Following on from the Trail Team 2014 selection weekend, in the lakes, a reunion with some of these mighty fine runners was always on the cards…! 😉 As it is with ‘life’, sadly some of our neighbouring ‘brothers and sisters’ couldn’t make the suggested weekend, even after a few date changes – all the more of an excuse for Reunion No.2! 😀 I can see the billboards for the sequel now – “Trail Team Reunion No. 2” They’re back once more, this time they’ve brought cake and they mean business…!
You’ll notice that my blog for last weekend is a tad late, and that generally I’ve been rather quiet on the blog front. This is due to me still focusing hard – notice I didn’t say ‘training hard!’ 😉 recovering from my West Highland Way Race and maintaining form for the up and coming North Face UTMB!!!!! It might also have had something to do with the fact that I’ve only just managed to get the use of my right hand back today, after plucking around 27 thistle needles from it. Thanks to a slight stumble during some extreme downhill running, that ended up with me landing ‘softly’ amongst some of our country’s very own iconic ‘flower’ – erm… weed!?!’ 😉 Though it might also have been due to me giving a sporting ‘High5’ to Clyde the Commonwealth Games Mascot, in Glasgow, later that day! 😀
…with time being of the essence of late, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here, instead I’m going to ‘recycle’ the fantastic blog of our buddy Graham… Thanks mate! 😉
One of the key feelings that came out of the Trail Team weekend in Helvellyn was a sense of community from being around like-minded folks who regardless of background, were simply sharing trails and stories. Driving back north, one of the thoughts echoing was how to maintain and even build on that feeling and experience.
A few of us are based around the Glasgow / Edinburgh area and we have plenty of venues for a trail meet-up. After a wee series of emails, the Lomonds of Fife hill race route was chosen for a Sunday morning run with Ross and Lucja who had both been at Helvellyn. Lucja’s husband Dion and her friend Lonneke who was new to the hills were nice additions to the group as well.
We met in village of Stathmigo and headed up into the forest area which forms the early part of the race route. The pace was set to “leisurely chat” and we made our way along the forestry track up towards the small track which rises sharply up to the monument for Tyndall Bruce who died in 1855, whom together with his wife Margret were largely responsible for the development of the town of Falkland which lies in the shadow of the hills. Here we stopped for a regroup and to let the lungs recover a bit before continuing through the next forest section which leads onto the open hill.
Back onto a main track, we quickly nipped along the out and back to the summit of East Lomond which offers impressive views across to the next high point of the day, West Lomond. Instead of taking the easy option the route breaks slightly north to visit the site of the Iron Age fort Maiden’s Castle before dropping off and along the single track sheep trod which traverses the hill. Ross noted it looked a bit like running along something from Lord of the Rings and not somewhere you would want to trip and fall off of. The track comes to an apparent dead end before climbing a steep gully. Here we regrouped and recovered before the ascent, where again, we took a few moments before the last climb onto the summit of West Lomond.
The descent to the “Bunnet Stane” has to be experienced to be appreciated. Think on that dizzy feeling you get immediately before the drop on a rollercoaster and you’ll get the idea of this section! Various running styles were adopted but to describe any of them as being “light and fluffy” would be optimistic at very best, with the focus being firmly on as many points of contact with the ground as possible! Thankfully at the bottom of the slope, everyone was still intact so we continued down and round the Bunnet Stane itself. Here we spent a wee bit of time admiring the weird geology and taking photographs. No doubt about it, the level of interesting things to see trailside is almost always impressive.
As often happens, the chat turned to recent and upcoming adventures. Ross has had an awesome year with strong runs at Transvulcania and the West Highland Way leading up to his UTMB run next month, Lucja was fresh from her Race to the Stones 100km and looking forward to the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon in October with Dion, and Lonneke was increasing her training for Berlin Marathon in September. All were incredibly inspiring stories and without a doubt planted ideas in my own head for future events after my own target race of the Swedish Ice Ultra next February.
The next section of the route traverses the hillside heading eastward again before one last descent and the track back towards the start point. Lonneke briefly observed that, with a different route, we could have skipped the gully, summit, silly steep descent loop, but followed that comment with a smile indicating that the extra effort might have been worth it. With the end almost in sight, the pace increased to “nae chat” for a while before a gentle jog back to the cars just before the rain arrived.
A quick set of farewells and hugs were exchanged before we headed off in various directions again. The drive home was similar to Helvellyn and I caught myself already thinking about the next group run – #brawtimes indeed.” – courtsey of Trail Team 2014 member Graham
This just leaves me to thank Graham, for arranging this great wee adventure, as well as the rest of the crew for turning up and making this a ‘grand day oot!’ – also The team at Freestack – the guys behind the whole ‘adventure’ that is Trail Team 2014!!! 😀
And I’ll let the pics do the ret of the ‘talking…’