A busy weekend and more invitations than we could possibly attend. (Apologies Ben and Bob for missing birthday celebrations.) Phil had planned furthest ahead and so his wedding sports day near Broughton was the main event on Saturday. He was doing the ceremony on Friday with Saturday being set aside for entertainments and activities for his and Katie's lycra clad hill running and biking pals. It sounded a huge improvement on the usual wedding celebrations where one puts on formal clothing and stands around shooting the breeze and eating small pastries with folk wearing ties.
I did feel a bit guilty about not cross-country-relaying, especially when we met Stavert in Tescos on Friday evening. The relays can mean a long stand in a cold field while first the women run, then all the men, one at a time and you wait in the cold and damp for your turn. Then about 20 minutes of very harsh running, then afterwards scraping the mud off, and an age of travelling home. Maybe I was feeling guilty because I was glad to be elsewhere.
The weather was not the best. Which was a damn shame as Katie and Phil had gone to great lengths to put on a lot of fun things for us. And the surrounding countryside was looking spectacular in Autumn shades. Or would have been if only the sun had come out. However spirits were high and shortly after arriving we were lined up to race up the hill across the way. The children were not let off lightly and had to run half way up said hill, being given a 2 minute head start. Since a good number of them were the offspring of some of Britain's finest hill runners they didn't hang about.
Katie and Phil (showing off recent jewelry.) Congratulations to them.
The elite race
The also rans (British champion Morgan D bottom left.)
Andrew, Phil's brother
First time I've been overtaken in a hill race by someone wearing an animal print onesie.
Also Scoffer went past (while I was struggling with the balloon) wearing wellies, no mean feat. Although he may have pocketed his balloon figuring he'd blow it up later.
Phil had set off early and was stationed about 2/3rds of the way up the hill. He handicapped the leading runners by giving them balloons to blow up, tie and carry. No easy task when wearing gloves and carrying a camera already. I was breathing so heavily by this point that just one exhalation filled my balloon, although I had to take my gloves off to tie it. Which is why there are a limited amount of photos from that bit.
At the summit we were met by Nic, Phil's sister, and Jon who insisted we climb into fancy dress apparel. I got lucky with only a pair of cycling shorts & bib (generously leaving the jimmy wig and hat for someone else) although it was a nightmare trying to get the stretchy item over studded hill shoes while keeping a hold of one's balloon which the wind was keen to take into the next county.
Asked why he wasn't wearing fancy dress, this one said he had given the traditional hand signal indicating it would not be required.
Phil's other brother Jim is a hillrunner with flare. He thought these fashionable slacks, forced upon him atop the hill, would be good for running, but they had him tripped and back on the ground in seconds.
Bobbing for apples.
Gary won the balance-an-apple-on-the-rim-while-swimming-upside-down game. I am told the water was very refreshing.
Mary (having followed Rob off the hill the wrong way despite excellent markings) finally arrives at the finish.
Throwing the welly at the dude in the orange onesie beside our car.
tug of war
Egg throwing: stand in pairs a few feet apart and throw an egg (not boiled) back and forth. Increase gap until eggs are no longer throwable.
The beer tent. There were a couple of hundred of Broughton Brewery's finest here - I can't believe I forgot to drink any.
As the rain settled in we snuck off. Mary does not enjoy driving in the dark and rain so we headed back making the return journey in daylight but missing the food and drink which I wasn't so pleased about.
Selfies in public toilets by request. (Stephen Ralph)
(you can hold the door open at Gullane with a foot for addtional light but with greater risk of being caught in the act.)
Sunday, and both M and I were suffering from the doms in the quads. The sort of tight aches we used to get years ago after Carnethy and the like but haven't had for a few years. (Mary's dom-horn™ peeped every time we crested a dune and began a descent.) I reckoned we had both run a little too fast downhill - it was an excellent descent and you could really hammer it. However it may have been we have been spending too many weekend runs down the coast in place of our previously traditional Pentland weekenders. Speaking of which...
We parked up at Gullane. The forecast had suggested we get out early. What with the extra hour etc we arrived plenty early although some grey clouds loomed over in the West. Bruce beat us, being up for a glorious dawn - see his photos here. After a quick selfie in the toilets we headed down the JMW beside the golf course where the deer often hang around in this field although one of them looks a bit like a donkey. I must get that long lens I've been swithering about. (Only a newer, lighter and fancier one has become available, just when I had decided THAT was the one.)
Lower geese, more detail.
Heinz beans bushes (Sea Buckthorn) in full berry mode.
Message in a bottle. If the message is half a pint of salty water. Or a just-missed focal distance.
My third favourite tree at Archerfields, and the grass was really that green (after all the rain.)
I hoped there was an owl or something fun in here. But just slime!
related poetry - skip down to Poem ("In the stump of the Old Tree")
And that's about it. Except to say I was disappointed it didn't rain furiously for the rest of the day since I'd got up esp early and was feeling superior on account of it. It was some consolation it did seem like terrible conditions at the Run of the Mill hill race, and I was heartily glad I hadn't opted for that this year, lovely as it is. Next weekend is a long run up a muddy trail so maybe I should be toughening-the-flip-up, but I think this, this lazy feeling and general slackening, is tapering. Preparation. That'll be it.