Wednesday, 27 December 2017


Boxing Day was special. In years gone by Graham Henry would organise a Pentlands run on Boxing Day. He hasn't been running of late so we took to the hills ourselves having seen but not believed the forecast - quite opposite to the dreary weather of xmas day. Would the sun really shine all day? Hell yes it did. And what fell as rain on the capital must have fallen as a large dump of snow on the hills. This combination, snow and blue skies, happens once or twice a decade and we considered ourselves blessed. It was utterly fabulous. Well in terms of scenery and photos. I did wonder were we adequately dressed at points, although it was my fingers and not my bare legs that complained most.

I doubted there would be spaces in Flotterstone car park as we were late setting off. Mary had the faith and sure enough a car was leaving just as we arrived and we got one of the few places available. Most of the occupants weren't going further than the first slope you could sledge down. Or unaccountably just walking up the edge of the reservoir and then back to their cars. But you really had to get up on the hills to enjoy the best of it.

As we got up towards the top of Turnhouse a swirl of cloud and spindrift blew in making it feel very wintry. There was a stiff breeze and it wasn't weather for hanging about. I ran down to where Mary was taking photos and then back up again just to keep warm. Strange that a folded buff was plenty to keep my ears warm and yet I had to keep swapping my camera from one hand to the other while flexing fingers, the whole time we were on the ridge, to keep my fingers from freezing. I wished I'd taken my thicker gloves although my core felt warm enough with just a t-shirt and merino wool long sleeve. And the shorts raised a few eyebrows. 

as swirls of snow and cloud blew over we caught brief sightings of the Brocken Spectre
this is as close as I got to a photo - the slight rainbow circle round a silhouette in the sky

There was a considerable difference in perceived cold on the tops vs between the hills and I suggested that after Scald Law we drop down to the Howe and return along by the reservoirs I could feel my hands aching and recalled 5 years ago nearly getting caught out in the snow here. Even though we know these hills really well, some postholing through knee deep snow is all it takes to slow progress to the point you stop generating enough heat to stay warm. 

So we turned right and dropped down to the Howe, but not before meeting Digby who was coming down from Scald Law summit and wasn't best pleased about the amount of lumpy snow and slippy icy bits obscuring the paths and making things treacherous. I told him the path was much better over the hills we had just crossed but suspect the way he had come and was obliged to return by was less well travelled and he would have to break trail for more of his journey. 

photo Mary


oops, man down!
there was a fair bit of this sort of thing

The change in climate was considerable. Fingers stopped aching and the only thing demanding attention was the icy patches of frozen puddles. A bit boring to be down to flat tarmac but a lot warmer than the hike over Black Hill which wouldn't have been easy going on top. We ran down the road past squawking kids and rabid dogs, glad they rarely bother going up into the hills. What a day!


  1. Beautiful scenery Pete not like grey, wet Norfolk.

  2. Ha! Today was pretty grey right enough. Lots of snow but grey dead light and poor conditions for the monthly long run that will be blogged here in due course. And worse to come over the weekend.