The Carnethy Winter Ultra Series completed with the Alternative John Muir Way – the 5th ‘Ultra Distance’ of the set of runs.
None were races and each route was designed to get people into running that bit further than the might on a usual day out. Routes varied from icy snow-fests finished well after dark, to sublime beaches and sunshine in secret Scotland’s Lothian beaches, stunning trails of the Tweed Valley and high spots in remote spots around Edinburgh. Generally we had great weather with bacon rolls, cafes, cakes and the odd beer and pie consumed along the way.
Between 9 and 22 people attended some or all of the runs and about 80 people participated in total.
If you did them all, you would get 165 miles in your legs in the winter months. So who did them all, and who went the farthest? Here are those who did 2 or more that I can remember, and their rough distances. If I missed you, sorry:
|Billy & Dorothy Elliott||26||17||43|
So the winner of 2 Jelly Babies is Alan Hogg. I think he deserves a beer myself so here are some piccies so you know him, plus his Sea 2 Summit pom poms. Well done to the 100 milers, and everyone really.
Next year – same again with one or two new routes again maybe.
Carnethy ultra series 2018
Everyone is invited since these are quite social and not races. Each route will provide options to join, leave or abort along the way to suit energy levels of time commitments. Some bits can be cycled:
17th December – Willie’s Eskapade – 25 miles from Mussleburgh to Carlops along the Esk. (Run Ldr – Willie Gibson)
20th January – Sea to Summit – 32 miles from South Queensferry, via East Cairn Hill to the Steading. (Run Ldr – Mark Hartree / Jeff Roberts)
large map (opens in new window and should be easy to print from – probably best in landscape orientation)
Annotated pdf maps – Leg 1 South Queensferry to East Calder, Leg 2 East Calder to The Steading
Starting from under the Forth Rail Bridge at South Queensferry at 0930 (the Sea bit).
The plan is to get the train to Dalmeny station for a start at the seashore below the Forth Road Bridge with toes or finders in the sea at 0930.
The route is in 2 distinct halves starting on trails and nice tracks out towards Kirknewton and East Calder where we will find a café/pub for a break. People can meet us/or leave using the Kirknewton train – let me know if you plan to do this. The second half crosses the A70 and heads for the hill including East Cairn Hill and Allermuir (the Summit bit). Escapes from this leg are to Balerno (A70, 44 bus to town) or Carlops, Nine Mile Burn or Flottersone (A702, 100 and 101 buses for town). Rough route map attached with 2 scales showing the general line. Distance is ~ 34 miles.
Bad weather – If the hill section is bad like last time we may amend the route accordingly. Weather permitting, this year we will make it all the way.
Bring food, money, head torch, waterproofs, drink and spare warm clothing, including maybe a change of kit for the pub.
Logistics: The logistics require a bit of planning.
· Trains from Edi Waverly arrive at Dalmeny at (dep 0839- 0855 <tel:0855> , dep 0848 – 0905 <tel:0905> and 0909 -0924 <tel:0924> ) so an 0930 start is possible. (5 mins later from Haymarket)
· Trains to Kirknewton leave Waverly at 1026 arriving around 1053 <tel:1053> every hour. They return at around 1119 <tel:1119> .
· We will have a café stop near Kirknewton or in East Calder (still tbc which one) – it will be the last food stop.
· Cars can be parked at the Steading then folk get a bus to Haymarket Station. Requires a 7 min walk to the right bus stop to get the No 4 service to Haymarket (d0744, a0821) or (d0816, a 0856)
Mark 0780 171 4032
Jeff 07929 201 137
24th February – Tweed Valley – 30 miles and 4900ft ascent from Galasheils to explore the Tweed Valley to Traquair and back. (Run Ldr – Pete Buchanan)
The Plan – We get the train from Waverly to Galashiels. Do a circuit of the stunning Tweed Valley with a café stop midway. Run back to Gala along the Southern Upland Way for a train back to Edinburgh.
