Tuesday, 19 September 2017

a hilly squirrel

the hilly squirrel:
an entire Skyline minus the worst bits at the start and finish 

The forecast for Sunday was much better than Saturday and yet it took a while for the clouds to clear. There were queues round the bypass yet again, and so it was after 2pm by the time we hunted for a parking spot in the jammed full Flotterstone car park. I was glad I had not stayed on at the Steading the night before after the Equinox run. Initially I didn't feel too hungover, and was glad Mary had saved her hill training for the better weather on Sunday.

we didn't race the longest climb up Turnhouse but still managed about 25mins


Scald Law

After Scald Law we went left to South Black Hill, following the Skyline route. Coming off we noticed a couple of runners legging it down Scald Law. We had thought we were the last skyliners of the day. They followed in our trail and were slowly catching up. We decided to keep them behind us for as long as possible. 

a couple of Penicuik Harriers, Rob and Gregor
following us up West Kip, in reality.....

still a whole hill behind

sheep on summit of Hare Hill

So we ran down West Kip and out the Drove Road to Hare Hill. I was pleased to have got that far without being caught, but had decided to stop for a protein bar on top of Hare Hill. Rob and Gregor went past and we exchanged pleasantries. By checking out a strava flyby Mary was later able to ascertain that they were doing a Carnethy 7 starting and finishing at the C5 start/finish, so they had not long started when we saw them first.

The coop have started selling these.
A bit gritty (with "some flavours that shouldn't be there") but ok.

I'd reckon Hare Hill is one of the worst of the Skyline - 
lots of splosh and tussocky ground that takes a lot of energy to cross

we descended the old route
I believe the new flagged route will be along to the right.

Somewhere about halfway up Black Hill I lost it. Possibly just low blood sugar or the hangover finally making itself known but I just started hating it. The wet soggy path was slippery and I wasn't much keener about running through the heather at the side. I was wearing Hoka Challengers rather than put on hill shoes, still wet from the day before. I couldn't face the thin soles of my older hill shoes over a long rocky run so wore the Hokas. Which were remarkably ok. And protected my tired feet. I didn't fall and only once took a bit of a skite. But around Black Hill I was cursing the wet Summer for making the path utterly shit. It will result in slow times in October for sure; even if the sun shines from now till then it will still be a slow waterlogged course. I was cursing all the hill shoes churning it up and making it worse. And there are a couple of deathly mud slides on the descent just before Bell's. I definitely lost my joie de vivre for an hour or so and it seemed a long way back to the car.

long haul up Bell's - narsty!

the most welcome 2-and-a-half stones of the skyline!

Slowly I began to feel better. As we ran on my optimism returned and I got caught up taking photos and appreciating the amazing landscape we were crossing. We had chosen to do the same route back to Flotterstone as last time contouring round Castlelaw, and it is a pleasant (mostly downhill) finish compared to the uglier Allermuir / Caerketton jumble of short and steep hills of the Skyline. In fact our 14.3 mile route was a far better Skyline course than the actual Skyline.

still smiling

Arthur with his head in the clouds

all downhill from here!

trundling down the contour round Castlelaw

We bumped into Madeleine out on her bike around here. The light was doing very pretty things on Turnhouse just before it disappeared behind the opposite hills. Something about the geography of the hills always makes photos taken here look tilted down to the left, unless you compensate. Something about the reservoir and receding hills on the right. Anyway it was very pleasing and gave us the lift needed to keep going the last mile back to the car park. We always seem to arrive at the Pentland Cafe (no photo this week) just as it's closing. Happily I managed to buy a delicious restorative cup of tea which was just what the non-alcoholic doctor ordered. Another good hill training weekend in the bag.

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