Saturday, 3 August 2013

grade A, grey day


The forecast is back to normal ie not differentiating between arse and elbow. Although it suggested brighter weather in the pm Mary is always keen to get started earlier and I had half a day's work to do later, so we set off into the 10am grey drizzle up Turnhouse from Flotterstone. It was defo a heavy gravity day, both too warm and too cold with a strong gusty wind up the high tops that metcheck had failed to spot.

Mary noticed it as well - a certain unspoken resentment from (some of) the hillwalkers. Not everyone, but several parties we ran past today had faces like curdling milk. I think they look at us in shorts and t-shirts and suspect we will be calling the mountain rescue out any moment. In fact they are willing us to have an accident and not a safety blanket between us. Just so they can wag told-you-so fingers as they eventually catch up to us lying dead from drizzly hypothermia in a ditch. Them in their oil skins with backpacks the size of a fridge. "I knew that would happen" they are mumbling. But it didn't happen and we covered three times their distance and are home eating soup and rolls while they are still the other side of West Kip applying blister plasters to feet, sore from wearing steel toe-capped diving boots. We smile cheerfully as we run past and they glower from under rain hoods.

It was a relief to come off the high hills (out the wind) before East Kip and down to the Howe.

action packed Saturday for some

Running along the side of the reservoirs (having summited Turnhouse, Carnethy, Scald Law and South Black Hill, we bumped into 2 Harmenies (counterpoint?) doing a long low level route. Gavin is training for the Speyside Way Ultra, so today would be an opportunity to get used to running in the rain.

As we chatted Keith Mayfield whizzed by on a bike. Only recognised him at the last moment: he looked like a man on a mission. 

The trouble with this route is it gives you the chance to curtail part of the second section on the way back to the car. We turned left and off road to cut across to either Maiden's Cleugh, or Phantom's Cleugh, the latter being one hill less and a shorter distance. It being a heavy gravity day we opted for the shorter route. It was pleasant going and the sun threatened to come out at times, with patches of blue sky.

There was this section of new road to allow vehicles up to the top of Castlelaw. It will be ok in a few months time once it has been compressed but currently wearing Inov8s you get far too much ground feel. This is a term those who like wearing next to nothing on their feet think is a selling point. In fact it is a pain in the sole. If you run barefoot on gravelly road or rocky off-road you will bruise your feet. Especially if you are used to cosseting them in lovely thick soled matressy shoes. Running up Scald Law (I endeavoured to run the entirety of the long climbs, though probably at a pace your granny could manage) I was nearly in tears when I trod on some sharp stones that jabbed the side and sole of my foot. 

I see in the US they are now selling rock plates to line your Vibram Five Fingers - I have a better idea: put your VFF clad feet into a pair of Hokas. (God I nearly wrote "simples" there.)(That's as bad as someone recently writing "<finger quotes>" either side of a phrase they wished to highlight.)

I preferred to run on the soft shoulder next to this new road which although a bit lumpy didn't jab you in the underneath. I spent quite some time fantasizing about Hokav-8s, an inov8 upper with a Hoka midsole and Inov8 Mudclaw outsole. I may have to get Billy the Shoe to fashion a pair. I gave the remnants of my first pair of spent Hoka shoes to Billy in order for him to study the form and see what he might come up with. To those unaware of his eccentricities/genius he makes his own shoes, (from components often bought in low end shops) and bicycle frames from bamboo. In return he gave me a 4 litre container of home brew which tasted more like a distillate than a fermentation. I suspect it was flammable. If one added enough other ingredients it became absolutely drinkable, although I have not yet had the urge to make my own shoes, or bicycles.

OK I've run out of photos. End of.
check the Yak Hunter blog for map of today and her thoughts.

the future?


  1. I always giggle at the amount of stuff hill walkers carry - along with XC MTB`ers. A paclite is all you need, i have a Montane the size of an apple.
    I love the minimum stuff you guys carry running, nice and simple,
    Even on the coast folk hump loads of stuff! yet are never more than a half hour from a a village that serves warm food!
    4th last pic is sweet!

  2. Nice run and great pics as always. I once went a run up Ben Nevis and passed a large group of walkers near the top (possibly Japanese), all kitted out as if they were ascending Everest. They seemed most alarmed at the sight of me looming out of the mist in shorts and T-shirt.

    P.S I only just got round to repairing those Hokas today. Road test on tomorrow morning's commute!

  3. That word 'simples' just really gets me going.....boils my P*%S in fact. Glad it is not just me.

    Nice run, and good pics, despite the dull conditions.

  4. I added comment re pix and hillwalkers. It seems to have gone away, so I wonder what I'm doing wrong. (Isn't that typical female reaction? A bloke would wonder what the site was doing wrong.)

  5. ok, last comment worked, try again:

    Lovely pix, especially 4th last.

    Hillwalkers have been propagandised into believing they have to carry at all times enough stuff to survive for maybe 2-3 days, till the rescuers find them, which is fine if you're going into deep wilderness (e.g. between Loch Maree and Lochcarron) in winter, but a tad ridiculous if you're within 200 yards of a caff. So they are bowed down with heavy rucksack and many layers of clothing and can't bear the sight of runners carrying next to nothing. No wonder they're grumpy.