Monday, 18 January 2016
Why you shouldn't do the same thing every day.
On Thursday it had looked like Saturday morning was going to be clear and sunny and we had reluctantly agreed that what we really should do was go to the Pentlands in time for sun-up because it would be spectacular in the snow. Both of us were a bit glad when on Friday the forecast was saying it was going to be okay but kinda cloudy on Saturday instead. No need for heroics then. Plus Peter had ordered some new shoes that he wanted to pick up from Run4It and test out in the hills ahead of the Feel the Burns race on Sunday. So we didn't arrive early to the hills. Far from it. On the way into the car park at Flotterstone there was a queue of cars. Would we even get a parking space? Last time we'd been in this predicament, however, Ian Campbell of HBT had been there and just leaving, so he gave us his space. Maybe we'd get lucky again.
I decided to go round the back of the car park with the car - and as we were waiting for someone else to reverse out of a space we saw that the black Volkswagon in the space next to it had the letters WWF on the numberplate. I have a thing about number plates, maybe it's left over from hitch-hiking when I was younger, or maybe it's because I've got a toe on the first rungs of the spectrum - but I notice car number-plates and I remember them. "World Wildlife Fund" I said. (Peter's used to this.) "That's like Ben and Alison's car." And indeed it was. We were plunked next to our friends Ben and Alison and their two boys, who had had some kind of melt-down whilst sledging. Somebody got cold and then somebody got jealous of the attention the other one was getting for being cold. Tears and angry words had taken place. Is it wrong to count yourself lucky for being childless?
Anyway - it was lovely to see them - and we had to try to rein in the number of things we had to say as we hadn't seen them in a while. The boys were needing to go and we were needing to get up the hill as night-time, in his dark chariot, was fast approaching. Well not quite. It was after 1pm and not bright.
The hills were bloody marvellous and we enjoyed the whole thing so much. It's a cliche but being out in the snow made everything look magical - and it is great fun running in the hills when everyone around you is walking as you can wear a lot less and move a lot faster. We were also deliberately not pushing the pace at all as Peter had his race the next day. It meant it was comfortable and fun.
At the top of Scald law someone had made a mysterious portal out of wind-slab. An older couple offered to take our picture. It was all dramatic and beautiful.
After Scald Law we headed down just before East Kip to the Howe and ran back down the road. 8 miles and a couple of hours.
So the next day Peter was going to do Feel the Burns - and I wanted to do some more hill running. The Carnethy is fast approaching and I want to get as ready as I can for those nasty steep climbs.
I thought maybe I should go and do what we'd originally planned - and try to get up in those hills so I'd be at the top of Turnhouse for sun-rise. Or I thought about going round the other side of the Pentlands and setting off from Balerno, but it had snowed a bit the evening before and I was concerned that maybe the road up to the Red Moss car park might be slippy and difficult - so I went back to Flotterstone. I thought I could vary it a bit - go up the big hills on the way out but then maybe come back via Black Hill and Bell's Hill and maybe even Harbour Hill if I was having a good time.
I didn't quite make it in time, so the hills were turning pink just as I set out. There was more of a wind than there had been the day before. It was sharp and it was hard to linger for any amount of time at the tops. My camera battery seems to be losing the ability to hold a charge, so even though it was fully charged it started flashing a warning at me after I'd been using the zoom for only a couple of seconds.
The further West I got, the more drifted snow there was. The going underfoot had been pretty easy the day before, with just a light snow covering over obvious paths. But this morning some of the paths had all but disappeared. There were a lot of people at the Turnhouse end of the hills, but as I got further West there was just the odd heavily clad soul. The wind made it feel much more severe. I was adequately dressed - but only so long as I kept moving. Belatedly I thought maybe an extra top and a phone might have been an idea. As if to emphasise the point I tripped up on the way down from Scald Law and I did a full somersault before getting upright again - a bit dazed and muttering sweary words. All thought of adding in extra hills had melted away as I slogged up Scald law, post-holing in the deeper snow, - so I realised I was pretty much doomed to do exactly the same run as the day before. On the way down to the Howe, there was more drifting snow, and yet more post-holing. It was harder work and less fun than the day before. On the way down the road I knew what to expect so I was no longer caught up in admiring the spectacle of it all...but actually bored...tired...cold...hungry...and wanting to get home.
I got home and ate an enormous amount for lunch and then fell asleep, like a fat snake, on the sofa with the heater on. ZZZZZZZZZ the end.