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.
Many informal runs, swims etc. appear on the ‘secret’ Facebook group page which membership gives you access to. An incentive to join!
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.
The forecast on Wednesday was particularly wanting
Neil, Mike and I hit torrential rain in a gloomy West Linton
The pub looked attractive, passing it a frustration
A muddy wet carpark was our real destination
22 Carnethys ran off into the stormy fright
Ross’s idea to entertain us tonight
Another joined us and but in the windy gloom
You couldn’t be sure who had joined, there was no moon
23 now headed further into the night
Baddinsgill reservoir, invisible to the right
Hopping puddles and burns, the wind rose with anger
Gordon sped along, being dragged by Amber
We regrouped higher-up, near Ravendean Burn
Willie stumbled over while catching us alone
My headtorch batteries died but thanks to Paul
Set off up West Cairn Hill with white light into the squall
Up on the summit, searching for a windless abode
A decision to split sent 7 back down Thieves Road
The rest headed across bog, looking for Wolf Crag
A strung out line could have become a snag
Resetting the pace, we headed up Byrehope Mount
The rain eased off for the first time by my count
In the lee of some rocks we gathered and huddled
Some might have preferred to just be cuddled
The final grassy descent to Baddingill Farm
Took us out of the storm’s fury and risk of harm
Food at West Linton was welcome and fun
A splendid end to the Baddingsgill night run
A motley crew of 32 & Amber turned out for the Halloween run, the first Night Run of the year, looking like ghouls, witches and the living dead. Others opted for fancy dress. From Hillend, we contoured around to Boghall, passing some headstones along the way. Lights out in the souterrain at Castlelaw highlighted just how much we fluoresced. On a clear night, the fort also proved a great vantage point for the pyrotechnics of Penicuik. Similarly, fireworks across the Forth were enjoyed from Allermuir, before a hasty return to the Steading for a headcount (still 32 & Amber), food, banter and the opportunity to find out who had been running.
Well done Mike for pulling together a last minute Equinox run. With little notice a quorum was achieved and a small band got the bus out to Carlops for a quick one in the Alan Ramsay. The forecast wasn’t great but in the event, apart from a rather brisk and chilly wind, it was spectacularly good with clear air and boundless views. In the great tradition of drink fuelled Carnethy runs we quaffed ales in the bars, and for novelty value on the hill Mike’s M&S G&Tea with gold flakes. A strange drink. My home made blackberry liqueur, which was actually pretty good but in too short supply, and Jeff’s remarkable meadowsweet infused whisky. Karin’s ricotta and spinach pies were excellent and we had cakey substances in abundance. Sparky had a stick. Oh well, if you are a dog, you don’t really know what you are missing. And he enjoyed it as much as we did ours. Around 13 miles, and with a small group quite fast, finishing in daylight at the Steading for food.
With several Carnethies signed up for the Tiree Ultra in September we decided that a beach run would be good training and an opportunity to have a day out! Talk after Caerketton focussed on the weekend weather forecast which couldn’t seem to make its mind up. However, our fears were unfounded and Saturday dawned bright and clear. In fact it would almost be too hot at times.
13 Carnethies (or should I say 11 plus 2 possible new recruits) set off from Longniddry Train station at 9am. To avoid the dreaded tarmac we nipped through Gosford Estate and headed for the coast. We were now on the official John Muir Way but we would soon join Keith Burns alternative route as we headed across the footbridge to enchantment and into Aberlady Bay nature reserve. Billy adopted Willie’s mantle and took us on a detour to some wrecked WW2 submarines for our history lesson of the day!
Gullane beach now beckoned, some headed over the rocks clinging to the coast while others followed the rollercoaster path above, their reward being a helter skelter descent down the sand dunes. By now we were feeling peckish so the first detour of the day led us inland to Archerfield and the Walled Garden. Bacon rolls were on everyone’s mind but typically Scottish customer service of the Morningside variety met us (as in “you’ll have had your tea”!) Breakfast was no longer being served. We could have coffee and cake or buy something from the deli. Luckily the deli staff had attended customer service training!
Suitably refuelled (Jeff managed his first beer of the day), the next stop was Yelllowcraigs via the Fairy Trail. A further detour via the children’s play park (think Craigmillar has a rival here) and we hit the beach just in time to see the dolphins frolicking in the sea!
North Berwick and the Law were now in sight. We hadn’t scheduled a stop here but Fringe by the Sea was in full swing and it would have been rude not to have a look, especially when we spotted the Curious Brewing tent! A swift half (or more in some cases) and we were off. Chris left us here – probably a wise move as we had now covered 16 miles and none of us realised we would end up doing the same again!
