Social events, runs & cycles
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 –
20 swim-runners took to the Pentlands last night for a sneaky wee run round the local reservoirs. Mike coordinated with the weather deities to ensure fine conditions for the run – dry, warm and with practically no wind. We met at Bonaly car park to start, then straight into the main climb of the day to Bonaly reservoir (despite Mike confusing it with Torduff). The group skipped along, working-up some heat before the first dip. The first swim proved quick, though my trainers felt heavier than last year, and the water fairly cool compared to the warm air. Then through some woods down to the next reservoir (even colder, much clearer), and then a military-style attack on the next (also pretty cold, also pretty clear). Back onto the run, things were going well – the runners ran, the chatters chatted, and it was all very enjoyable! The sting to this route is the third swim, across Threipmuir, the longest of the route. Threipmuir was fairly warm compared to the previous, but I think that warmth is held in its sludgy-brown colour, and the duration meant things were getting a bit chilly. The group spread-out a bit across the swim, meaning those that were quick swimmers had to hang around for…em…me. Sorry! We moved quickly to Harlaw, dodging through the woods and straight into the short swim crossing of Harlaw, and quickly back running for the long slog to Clubbiedean. This part is my favourite section – a nice weaving trod across the moorland at the foot of Harbour Hill, then down into the reservoir hidden among a clump of trees. Clubbiedean also feels like the wildest of these swims, being completely surrounded by greenery, and was as enjoyable as ever! The last of the day was Torduff, the most dramatic of them all. Entry and exit to this one is always a bit annoying, but it needed to be done, and so we did. All that was left was an easy jog down to the cars, for a brief game of “hide my nakedness” around the cars and then head home for a well deserved feed!
Thanks to Mike Lynch for sorting all the everything.
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.