Social events, runs & cycles
The Whisky Chaser – Saturday 31st Mar 2018, 4pm
6ish miles on the Pentlands, best part of 2000 feet of up and down, and 5 whiskies. Start from, and grub afterwards, in the Steading.
Cost expected to be around £10 per person for the whisky, with the meal extra.
Not sure what it’s about? Check out the previous reports on the whisky chaser page, and all will become clear!
If you’re interested, please let me know at: email@example.com, before 24th March. 1: if you’re coming for the run/whisky, and 2: if you want a meal afterwards in the Steading.
Places are limited (there’s only so much whisky in each bottle!)…so if you’re keen, please let me know early…
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🤞!!