Wednesday, 30 July 2014

tynecastle bronze

First thing Monday and 2 unexpected things. Work was delayed till a 6pm meeting to discuss said work effectively meaning "DAY OFF" and I saw an fb post reminding me Graham was doing his Tynecastle Bronze run. I just about had time to change into running shorts and contact Graham to say I was on board. It was, after all, another day of splendid weather in this fabulous Summer.

Graham felt moved to mark the centenary of WWI by running an ultra (over 30 miles) every month. FOR FOUR YEARS. I know what you're thinking, that's not hard enough. That's what Graham thought too and so twice a year (you'll have to ask him for specifics here I was not paying attention in class...) there is a double, maybe the second half at night I'm not sure and frankly I doubt it matters. Get yer trainers on and you'll find out after we've started. 

11.20am on July 28th may or may not have been the precise moment the Great Pagar kicked off back then. Similarly we were a bit inexact (nearer 11.45) as I wasn't even going to be there in the first place and Kathy and Graeme (note alternate spelling) were making their way from Stockbridge adding 3 miles to the process because they just can't get enough. As usual on these GH away days Graham makes up a route on the spur of the moment where sections of canal or urban orienteering are joined by cunning shortcuts and alleyways unknown to all but burglars and highwaymen evading the blues-in-twos. One moment we are in Gorgie next Blinkbonny and Corstorphine Hill then out the canal (briefly) through Heriot Watt and off to the Pentlands.

Curry Kirk

First lunch break

photo Kathy

Graeme asked was I a tractor buff and what make was it when I got excited about this harvest scene. I replied I wasn't, it was just stirring scenery although it was prob a JCB as it was yellow and not (for instance) John Deere green etc. On closer inspection it WAS a JCB. And in recent news my sister says I can get a shot in her farm's JCB tractor if I am good. (Although I think it is the visuals rather than the driving I am gripped by). I don't have a driving license (pure laziness) and am not that motivated about trying to get one. 

After doing the flat section of the Rigg Race we continued straight at the bend and got this delightful trail which is waymarked. Lots of butterflies.

photo Kathy

photo Kathy

Graham seemed keen to push on - I think he was taking my 6pm appointment more seriously than I was. Or maybe he was enjoying the lack of hip pain that has been coming and going, and/or spinning class injuries!

photo Kathy

lunch stop number 2
With the new camera there was an optional bundle of a miniature tripod (6") which is handy for low angle selfies (see 2nd top photo) unless there is long grass.

photo Kathy

Now here is a top tip. If you are 20 miles into a long run and dying of thirst and the Rangers Lodge at Harlaw is CLOSED go round the back. The outside tap appears to be padlocked but there is no base in the box and you can access the tap and fill bottles with a water so sweet it is like your first kiss. Except more thirst quenching.

Graham's ancestral home.

Now, the only time I'd been on this path before was with Michael G one Winter and it was ankle deep in running water. His 10 mile circuit, which turned out to be 13.5miles. 

Graeme found the last few miles testing.

I thought it would be onto the canal and back to Tynecastle but Graham took us off as soon as we had crossed it and down some paths nearby which I'd never been on to see....

...this memorial to those who fell from Slateford and Longstone.

Another purpose of these runs is to go past or incorporate a war memorial. So after a hats off moment we are running again and I am blethering to Kathy and Graeme about triathlons and blah blah blah and Graeme says "trike with faring on your left" and I ask him to repeat himself. Its not that I don't understand the words they are just not what I am expecting and don't match the conversation and I think the heat has got to him. After making him repeat the sentence 6 times and slowly, I turn to my left and sure enough it's a trike with a faring looking a bit like a jelly bean.

Water of Leith

By this time we are all hallucinating. I know Kathy and Graeme are heading to Stockbridge and I know Graham has left his vehicle next to Tynecastle - I just can't position the latter in relation to the Water of Leith path we are on but I'm pretty sure we are now heading away from my 6pm meeting and it's now 5.45.