The Route – Follow the Southern Upland Way to Yair to cross the River Tweed, then follow tarmac and hard pack trails onto forestry tracks, climbing and undulating for a couple of miles before dropping down past Glenbenna to Walkerburn at 13 miles. Download annotated map as PDF
Café Stop and a shop at Walkerburn. Caberstone Café, 07527 520 019
Then follow riverside path (muddy grass) for another 2 miles to Innerleithen (15miles). We stay on the South side of the river and another mile of tarmac until Traquair, where there is a dramatic 2 miles and 1200ft of climb up onto the Southern Upland Way. We stay on the hill tops from 18~23miles across Minch Moor covering some of the Feel the Burns route (in reverse.) At the 3 Brethren cairns we descend for 3 miles back down to Yair and where we started the Tweed circuit. We then retrace our route back over the last 5 miles to Gala. Distance – 31miles or thereabouts.
Bad weather / cutting short / joining – Walkerburn gives the option for joiners/leavers. The X62 (Melrose) and X95 (Hawick) bus from Edinburgh bus station will get you to Walkerburn or back to Edinburgh every 30mins. The second half or the route is over high ground so more exposed. Route could vary on the day. Alternatively if driving, there is parking near Yair just east of the bridge over the Tweed.
Clothing and kit – Food for 8hrs, money, head torch, waterproofs, gaiters if snow on hills, drink and spare warm clothing, including maybe a change of kit for the pub. It could be Baltic up there in Feb.
There isn’t particularly technical ground so I would recommend a cushioned trail shoe rather than a hill shoe. There are several miles of tarmac. Up on Minch Moor there is quite a lot of rocky path which will be tiring in thinner shoes.
Logistics – estimated run time ~7hrs
08.25 train from Waverley to Galashiels. (£10.80 return)
09:20 Start run from Gala train station
12:00 Café stop Walkerburn (13 miles). Option for joiners/leavers
Evening Train to Edinburgh ~18:05 (every 30 mins)
More info Pete Buchanan did this route in October
24th March – Edinburgh 17 Wards – 42 miles linking the highest points in the 17 Election Wards of Edinburgh. (Run Ldr – Jonny Muir)
large map (opens in new window and should be easy to print from – probably best in landscape orientation)
Download Mark’s annotated maps here (pdf 1.2Mb)
Maps of electoral wards 2007 onwards – City of Edinburgh council area maps
|1 – Almond / Mons Hill 119m|
|2 – Pentland Hills / East Cairn Hill 567m|
|3 – Drum Brae / Gyle and 5 – Inverleith / Corstorphine Hill 162m|
|4 – Forth / Silverknowes Neuk ~55m NT213754|
|5 – see 3|
|6 – Corstorphine / Inverleith Mast on south Corstorphine Hill 155m NT209736|
|7 – Sighthill / Gorgie Baberton Mains ~90m 195 696|
|8 – Colinton / Fairmilehead Allermuir Hill 492m|
|9 – Fountainbridge / Craiglockhart Wester Craiglockhart Hill 176m|
|10 – Meadows / Morningside Braid Hills top (to north of wall) 208m|
|11 – City Centre / Castle esplanade ~105m|
|12 – Leith Walk Easter Road / A1 junction ~54m NT269743|
|13 – Leith / Lochend Road roundabout ~25m NT277749|
|14 – Craigentinny / Duddingston Arthur’s Seat 251m|
|15 – Southside / Newington Blackford Hill 164m|
|16 – Liberton / Gilmerton Footpath junction at Mortonhall ~180m NT255686|
|17 – Portobello / Craigmillar Edmondstone 104m NT302697|
What is the Carnethy Winter Ultra Series?
The Winter Ultra Series has already run the length of the Esk, from the Sea 2 Summits in the Pentlands (epic) and around the Tweed Valley (stunning). You might have missed these, and boy, did you miss some adventures. It is all about running that little bit further than you might normally, or to train for your next long race, so here is your next chance to join the next day out running, all free, doing a route that you might never have thought of, courtesy of Jonny Muir.
What is 17 Wards all about?
For the first time, the highest points in each of the 17 Edinburgh Council Wards will be linked in a continuous push. The run of around 42-45 miles stretches from East Cairn Hill in the Western Pentlands to Mons Hill near South Queensferry, offering a mix of hill, trail and road running. It includes Allermuir, the Southside Hills, Arthur’s Seat, Castle Rock and Corstorphine Hill, as well as some more obscure high spots in SE Edinburgh.
