the LAMM fast approaching I needed to practice my navigating skills as well as spending a good amount of time on pathless, open hillside and carrying my pack. The Carnethy weekend at Edinample came along just at the right time, one month before the LAMM and on a rare free weekend. I set off at Midday on Saturday from the campsite with the intention of hitting as many controls as possible – in the end I think I hit all but 3 or 4 and totalled 360 points. The shorter navigational runs I’ve done over the past few weeks really helped! There were some great hidden spots on the route, particularly Lochan A Chroin below Stuc and Lochan Na Mna which I’ve often admired from the summit of Ben Vorlich.
A night around the campfire with plenty of beer and whisky was a great way recover but maybe not the best preparation for day 2!
The second day controls were dotted around to the west of Lochearnhead around Glen Kendrum and Glen Ogle. Again this was a great way of seeing some less visited hills and the ridge North West from Meall an t-Seallaidh was particularly dramatic. I managed to collect 270 points with some higher scoring controls tucked away in some farther flung locations.
I’d highly recommend a weekend like this for people looking to get a taster of mountain marathons as there are plenty of experienced people to show you the ropes but it’s also a great way for experienced mountain marathoners to sharpen navigational skills and explore new places.
Thanks to Willie for organising and Win for the excellent campsite.
We should do more of these!