Past the paddling pool and along the East Beach we soon left North Berwick behind, our minds now firmly fixed on Canty Bay and the new Drift Cafe. It had been a long time since we’d eaten! The cake and the views were worth the scramble up to the road plus the dolphins made a reappearance.
There was to be no storming of Tantallon Castle today but luckily the combines had been out which made our descent to Seacliff easier. The tide was well in now so yet another detour up though the farm was necessary before we could rejoin the beach at Ravensheughs. Here was our biggest obstacle of the day. Crossing the Peffer Burn is usually a knee deep affair but as Michelle started to wade through she started to slowly disappear! Even Lucas was waist deep! Just as well it was warm.
Dunbar looked to be in touching distance but first we had to follow the secret trail through Little Binning Wood and then the Tyne stood before us. None of us were willing to swim (sorry Mark!) so it was time to detour again though a field of cows and across the condemned bridge. All safely over, the mileage was beginning to tell on some (it would be the furthest 3 or 4 of the group had ever run). So three made their way to Fox Lake and who do we meet now but Keith on his mountain bike saying what are you lot doing out here? Did I not get an email?
The remaining 9 soldiered on, into John Muir Country Park, a quick wave to the llamas at East Links and on to Belhaven. Time and tired legs now won the day and we headed up the Back Road past Winterfield Golf Club and to our waiting cars at the swimming pool!
An epic day – 31.6 miles according to my strava – great weather and good company. Got to love these Carnethy social runs 😊
Well that was a fun afternoon outing! Two of my favourite things in fact, beer and running. We met at Cross Borders Brewery around 2pm and sampled some of their beers before setting off towards Stewart’s Brewery for another beer. The next leg is the longest and justifies it as a hill run by going over Caerketton from Boghall. From there we dropped down to Swanston, through Braidburn, round Blackford, and onwards to Summerhall.
Luckily timing worked out and we got a great wee tour of Barney’s. From there we crossed the Meadows to Hanging Bat, but unfortunately they’d sold out of the one beer that was brewed onsite so technically it wasn’t really a taproom… Anyway, on down the Water of Leith to Campervan Brewery trying to outrun the rain that had remarkably missed us thus far (apart from my run to the bus stop at the start). We got slightly damp but maybe that was a blessing for the other patrons as it may have washed off a little sweat.
More beers, and pizza from East Pizzas followed.
On Saturday 30th June I led a new route that I’d titled A Carnethy Crusade due to tenuous links to Knights of Templar (we passed through Temple). Crusading must be like baking as 13 started out and a dozen made it to Cross Borders Brewery after losing one to the heat. It really was quite warm out on Saturday as you may have noticed! However, that just made the first beer taste even nicer when we eventually arrived after 34km (2km further than advertised, not that anyone brought this up during the final mile). The route starts by going up Dundreich before dropping down to the source of the River South Esk, which is then followed all the way to Eskbank, round reservoirs, across fields, through woodland, and along a few tracks and quiet roads.
Watch out for part 2, The Taproom Special, that will start from Cross Borders and finish at Campervan in Leith… another 30km or so.
Mike’s pics –
Roughly 40 Carnethies descended on Roslin for the ReTired persons Tour.
With Moat View filled with cars, and bikes secured to the wheely bins we headed down the cycle track and across the fields to Langhill dip. This is the start of the Bluebell Wood, well worth a visit especially in late May.
A turn left at the end led us to Dryden Tower.
“Initially intended as a hilltop eye-catcher for Dryden House, demolished in 1938, and is still a prominent landmark. It originally belonged to a wider landscape known locally as ‘The Pleasure’ which was destroyed by the construction of Bilston Glen colliery. It was perhaps built to commemorate the Battle of Roslin, 24th February, 1303, when the Scots successfully defeated three English Divisions.”
Then we descended into the Bilston Burn Glen, a SSSI!
The river runs down a pretty Glen before disappearing underground where Bilston Glen Colliery used to be.
We ran round the Blank OS Map. I reckon when is was surveyed the fields were still being reinstated, so there is no OS info on the Map.
Running along the field edge led us to the old Marshaling Yard for the railway that serviced the colliery, then we crossed the Bilton Viaduct.
The current bridge replaced one by Thomas Bouch of Tay Disaster Fame
“Authorised by an Act of 1870, the Edinburgh Loanhead & Roslin Railway first troubled the timetablers in 1874, becoming part of the North British empire three years later when an extension opened through Glencorse to the fringes of Penicuik.
Passenger services over the viaduct ended in 1933 but coal traffic to Roslin Colliery continued to pass over it until 1st June 1969.”
A run past the impressive, but little written of , Ice House at Mountmarle and a left turn took us to the Battle of Roslin Memorial, the very battle thet our own Carnethy 5 Race commemorates.
