Monday, 14 July 2014

good times at baddinsgill recce

Steve had the very good idea that we do a recce of the Baddinsgill Round on Sunday. The race (we have Nick Brown of CAAC to thank) is on the 24th Aug and only £5. My feet and legs were a bit trashed from all that road stuff on Saturday so the idea of soft ground and scenery was appealing.

Steve was trying out his new shoes, the upmarket version of Fellraisers; Salomon Fellcross.
He said they were excellent.

The route (after a couple hundred yards of road to get warmed up) quite quickly becomes a long (at times steep) climb up to the first top.

After the first top is reached the route mostly stays above 1,300' and visits a further 5.5 hills. 

The race route avoids the usual Pentlands (C5, Skyline etc.) which you see in the distance but never get that close to. 

Although there are faint paths and sheep trods the route followed is not as obvious as the more familiar Pentland paths and there are fewer dog- and hill-walkers. Some of the dips are very damp though they are considerably drier this year than the last 2 years when you would risk losing a shoe in the several swampy areas.

The route is more rolling and runnable than the high tops of the Pentlands.

Between the hills there are a couple of damp spots. Last year you could have gone up to your waist in this pond so it was less daunting today.

I have done this race both times it was held and yet there were areas I had no recollection of. And there seemed to be more hills. Probably just a bit tired from Saturday.

It was very pleasant to be able to stop and take in the views. 
This is Baddinsgill Reservoir which is in centre of the circuit we run around.

Looking (N) East towards the usual suspects.

To the left of the dark shadow you can just see Arthur's Seat and the crags

We have come from the centre of the image along the rising ridge on the left and will be returning down from the right.

Lots of spongy ground and quite a lot of these berries. 

The descent off East Cairn Hill is pretty horrible. I lost sight of the leaders 2 years ago and took a bad line off the top here. However as most lines are bad and there isn't a path an idea might be to head back to the fence line and find the path.

There is a drop out point and marshal with jelly babies here. And a long slog up the next hill.

Looking back at East Cairn Hill: you come at it from the right side of this pic, and the path you want is down the fence line after you have visited the summit.

The next top, after which there is much good running.

The good bit!

Some red grass in the sunshine.

This path goes on for some time but keep your eyes peeled for a swing off to the left into unmarked heathery hell. You can either head in a straight line into the valley and up the next hill or follow the fence round to Wolf Crags and then head into heathery hell up to the next summit. I hadn't ever seen Wolf Crags up close and wondered where they were. We reckoned this (below) was they. Neither route is particularly advantageous!

They are well disguised and not easy to pick out from a distance.

Looking back you can see the fence line left of centre. A straighter line is to head from the horizon (top right) directly to David, travelling East of the crags (keeping the crags on your right.)

After the top you pick up the fence again - 2 miles to go.

Around here you might catch sight of the finish flags but you still have a wee dogleg* to the last summit and then a good fast downhill on delightful bouncy ground to the finish. *A marshal will prob be stood at the point where you cross the fence and contour across to the last smaller hill.

The last hill doesn't feel particularly small as you hike up it...

...but it's a grand line to the finish between the trees

The soft ground and hills mean this 11.4 miler takes maybe 30+minutes longer than half marathon if you are a seasoned hill runner. You will be required to carry usual hillrunning kit

It's a great local race and the course is in better shape than the last 2 years. More prizes this year! Also new for this year: a midday start to allow for travel, and all that scenery thrown in. (Which you won't see as you will be watching your feet.) Only 100 places.


  1. I was planning to do this race but hoping to enter on the day (or at least soon before it) - has it sold out on previous years?

  2. One of the reasons I was posting this blog was to draw attention to the race and drum up a slightly bigger entry as it has been only modestly attended for the first 2 years. It deserves more of a crowd although the parking is limited. Keep an eye on entry central as a lot of things have been suddenly selling out but I don't think this one will, but you never know. A lot of the hardcore hillrunners will be doing the Ochils2000s the day before and I think there is recognition if you do them both. My advice would be to save your energy for this one as it's much better, but then I'm not a fan of the soggy Ochils. If it gets up to 80 places sold I would get an entry. If it sells out all of a sudden speak to Nick, he is a gentleman and would probably sort you out for an entry on the day.
    I must actually purchase an entry myself after all this.