Ultra is anything over marathon length, that’s 26 and a bit miles or 42 km, though some shorter upland runs make the ultra grade.
Archive Ultra pages here
Carnethy ultra series 2018 details
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! Refer to Keith’s emailed spreadsheet.
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
The club website has plenty of information on kit that you should take (it is winter and you will be on the go for many hours) and the run leader will offer additional advise subject to the weather forecast as the day approaches.
Give them a go. A prize for who does them all!
There were lots of Carnethys in the Glencoe to Ben Nevis area over the weekend racing in the Salomon Skyline series of 4 races which include:
Mamores VK™ on Thursday
– 5km / 1,000m
Ben Nevis Ultra™on Friday
Planned as – 52km / 4,000m (bad weather reduce this to 49km / 2060m ascent)
Ring of Steall Skyrace™ on Saturday
– 28km / 2,750m
Glen Coe Skyline® on Sunday
Planned as – 52km / 4,750m (bad weather reduced this to 33km / 3000m ascent retaining the ascent of Curved Ridge)
There is a great website with all the info, maps, pictures and videos and results here: http://www.skylinescotland.com/ or look on Facebook/Strava. Look out for a cracking drone sequence of Jasmin chasing Konrad across the hills and in another you might see me giving Jilian Kornet a run for her money. I am in the
white red top.
What can you say about this event: Very European, with bagpipes and mud. I suspect Kinlochleven will take a while to recover and certainly the trails used will need some time. My quads should recover by Weds I hope.
Folk came from all over the World since it was the final of the Skyrunner World Series. If you knew who-was-who in the elite field, well the great and the good (freaks, as I call them), were there. Your low key Scottish hill race – it was not. More lycra, hydration vests, headbands and walking poles than you could shake a Carnethy buff at.
As it turned out, both the Ultra Route competitors and the Glencoe Skyline racers were a bit short changed by the ‘bad’ weather with both routes being shortened, making the Ring of Steall and the Vertical KM sticking to the planned traces on the map. You don’t need a map mind you, since there where thousands of little red flags and arrows to show the way. That didn’t stop some people taking wee detours though.
I did the RoS which is a great route comprising airy ridges, bog, technical running on slippery rock and two 1000m ascents and descents with a river crossing and few other smaller climbs across the Mamores range. Quite tough, misty and drizzly on the tops, and requiring a good food plan to avoid bonking later in the race. Some folk complained about the quagmires, I thought it was fine… just run around it.
The winning times in all the races are bonkers to me, but then I don’t run 100m in <10s or a marathon in less than 2:03!
Rémi Bonnet ascended a KM in 39:23
Jonathan Albon led for most of the ULTRA race and finished in 3:48:02.
My great rival Kilian Jornet just pipped me this time on the RoS in a ridiculous time of 03:04:34.
Boyed by his easy day on Saturday he went to trot around the Skyline route (his recovery run) in an equally ridiculously impressive 03:37:17.
As I say…freak, or should I really say – inspiring freak.
I will have missed Carnethy racers whose names I forget, but here are those I spotted in the results. If I missed you, email firstname.lastname@example.org and add your time and a wee report:
Vertical KM (343 finished, 4 didn’t)
Carnethy was represented at the Vertical Kilometer race, the opening race of the long weekend, by Murdo McEwan and Mark Thomasson in dire weather conditions. Their respective times of 73:11 and 78:40 seem somewhat pedestrian when compared to the 23 year old Swiss winner, Remi Bonnet’s, record breaking 39:23 (over 2 minutes ahead of 2nd placed Norwegian Thorbjorn Ludvigsen). But, hopefully, within their age bands their times are rather more respectable!
Murdo McEwan – full report in next Journal
|ULTRA (347 finishers, 22 didn’t)|
|RoS (664 finishers, 48 didn’t)|
|Skyline (198 finish, 5 didn’t)|
Have a go next year. There is a race for you and you have time to save up for it.
The second edition of the 170km Ultra Tour Monte Rosa took place on 6th to 8th September. Organised by five times UTMB winner, and record holder for the Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu mail run, Lizzy Hawker, the route mainly follows the trekking route around the Monte Rosa massif going around twenty nine 4000m+ peaks.
Lizzy Hawker trained on the route for her UTMB races, and says “this is the race I would really like to run”, and so decided to organise it herself. Described as; “a serious challenge – brutal, beautiful and brilliant”, there is a time limit of 60 hours for completion.
The race start and finish is in the pretty alpine village of Grächen, in Valais, Switzerland. I had travelled out a few days before the race to try and acclimatise, and rest up for the 12,000m+ of ascent/descent that was to come. The trails are mainly above 2,000m with several high points above 3,000m.
