Friday, 22 February 2013

Lammermuirs Dawn Raid 22/02/13

Mary put forward the idea we should be up the Lammermuirs for dawn today and witness the spectacular daybreak as forecast by the met office and BBC weather websites. Could we really be arsed getting up shortly after 5am and driving the 45 minutes via Gifford? Nothing ventured, nothing gained and it added to the possibility of making today a little bit special. I have been requiring special in my running calendar to get me out the door of late. A dull, routine run is just not cutting it. A dawn hill run promised spectacle and adventure.

I was quietly appalled by the numbers of early morning workers zooming about between here and there. I thought the roads would be as desolate as my mind at that ungodly hour. But hundreds of unfortunates were commuting. Does modern life really insist all these lost souls clamber out their warm beds to face the horrors of work long before sun-up (7.21am today) every day. And I thought my life was harsh. Get some perspective people. What is really that important?

Anyway, I tend towards the sunset rather than the sunrise and was curious as to how the spectacular colours and radiant sunshine would emerge from this overcast cold dark start. Unfortunately as we drove to, and parked up at Blinkbonny Woods it was fast becoming apparent we were on a fool's errand. No sunrise happened and no sign of blue sky or indeed the sun was available. Today's photos would have looked identical if we had slept long then headed to Lammer Law and the 21 mile circuit catching the afternoon light instead of the red-eye dawn express. It will be quite some time before I fall for that promise again.

Which is not to say we didn't have a fun run. The early start added some mild hysteria (and quite a bit of complaining about the inaccuracy of the forecast,) though this was tempered by the cold air on the first long ascent up Lammer Law. I wished I'd brought my balaclava as well as my 2 pairs of gloves, earband and hat. Over the top and the climate improved as we descended to Carfraemill where we stopped at the hotel and had a coffee and shortbread which lifted spirits. Mary was fairly chipper – I was concerned she had chosen quite a committing route. After you get about half way there is no short cut back to the car. We usually take 4 hrs.

Up where the track ends before the windfarm someone had laid out these 10 dead hares. 
They looked to have been snared rather than shot. We saw a few others - alive - but too distant to photograph.

Its 5 miles over the first hills, another 5 of mostly tarmac flat roads then you turn off the main road from Carfraemill and complete the circuit by going up to the windfarm, back along to Lammer Law and down towards Gifford again. Our faces got used to the cold and we even managed a brief stop after the windfarm for a quick sandwich before pushing on. It was not a day for hanging around.

On the way back we had fun breaking the ice puddles which crashed like thin glass in a satisfying way underfoot. The pace was very relaxed and I felt I could have gone a lot further. Usually I am pretty glad to get back to the car and change. The Hokas worked well today. I only just avoided getting them soaked at one of the stream crossings when the rock I was jumping from turned over as I leapt off it.

Yak and Yeti - conclusive evidence, massive even beside Mafates, of bigfoot.

The frozen ground captured prints of Inov-8s, hiking boots, bikes, sheep, wolves, etc.

When we got home we had to catch up on the missed sleep. I dropped off very quickly but woke up feeling it was like Sunday night not Friday evening. I have also been developing a cold which gains ground every time I exert myself – Carnethy – Weds nights at club – today. I could carry it forward to September at this rate. I should be looking forward to Sunday's trail race. May have to take it easy tomorrow.

Mary's blog here

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