Sounds kinda interesting, what is the route?
You can do all of it, or it is split into 3 legs of about the same distance:
Leg 1 – Drove Road to Juniper Green Inn (the proper hilly bit)
Leg 2 – Juniper Green Inn to Deacon Brodies Pub, Royal Mile (roady and traily bit)
Leg 3 – Deacon Brodies Pub to South Queensferry (roady and traily bit)
There are maps attached so you can decide how much you want to do. Download Mark’s annotated maps here (pdf 1.2Mb)
What is the plan? How will I get to and from legs?
There is some logistics to work out wrt to starting Leg 1. The other legs can be more easily started or finished using Lothian buses or the train. At the end of Leg 3 we will go to Dalmeny Station for a train back to town for Beer and Medals. Trains are very 20-30 mins. We are working on a plan with rough timings for Leg times. Once we know who is coming we can refine these details so look out for follow-up email the week before.
So let Jonny Muir and I know asap if you will run, and for what bits.
What shoes and kit do I need for this?
Leg 1 – Hill shoes, full cover winter hill clothing, waterproofs, food, £,map etc
Leg 2 & 3 – Trail/road shoes, city base running attire, map, money for bus and pub
A shoe change can be arranged at the L1/L2 changeover in Juniper Green. Leg 2 & 3 could be done by bike quite easily. A bike store in Morningside after Wester Craiglockhart at my house is possible for Leg 1 runners wanting to cycle L2 and L3.
It is not the most obvious route, why do this?
The run is being arranged in collaboration with Runner’s World, which is organising a 130-mile relay linking the 32 borough tops of London, taking place on the same day. The Edinburgh version is a far more attractive option (although London has some celebrity ringers, notably Richard Askwith). The run will feature in print and online versions of Runner’s World in May and Carnethy has the chance to feature.
Remind me, what do I need to do?
• Reply if you are interested.
• Say what bits you want to do, some or all.
• Say if you have someone who can drop you off at Leg 1.
• Look up Lothian Bus Journey Planner for times to get to/from Juniper Green or the Royal Mile.
21st April – Alternative John Muir – 33 miles visiting the stunning coast, rivers and trails of East Lothian. (Run Ldr – Mark Hartree / Keith Burns). Times on map may not be accurate!
Sat April 21st – Start at Aberlady Bay Car Park leaving at 0900 prompt
Make sure Keith knows you are coming! (reply to the email)
Please car share to ease congestion! Or cycle there.
Sag wagon provided for full route.
Either run all the way, half run (coast)/ half bike (mostly off-road) or bike all the way (mixed on/off road)
53km of outstanding East Lothian coastline beaches, boulders and cliffs then return by River Tyne and Garleton Hills to Aberlady Bay. The last 27km can be done by mountain bike. Bikes will be collected at the start and delivered for pick up at Ravensheugh beach where we leave the coast.
Lunch break of soup, cheese, tea etc. at East Linton after 32km. Cake donations welcome.
Pics here: http://bestpartday.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/a-j-m-w-video.html
Timings on the day:
Started at 9.11. Arrival times are for nearly the slowest runner. Cyclists and fasties arr much sooner but we all depart together.
Leg 1 – Arrived Seabird Center in 1hr50 at 11am. 28mins stop
Distance 9.2miles, 14.8km
Departed Seabird Center 11.28am (then 5 mins stop at van).
Leg 2 – Arrived Keith’s in 2hr 52 at 2:26pm. Stayed 50min leaving at 15:16.
Distance 11.9m, 19.15km. Cumulative 21.1m, 33.95km
Departed Keith’s 15.16pm
Leg 3 – Arrived Hopetoun Monument at 5:24pm.
Finished Aberlady at 18:45pm in 3hr 30 (including stops at Monument and van).
Distance 13.3m, 21.4km. Cumulative 34.4m, 55.35km
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.