The race started at 4am to ensure all runners were across the glaciated Theodul Pass before nightfall. The first 37km to Zermatt followed the Europaweg path, crossing the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge at 494 m in length. I had laminated a 40 hour schedule, and was half an hour up when I met Nicola in the warm sunshine at Zermatt. The climb out of Zermatt was indeed brutal, but the views of the Matterhorn spectacular. I met Nicola again at the Gandegghütte (2,929m) – she’d taken the quicker option of the cable cars. The route continued to climb, crossing the Theodul Glacier until I reached the high pass (3,300m) as the weather closed in. With hail, sleet and freezing rain, I was thankful for the extra layers from the obligatory safety kit, and made a quick descent into Italy.
There were fourteen checkpoints en route all (wo)/manned by fantastic volunteers, and had a never ending variety of refreshments on offer. As the weather deteriorated, and the trail became slippery the continental runners decided to sit out the worst of it at the refuges and I gained a few places. With nightfall, the weather improved and the cloudless skies revealed the stars above the shadows of the imposing mountains.
After 100km (19 hours) I reached checkpoint 9 at the Italian village of Alagna (1,193m), and took my first 15 minute break. Leaving the checkpoint, the next section had 1,936m of climbing, followed by a 1,652m descent. I had felt quite good up to this point, but the following six hours almost destroyed me. By the time I reached the checkpoint at Macugnaga (125km), my feet were suffering from trenchfoot, and my energy levels depleted. The volunteers here were great, forcing me to eat a big bowl of soup, and helping me dress the soles of my feet. With the morning sun came renewed energy, and the 1,518m climb to the impressive Monte Moro Pass back into Switzerland passed quickly. I had intended not to stop here but the checkpoint food was so good, I gorged myself for 5 minutes, later I would be thankful for the calories. The climb to the golden Virgin Mary statue, and 2km descent was the most technical part of the route, equipped with ropes and steps cut into the rocks. Once in the valley the running improved, and I was soon at the village of Sass Fee (149km) where Nicola had travelled to meet me. I was feeling near to breaking point here, but Nicola ensured I was fed and rehydrated and walked with me to the edge of the village, with just one more 1,000m climb and 20km to go I was confident I could get to the finish. However I hadn’t reckoned on what was to come: 15km of a never ending roller coaster of narrow paths, with alarmingly steep drops. I was relieved to finally reach the top of the Hannigalp gondola station, the final checkpoint, and then 3km of easy running downhill to finish at Grächen after 38.5 hours, and 10th runner back.
Lizzy Hawker greeted every finisher, and presented us with silk scarves from Nepal, together with our finisher’s medal and unique Swiss Army knife. After a couple of beers I crashed out to a fitful night’s sleep before waking to see the remainder of the finishers. In the evening the village hosted a post-race meal and prize presentation.
This really is a brutal, beautiful and brilliant race. Lizzy Hawker’s organisation and attention to detail to make this race possible is incredible, and the 150+ volunteers who make it possible brilliant.
In addition to the 170km ultra, there is a 4 day stage race around the same route, plus a 100km option from Gressoney back to Grächen. With only 400 runners the event is low key, the trails empty and the scenery magnificent.
Race info: https://www.ultratourmonterosa.com/170km-ultra-tour-info/
Grächen info: https://www.graechen.ch/en/About-us
3 Carnethys ventured up to the Western Isles at the weekend to take part in “The Heb”, a 2 day adventure type race with a bit of biking, running & kayaking. Allister Short was doing it as a pair with his brother Kenny, Ruth Moss was doing it as a mixed pair with Joshua and I was in the solo class after my partner\club-mate Drew Sharkey came off his bike a couple of weeks ago and broke his collar bone! It was an excellent event, a lot of fun with a mix road\off-road biking (including a fair bit on beaches), running and a bit of kayaking. Weather over the weekend added to the challenge with a few tough head-wind stretches on the bike and some low clag on the hill runs. However, the weather improved significantly on Sunday afternoon (after the event) for the evening walk to the post-race party which was one of best Ceilidhs I’ve been to. I’m sure everyone had a great time and I would certainly recommend the event. Nice change from just hill running. The photos are from the event website which hopefully captures the beautiful scenery and the challenging weather! Adventure Show cameras were also about so should hopefully make for good viewing at some point in the future.
The final run-in….
The descent was tough. Not because it was particularly steep or ‘technical’ but it weaved it’s way down though the woodlands. More woodlands. And my legs were tired. Just a final 765m descent, then flat to the finish…
I remembered the last time I had an 800m final descent in a race and loved it, overtaking so many people, but this time I stuttered along. This time I had an extra 65ish K in my legs, plus a chunk more ascent. And no sleep. But finally, it was done…… I hit the last checkpoint and as the clock struck noon I set out on the final ‘flat’ section.
