Days like this don't come along often. Mary had taken some days off work and it coincided with some slacking I was developing into a 3 day week. Or less if I could swing it. The weather – wall to wall blue skies and only the smallest breeze to keep a runner cool on the hills – was the deal maker.
I'm guessing this was about ten to three.
Mary has already covered the ground in her blog so I'm just going to post a few of the photos as a record of one of the best running days of the year. Mary wasn't keen to do much more than the Hopes Reservoir circuit (8 miles), but once we got going and the weather continued to improve she suggested the windmills run: over Lammerlaw taking the main trail towards Carfrae Mill then turning left early on in the descent down to the rangers lodge, back up the huge climb and along the road past the pylons to the turbines.
We took the wrong turn off (my bad) and just at the point we were thinking we didn't recognise the trail, it finished in a turning circle. We could see the road we meant to be on, so did a bit of cross country yomping down to the wooden cabin then back out the valley. There was a general feeling of hill training for the 7 Hills but it was just a glorious day to be out under the blue skies. Not a huge deal of wildlife but a good number of hares popping out and doing the hundred yard dash over the horizon before I could train the camera on them. Quite a few birds from Lapwings announcing their pleasure or displeasure at seeing us, to larks, to some other dudes I didn't recognise. And a family of grouse chicks insisted on some pics. Very cute they were too.
Cattle were displayed artistically in landscape.
How good does that taste?
We carried no food or drink and felt the lack of it long before the 2½ hrs were up. The turbines at the far end were spectacular and I shot some film of them lazily turning in the light breeze while Mary did a headstand in the foreground. The pylons used to dominate the sci-fi landscape here but the turbines have dwarfed them. Although we wouldn't want them on every hilly rural landscape they seem considerably preferable to the sort of things that have happened in Chernobyl and the Gulf of Mexico.
The return journey is back the way we came. Even those mighty long hills couldn't dampen such raised spirits and we enjoyed all the vistas unfolding as we climbed the ascents and turned the corners and the coast came back into view. A long down to Blinkbonny Woods (Longyester) and the parked car and that bottle of juice in the back. Ahh, a perfect day's running.