The Sea 2 Summits idea came about in 2016 as a novel way to link to the coast to tops of the hills. In February 2017 a group of us tried it, but heavy rain from the start dampened our enthusiasm and we cut short to Balerno. Heavy snow and frost were the challenge this year but Saturday’s forecast was for another ‘best day of the year’ day. The second challenge of the day was how to feed along the way since the route avoided refuel stops on a run whose length and commitment in the second half really needed a café. Jeff Roberts came up trumps with the Park View Café in Mid Calder.
A group of 9 Carnethys set off from under the Forth Road Bridge with toes in the Sea at 0930, and headed down the old railway line towards Kirkliston at a fairly leisurely pace enjoying the fresh morning air. Icy paths and snow from the start made for careful footwork being needed. From Kirkliston we joined the River Almond which remained our partner for the next 7 miles by the odd bit of bundu bashing, graffiti bridges with apt slogans, swing parks and frozen ploughed fields. The stunning West Lothian Viaduct and various arched bridges and the canal aqueduct make this section really interesting and worthy of a run on its own, since Almondale Country Park shows more delights than you expect. After 10 miles we made it to the excellent Park View Café in Mid Calder for welcome bacon butties, coffee and cakes. Nicola Dunn left us here (recovering from flu), Sarah Robertson headed for the gym and a 48 mile race in Suffolk next weekend, and Mary Lye tag-teamed with Matt Jones and we were down to seven. The food was great and a second butty ordered – which we were glad of later.
The second half of the run turned out to be long and hard and nowhere near a half, more a first third and second 2/3rds. We followed the river further upstream before cutting up to Selm Wood and joined the Scottish National Trail past the Hilly Cow Wigwams where Lucas Lefevre enjoyed a cuddle with my shadow. From here the snow started to get tricky and energy sapping with drifts and knee deep powder-fluff over heather. We weren’t halfway till we crossed the A70 at 1400 onto Thieves Road, but East Cairn Hill was in sight, even if maybe 2hrs away yet in the conditions. In 2017, the Thieves Road path was flooded in ankle deep water and shin deep bog. We still had shin deep bog, but today it was hidden by knee deep snow. Joy.
East Cairn Hill succumbed to brute force and the bonus of a youthfully energetic Auren Clarke breaking trail with Alan, Jeff and Lucas, while Lee Murphy, Matt Jones and I brought up the rear. But my god, was it worth it at the top for the views and ambience of the scenes around us. Cloud inversion, snow crystals in the air, pink mountain tops in the evening glow. We could just make out the FRB in the distance and Pentlandia around us through breaks in the mist. Jeff broke out the Drambuie and we celebrated his birthday and contemplated a viable route to Allermuir, maybe 10 miles away still. We set off, flogging our way through more drifts of varying depths and even broke out Matt’s compass to get to the Borestane safely. Snow gaiters helped some of us along with Micro Spikes, while others’ shoes looked like frozen sheep with pom-pom attachments. The direct shorter route over Kitchen Moss to the Howe was de-selected as an option and we headed North down the Drove Road in the sunset then turned right towards Bravelaw Castle making use of the track for faster travel. Alan Hogg and Jeff had a momentary wobble thinking of heading for Balerno since time was marching on and it was dark, but we dissuaded them from being big Jessies.
Familiar trails had us running to Glencorse by starlight and a crescent moon. We donned head torches, jumped the wall and cut up across the field to the metal sign and the bottom of Castlelaw Hill and walked / bobbed up the reverse Boghall route to the col and up onto Allermuir. We were later than planned, but who cares, apart from Jeff who was late for his birthday party. Epic trips deserve relishing the finish, and the lights of Edinburgh had us all smiling, and imagining the beer in the Steading. We jogged down the Swanston path then cut across to the ski slope, avoiding the road by cutting further across to the Skyline start, where we got the last few shots, and then down the trail to the pub, finishing at 1910 with beer and medals.
Leg 1 – South Queensferry to Mid Calder – 16.5km, 220m ascent, 2hrs 20mins
Leg 2 – Mid Calder to The Steading – 32km, 1020m ascent, 6hrs 20 mins
Café Stop – 40 mins
Total run – 48.5km, 1240m ascent, 8hrs 40 mins
We commend this Ultra to Carnethy. It is a cracking route. I could be done quicker, but may never be better.
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)
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…
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 –