Saturday, 30 March 2013

Highland Training Camp

I’ve been in the north topping up my accent. The criteria for the holiday was a cottage with a real fire. Just as well. It’s been so cold in the last week that if I sat any closer to the fire I might as well start to rotate and baste myself in gravy. Strangely, there was also a pub nearby.
I brought the bike and early in the week journeyed out to the 'lost' villages of Tummel Bridge, Kirkmichael and Weem on various trips before returning with rigid digits under two pairs of gloves and socks.  I came across a purple toad crossing the road on Tuesday. It was moving so slowly it looked to have the action of a staggering drunk; drunk with the cold. The pass over Kinnaird was barren and snowy as I returned from Kirkmichael, taking time to wave to some frozen students paddling in a gurgling stream. I remember those field trips. 

I ran around 4 miles in the lanes past the Edradour and Bells Distilleries and then found a nice riverside trail along the Tummel which ate up a total of 9 miles. However, as I moved back up the hill crossing the golf course, I ran into the snow line and my plod was arrested by some high deer fences which I think are really human fences in disguise.  I’ve seen one or two other runners around but most have more sense and are busying themselves, no doubt, in the gym or whatever. 
Yesterday was the best though. I intended to run to Killiecrankie but took a trail up by Craigower and ended up ploughing through the deep snow at around 600m just below Ben Vrackie. In the early morning sun it was pretty splendid. I came across three small deer grazing on the heather. They took off pretty damn sharpish. I nearly came a cropper once or twice on some buried rocks but all in all, the run was a photographic event and I wished I’d had the good camera. Two hours for seven miles. Pretty slow stuff but don’t forget the two thousand feet of ascent.

Having missed the Nigel Barge 10k last weekend, I made an effort to run the Normans Law hill race today, a five miler with 900ft of ascent. It was pretty muddy and I grappled with the muddy and snowy conditions with a pair of Salomons that are overdue for the bin. I did alright in the run though and mostly enjoyed the copious soup, tea and cake, as did the 113 others who took part. It would have been £3 but I havent yet renewed my Scottish Athletics membership so it was a straight fiver. Still....pretty good value.  

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