2 bottles of Cava almost got round everybody, and we toasted the English Defeat.
“The invaders’ progress was swift and it was only thanks to the efforts of Abernethy, the Cistercian prior of Mount Lothian (at Balantradoch, now the village of Temple), that the alarm was raised and a Scottish army assembled. A former Templar knight himself, Prior Abernethy sent monks on horseback to find the men who led the resistance at the time. Together they mustered an army of common people 8,000 strong at Biggar and set off to meet the invaders. Sir William Wallace appears to have refused to take command of the army, perhaps lacking confidence in his own ability to lead after the defeat at Falkirk. Sir John Comyn (a leading contender for the vacant throne of Scotland) was elected as overall commander and Sir Symon Fraser as leader of the army. The hastily-assembled forces then moved north via Carlops and by the evening of February 23rd had assembled in Bilston Wood, ready to strike.
Prior Abernethy’s local knowledge was put to good use as the Scots encircled the first contingent of the English army on an embankment of the River Esk in the early hours of February 24th. Segrave was among those captured for ransom. Most survivors who escaped into the woods of Roslin Glen were ambushed and slaughtered but a few managed to alert the second group, besieging Dalhousie Castle under the command of Sir Ralph de Confrey.
The English army immediately rode to face the Scots, now positioned in a defensive line across the summit of Langhill, the slope immediately to the west of the present-day Roslin BioCentre. Charging up the hill, they were picked off by Scottish archers and driven back across the field towards a ravine. The slaughter was such that the area became known as “Shinbanes Field”, five cartloads of bones being removed by farmworkers for reburial as late as the 19th century. The quiet little stream at the foot of the hill that ran red with blood is still known as the Killburn, the forest as Hewan (“Hewing”) Wood and a ridge where huge numbers of bodies piled up and were left to rot as “Stinkin’ Rig”. The English army was driven towards a precipice and slaughtered, Ralph de Confrey being among the dead.
This second battle had scarcely ended when news came of the arrival of the third contingent, prompting the murder of all English prisoners too low-born to be ransomed. Exhausted, the Scots army rested on high ground above the River Esk at Montmarle, where a monument to the battle was erected in 1994 (opposite Dryden farm, at the edge of what was the original site of The Roslin Insititute).
After winning two battles in the space of a few hours, the soldiers must have doubted their ability to prevail in a third but once again the ingenuity of Prior Abernethy saved the day. As the finale to a stirring speech he bade the tired soldiers look towards the Pentland Hills where a band of hard-working Cistercian monks under the prior’s instructions had erected a huge canvas saltire, a silver cross on a blue background shining in the late afternoon sun to inspire them to one last effort. Approaching along the valley from Borthwick Castle via Rosewell, the remaining English forces under Sir Richard Neville were defeated and the Battle of Rosslyn finally won.”
The headed across the Shinbanes Field and along Roslin Glen, where Fraser and I had installed steps across a fallen tree. With some taking the high road and some the low road, we all got to Rosslyn Castle more or less together.
A quick photo call and then a run round the chapel and we got back to the Pizza Frenzy at Moat View.
Cathi fired into action and soon the hungry runners were filled with food and wine.
Thanks to the extra food bringers, and to Cathi, Helen and Fraser for all their help.
After most people had left we had a few whiskies to Celebrate my imminent 60th Birthday.
Thanks to all that came along.
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.
For the record we had 23 starters for the AJMW 18, most filing elaborate but believable reasons for not going the full distance, even with bicycle assistance. The two features of this year’s outing were the planks scattered (we hear) the length of the North Sea coastline from a ship that shed its load (off Newcastle in a storm) and the perfect weather. The photos tell the story well. The Seabird Centre presented its usual timekeeping challenge with good coffee and bacon rolls. The tide was out, allowing a splinter group to take the boulder beach and tide-trap option around the Tantallon headlands. The rest of us traversed the top of the Gin Head cliffs and along the Castle moat to re-join the shore party at Seacliffe harbour. The low tide exposed vast swathes of sand and boulders for route choice to Ravensheugh and the bike pick up for the return half. Lunch at East Linton presented the usual conflict between feeding and timekeeping, with lunch and afternoon tea merging seamlessly. The River Tyne path was a riot of wild garlic and tree blossoms. On the ascent to the Garleton Hills Mike and Neil got confused by Mark H’s strictly runners-only option after leaving the river. They climbed to the Hopetoun monument by the hitherto unexplored Cogtail Burn valley to emerge back on route to enjoy the valuable practice at double-barbed-wire-fence-with-wall crossing at the foot of final climb. All were in, and all-in, after around 8 hours of glorious sunshine.
Next year we have experimental modifications to remove a lot of tarmac from the second half.
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.