Almost straight away I started to catch people, and then a guy I overtook sprinted back past me. That was annoying! Not because I wanted to beat him, I just didn’t understand why he sprinted. Then he walked and I started to catch him. Then he sprinted. Then he walked…. I just wanted to run at my pace and try to keep it going for that final slightly less than 8k….. He was annoying me…..
As we hit a gentle climb he started to run again, and I joined in, and caught him, and pulled clear, and he sped up and ran alongside me….so I switched to walking. And so we ‘jostled’ (read; he annoyed me!) but I didn’t want a ‘race’ I wanted to do my own thing, as I had done for the previous 28 hours…
Then, I decided I was just going to drop back and let him go ahead. But he wouldn’t. He slowed and sped up…. So I had another go to pass him as we approached 2 others walking. I drew level and passed, and as I was about to pass the 2 walkers he was alongside me again, and I just stopped dead, gesticulating for him to just go on…
Then he surprised me. He put his arm around me and we traded some incoherent blurb in a language neither of us understood, yet both of us understood. It was odd. In that moment I felt like I connected with him. But I didn’t want to run with him, I wanted to do my thing……
Moments later, before the dust had settled on our exchange and we worked out how it was going to pan out, the track turned gently downhill and I found myself letting my legs go and I ran away from him. I was flying and not stopping! Where that energy came from I have no idea, but I was gone. And I wasn’t stopping, not now. Now I had a chance to come inside 29 hours.
I’d anticipated completing in 27-30 hours, but allowed myself to rest for as long as I wanted at every stop, not worrying about an overall time. And through the night we had rain and muddy ‘slurry’ descents that left you with no control whatsoever, but which curiously, I seemed far better equipped to manage compared to everyone else I overtook – I loved that section! But here I was, with maybe 6k to go, I could beat 29 hours….. And so I ran.
The path rose more than I had expected so some walking was in order, but as Chamonix approached I overtook more and more runners, all walking by now. And with that came words of encouragement from the ‘everyday people’ our for a walk, ‘allez allez’ and ‘well done Chris’ (it’s strange when strangers know your name, it caught me out every time it happened, even though I knew it was printed on my race number!) and ‘Bravo’. ‘Can’t be far now, surely’ I thought, and ‘I’ll know if I’ve missed 29 hours if the clock strikes’ (I have no idea if a clock would strike, I just had the midday chimes ringing in my head as I left Les Houches…)
And suddenly, as always happens, out of the blue, I came out on the road and met the marshals, and it really was the final run in.
It was fantastic! I ran along the pedestrianised street lined with cafes and shops, and all the way people clapping, shouting ‘Bravo’, or ‘well done’, and kids held their hands out for low ‘high fives’, and people sat outside restaurants having their lunch joined in too, and it was amazing! Then the final 100 or so metres. I had imagined it so many times, but not allowed myself to believe it until I had hit that last checkpoint at Les Houches. The barriered section where people cheered, and clapped, and banged the barriers, and I stopped to take a photo of the finish line, then jogged the final 20m and put my arms in the air as I crossed the line, in 28:58:33. Wow, I had done it……………………………. So, although finishing in a time was never my goal, I have thanks to give to the annoying guy who I never saw again. Strange, how in that moment we seemed to bond so much, then I blew him away and felt a little bad. But boy, did I enjoy that finish! The amazing support from the bystanders and people made me feel like I had I won. Made me feel like the winner. Which of course I was, I had won ‘my’ race’…
Hours 1-7: went as expected, steady progress, feeling OK.
Hours 8-15: getting increasingly tough, struggling, feeling sick for 3 hours, feeling low before sickness passed and my mood and pace picked up.
Hours 15-23: the night section; following a good rest headed out into the wet and misty darkness and loved it! Overtook loads of people, a number of whom were sleeping on the side of the trail which only made me feel more energised!
Hours 23-28: started off feeling good, then the final ridiculously steep 500m ascent to the last col, followed by a rocky and woodland descent to the final check point. I had, effectively, made it!
The final hour: totally loved it!
The UTMB races are always affected by weather to some degree, and relatively this year was a fair one. But 12 hours before the start of my race (the TDS), just as I was about feeling set to go, the message came through saying tat the route had been changed, and start time delayed by 2 hours due to ‘tough weather’. Around 500m ascent had been removed and a few K added, to make it around 123K and 6,800m ascent. The UTMB itself had predicted temperatures of -10 to deal with. In the end it had mostly passed by the time I reached it, with just a few distant rumbles of thunder and about an hour of rain. Nice rain though, if you know what I mean….
All organised and ready to go….