Before I got into running, my exercise of choice was walking, especially walking in the great outdoors. I joined a hill walking club within weeks of arriving in Scotland and spent my first few years here exploring the Highlands and Glens and bagging 44 Munros.
But then I got into running and and preferred to spend weekends pounding the pavements in town and somehow 18 months has passed without me getting into the hills at all. Last year I set myself the goal of going on a trail run, but never quite got around to it, but a few days of annual leave spent at home seemed the perfect opportunity.
I live about 20 minutes drive from Mugdock Country Park, just to the north of Glasgow, which is a good access point to the southern end of the West Highland Way, the 96 mile long distance route to Fort William. I have walked the southern stretches of the West Highland Way on a number of occasions so knew the paths were good and the hills minimal – very important for a first attempt!
I headed off mid morning and the way out was pleasant and easy with the first few miles sheltered by woods and hills, followed by a strong tail wind in the more open sections. I stopped a couple of times for photos and was happy that a remembered turn around point was just after the 5 mile mark, perfect for my 10 mile goal. I started to worry a little as I turned around, as the rain had started, the head wind stronger than I imagined, the uphill longer than I remembered running down, and I was tired. Possibly 10 miles was a little ambitious. However I walked the uphills, and once the route flattened out I got into my running rhythm and the miles started to fly by again.
I loved this run, being out with the hills, streams, lochs and sheep! I definitely see more trail runs in my future…
Oh look, new trail shoes 🙂