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Published: February 8th 2020
Autumn clock change and the onset of early darkness is a bit of a challenge for every runner and a sure sign that the depths of winter are approaching. The transition from long summer days in simmet and shorts to wrapped up running through the winter gloom is continually a difficult adaptation. Im lucky – shift work and more days off by doing longer working hours allows me the opportunity to almost always run in daylight. Its just that “daylight” in November and December can be very grey.
Every good day for the rest of the year is a bonus and after some challenging weather last week, I was lucky to eek out the brightest of autumn days as I collected more letters on the Perhshire A to Z. Again, I was mostly retracing my steps and after parking the car on a side street in Pitlochry, I jogged up the hill to The Moulin Inn
to restart the run proper. I looped down past the golf course , enjoying the bright sunshine and was soon on the bridge over the end of Loch Faskally as I sought out the road used previously to finish runs to “I” and “M”.
This time, I extended past the Coronation Bridge over the River Tummel (taking a decent picture of the Clunie Arch) , as I searched for the Netherton Burn
. In comparison to its neighbours, it’s a modest water course that flows in Loch Tummel directly south of the Queens View on the other bank. It is unnamed on the OS map but is badged on google maps. I was grateful of this as “N” is on short supply in this part of the county. It did offer peace, solace and decent views west which I will explore in future days. Today I was returning to a favourite haunt - the forest alongside the River Garry. Despite the deluge of rain in the previous week, I didn’t discern any change in water levels – the dark pools remained brooding and the white rapids remained gushing.
I doubt I will ever be bored running here. In contrast, I don’t think I will ever fully relax running along the footway free road to Blair Atholl. The straights were fine however there are a couple of tight bends at the south end of the village that necessitate a leap onto the narrow verge
if a car is coming. Im happy to take responsibility for my own safety however don’t want to inflict this sort of terror on others. Hence the leg was done solo.
I was delighted to reach the village and the footpath that marked houses and normality. Then on the right was the wee back road that contained a double whammy of “O”. Firstly there is the hamlet of Old Bridge of Tilt
– a collection of houses close to the old bridge over the River Tilt that winds its way up the glen past my favourite munros – Carn Laith and Bein A Ghlo. This however was not the “O” I was finishing at as I ran on a further mile to reach Old Blair
. The feature point of this is an old churchyard that backs onto the Blair Castle estate.
I hoped to jog across the estate to reach the railway station however every gate had a sign saying “Don’t enter here without a castle ticket” . Im usually very stubborn about this sort of thing however was in a more conforming mood so continued on the wee road. Very surprisingly this took me with a few
yards of Blair Castle itself and I can imagine the Duke of Atholl choking on his afternoon sherry as an aged runner jogged past who could easily have been hidden in the trees.
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