33 miles on a bacon roll
The Circo: the plan, captained by Jim H of Carnethy, to circumcise Edinburgh. 33miles starting from the Steading at Hillend and following the bypass to Porty, along the coast to Cramond then back round the bypass finishing with a couple of Pentland Hills, via several pubs along the way for refreshments.
The frosty 8.30am start from Hillend was a bit harsh, however the promised weather of sunshine all day helped considerably and it seemed more like a chilly Summer's day than a warm Winter one. What to wear and carry? I went for 2 long sleeved tops, shorts and Hoka road shoes. And carried a small pack with raincoat, half a litre of juice, some snacks and the camera. Gloves and hat. It turned out to be just right and although there was a bit of a chill wind, as long as we kept moving it was fine. About 20 started. Not everyone did the whole route and several joined at various points.
Around this point Jim had the masterful idea to phone ahead with our orders of sausage, egg or bacon rolls to the Espy. Now you would think that would have led to a streamlined service and efficient turnaround at the pub. Unfortunately the staff there lacked any resemblance of streamlined or efficient.
The Espy seems a pretty good place along the prom but the staff there from the couple I witnessed seemed a bit slow on their feet, maybe a bit hungover from the night before and not like they'd ever done the job before. The place was quite busy once the 20 of us and 5 more accompanying cyclists had piled in, but given the order was placed ahead of our arrival the service was pretty ropey with some people's rolls and coffee arriving as we were about to leave 25mins later.
Onwards from Porty to Granton and more unspectacular scenery. I was surprised by the lack of hills and lack of picturesque views along the route since most other long runs done with Carnethy (Alternative John Muir Way and Eskapade) feature both lots. This seemed to be a run round the bypass after Cramond. I was wondering if I was just a bit tired and cranky after a long week wallpapering at Longniddry. Jim made no apologies and said Cramond and Cammo were quite pretty. And they were but quickly followed by the Gyle and the tram depot and some high fences near the airport which are not. The route has more logic to it than prettiness, and as you can see from the profile above the map, even fewer hills. I was glad we had saved those for the end; if we had done the route the other way round it would have been nice at the start and deteriorated all the way round. Just in case it was tiredness colouring my mood I had a Red Bull at the next stop, The Starbank, which breaks up the long tarmac stretch at Granton. I think I then chatted non-stop for the rest of the day to anyone who would listen.
Next stop Cramond Inn and more runners joined us here. I had the first booze of the day though at under 3% it was more just rehydration. This was about 20 miles in. We now had the prospect of 12 miles of up-hill to the summit of Allermuir.
Round about Hermiston/Riccarton Jim our glorious leader quit. He had never been planning on running the whole way but Deputy Nash (who knew the route) had also been struck down with the same or similar lurgy and failed to show. It was shame because he missed the best bit. When I say best I mean the only really good bit, which was up into the Pentlands. Before then we had a catch up in the Kinleith Arms in Juniper Green where a pint of IPA disappeared like magic. It was also time to fish out a small sandwich I had made and jammed into the bottom of my pack. Which just about kept me going to the end around 5pm (- 7hrs of running over 8.5 hrs)
We went into the hills via Blinkbonny, Water of Leith path and Bonaly car park. As we climbed (similar route to the one we took during the 7Hills/Skyline Mash Up) the late afternoon sun got more and more spectacular. I had to restrain myself from taking photos every 10 steps. Due to the modest pace I found I had plenty in the tank although my hamstrings had been tight and sore from about 10 miles, I think from all the cycling (without stretching enough.) By the time we got to the top of Allermuir the scenery was breathtaking; a brilliant finish to a route (all done in very jolly company) but I wouldn't be in a terrific hurry to repeat the first two thirds. Big thanks to Jim for organising from his sick bed, and to Jill and Jim for coming to pick me up from home at 7.45am after Micah broke himself playing football the night before. It is nothing short of disgraceful for me to then slag off his lovely urban run-around-town. It wasn't just me though. Check out Digby's scenes of derelict wastlelands of Danderhall photos on the Carnethy fb page.