Decided to go back to the Pentlands today for my long run and do what we intended to do last time we went and do 2 circuits of what we call the low level route. The weather out the window didn't look too promising but the BBC weather said it would be dry with sunny spells so I chose to believe that.
On the van on the way out it was difficult to ignore the fact it was actually raining and that clouds were scudding across the sky, powered by a strong, cold wind. I got a bit lost on the way also because I forgot where I was going and out of habit had headed out the Colinton road to where Peter is working before I realised what I was doing. I had to cut back through never before driven roads, passing the old psychiatric hospital at Craighouse before I got back on track.
At the Flotterstone carpark it was distinctly grey and windy but I felt okay anyway. Off I trotted.
This is the 1st long run I've done on my own in a long time and so I was determined to keep the pace truly comfortable. I was a bit bored for the 1st three miles which are uphill and into the wind, feeling that I had nothing to think about, but this passed. I amused myself trying to dodge puddles which there were a-plenty and listening to the random rubbish going on in my head.
As I headed down to Threipmuir reservoir I remembered that last time we'd been here the path had been closed. Was it going to be closed again today, meaning I'd have to reclimb that nasty hill up from the car park at Red moss?
The path was indeed closed so after weighing up my options I decided to head back up the long hill and cut round the side of Black Hill. Before I went back up however, I wanted to explore what was across the road from the Red moss carpark. I'd seen an intriguing looking path going the opposite way a few times but had always been too busy on a mission to explore further. What I discovered was a raised wooden walkway over the local boggy vegetation. Presumably its for bog enthusiasts and twitchers but is no different from mountain bikers North Shore (whyever its called that). It was great to run over anyway. Some of the planks are collapsing a bit so I had to be careful but mostly it was a glorious wee run. I think more of the countryside should have a raised wooden walkway through it.
Back to Black Hill then, stopping to eat some of today's trial food - very good - Boots "cereal bars" - indistinguishable from chocolate bars but I'll go along with it - and pitted dates. Both things went down easily and sat well. It was hard to leave some for the next stops though.
The run round the side of Black Hill has obviously been seeing more use as an alternative path to the road at the side of Threipmuir so it wasn't as nice as usual. It is very, very muddy and boggy. I had my road shoes on so it wasn't easy going and my feet are filthy...Nothing much happened for a while. A minor incident with a dog that wanted me badly held by a pinch-faced bad tempered looking owner. Nothing of note. Coming up the hill the wind was behind me and it didn't seem much effort. Coming down the path between Black Hill and Harbour hill was easy going though wet. It felt good in an odd sort of way to head back up the road to the Howe for lap 2 because at least that meant I was getting into the latter stages.
The weather got really pretty filthy for a while and there was nothing to do but plod on with my head down. The mist was swirling around the tops and the wind was blowing rain right into my face. Just after the Howe I had an unscheduled stop as I had to wait for a flock of sheep to pass over the narrow red path. I knew if I moved or hassled them they'd panic and take longer so I just stood quietly and took pictures of them, getting a bit cold.
As I set off up the side of Black Hill for the second time the sun unexpectedly came out and gave me a massive boost. All of a sudden the rather bleak looking landscape was transformed. The Forth looked blue and the still snow-capped hills of Fife looked magnificent in the distance. I could feel the warmth of the sun on the backs of my legs and I felt comfortable and happy. Maybe I can get into this ultra-malarkey after all!
Climbing up the hill was again easy with the wind behind me and everything looking better. I paused to take a photo at the top of the last hill at 19 miles or so.
My legs stayed in reasonable condition - a bit achy at times but nothing too bad - I think keeping a really moderate and consistent pace helped this. I ran down the other side of the hill thinking of a fat man I'd seen exclaiming "Sheeee-it" in a film and trying to think who it was. Was it the Sheriff out of the Dukes of Hazzard or was it Every Which Way but Loose - or what the hell's the name of that film with the guy with the black hair and the thick black moustache? Or is that the same film? With such lofty stuff going on inside you can understand it wasn't long til I was back at the van, my last mile being the fastest one of the day. Altogether 21.68 hilly miles. Time to get a shower.