However Graham had it in hand and we part company at the Dean Village. I think G&K did 34miles or caught a number 34 bus and G&PB returned to Tynecastle for 31.5miles and just before 6. Graham gave me a lift to my meeting round the corner and the sweat was about dried on my forehead and I was looking perfectly presentable (I imagine) and only 5 mins late. Which is prompt by the tradesman code of ethics. 
Big thanks to Graham for all this and it was a great route and great company. Look forward to doing the next one although the date is 2 days after a 35 mile race. Hopefully the event will not sell out but that a good group of folk will get involved. It was not a taxing pace and if you are swithering then go for it and come along. My legs were fully recovered for a sprintastic Wednesday night PRC sesh, and it is the best and most fun way to drop a dress size in a day.

After the meeting (which went well) I had the option of bus home or run? The big question! Popped up to the canal and along to Lochrin Basin and through the meadows. 4 more miles and 35.5 in the bag. Nipped into the co-op on the way home and bought 6 items, all fluids (and only 2 beers). Thirsty!

Monday, 28 July 2014

bike, run, swim, bike

AGF Day.

Far too long since I had spent some quality time with Amanda and Scott. Unfortunately Scott was working on Saturday so he didn't join in till after 5. Before that Amanda showed me around Dalkeith Country Park and we met up with Lucy for a swim. However first up I got a tour of the garden which is fantastic and mostly down to Farmer Scott's handywork. And a look at the new summerhouse before the official opening later in the day.

Alpines in troughs

homemade cucumber


an onion tree


a trough panorama
 you can see some indecision and fan-dancing in the grass background and the trough is normally more rectangular

to mark the occasion of the new summerhouse the red arrows (and a goose) did a fly past

Then we went for a run.

there's always one

technically I (nearly) didn't break any rules

I'm still not sure the best way to honour some of the oldest oaks in Scotland is to screw a plaque to them.

This is my proudest moment with the new camera. 
The confluence of the North and South River Esks. Left Amanda sits in front of the North, the whole Esk is in the middle travelling away from us and twin Amanda over on the right is standing in front of S River Esk. 

Until this run I had only ever done Dalkeith Country Park with Bert on a Sunday. (And that Tri Trail race in the dark which for obvious reasons didn't shine any light on the place.) I assumed that was all the runnable places in DCP however Amanda has spent a few years becoming familiar with all of the trails and they are fab. Lots of very pleasant running, a few undulations and lots of good things to see and photograph. Like these chaps.....!

bacon sandwich

the orangery

a ginkgo biloba tree with distinctive fan shaped leaves.
(I am reliably informed.)

So, after about 2hrs and 10 miles we drove to Yellowcraigs 
and wondered how we would find Lucy.
Hang on, who's that knocking on the rear windscreen?
I did wonder what the brown bag near Lucy's feet in this pic was. The panorama mode has missed Harris's head. Oops.

I went for a swim with Lucy (not to the Bass Rock!) but when AGF went in Harris tried to rescue her, so she stayed on the beach with the doggies while we swam over to some rocks then back. Then Lucy looked after Harris while Amanda then had a swim and I took some photos. I had the camera in an aquapac which is not really for a compact with such a long nose which distorted the window and made the underwater shots artistic.

"But I have to save her!"

I spent a long time taking many photos trying to get this shot - with some above water and some below water action. This was the first one I took.

With the long lens you could zoom in to see the lighthouse keepers having their tea.
(Fish again.)

It was a beautifully calm evening (and the occasional shower discouraged the last of the daytrippers) which inspired more deeper water swimming than I have ever done. Also I had better kit and ear plugs to keep the water from filling up my empty head and causing an imbalance in my swim bladder. And I nearly totally blanked out the word SHAAAAAARK! from the front of my head where it normally flashes blue and red neon when I am out swimming. Even in a place where it is geographically unlikely I'll be savaged by one. Spielberg has a lot to answer for. There is something about swimming outside under the sky that makes me very relaxed and hungry afterwards. Luckily we were booked in for the official opening of the summerhouse and a Steak and Freekeh (out-trending Quinoa) salad. Perfect ending to a perfect day although technically that was cycling home in the drizzle but we'll skip over that.

Summerhouse: officially open for business!

If you find yourself in DCP I highly recommend the route in red.