Blogs from Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe


Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland March 14th 2020

It had been a fairly uneventful drive up north. Snow was covering the peaks in North Pennines, but fortunately the road was nice and clear. We stopped for a short wander in Gretna. The wedding business looked like it was needing a few extra customers, as indeed did the Outlet Village. The grey pound was still in evidence though and the Coronavirus had not yet dampened the enthusiasm to spend on unrequired purchases. Virus or no virus, the panic buying of toilet roll, beans and pasta earlier in the week had not been enough retail excitement. It was Friday 13th. Unlucky for some. The someone turned out to be me. The bad news arrived ironically, as the floodlights of Motherwell's Fir Park came into view from the M74. The Scottish Parliament were expressing a view the ... read more
Charles Rennie Mackintosh Mural, Clutha Bar, Glasgow
Cathkin Park, Glasgow
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Perthshire » Aberfeldy February 8th 2020

I had a bit of a hiatus of ideas over the summer and was patiently waiting for something decent to pop up. Then it happened! A group of us were assembling for the hill race at Killin Highland games in early August. Don Reid, Westies Stalwart and midweek race regular asked me if Killin was “K” in an A to Z of Perthshire. The seed germinated and after a couple of hours on google and using the appropriate OS maps, I had a plan which on paper looked pretty reasonable. A good mixture of running in beautiful places in an area famous for its autumn colours. A few days ago, I loaded Mogwai into the CD player and pointed the car north toward Aberfeldy. A fine place to start as I could do a circular run, ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Perthshire February 8th 2020

After the first part of the A to Z of Perthshire which was a nice circular run starting and finishing in Aberfeldy , it was time for something a bit more problematic. The run itself was reasonably straight forward. Lots of trail and over two race routes I had ran previously . My anxiety revolved around getting to the start and then returning to the car afterward.Achievement one – I arrived at Ballanluig a good fifteen minutes before the bus to Aberfeldy was due to depart – I toasted the lack of traffic action at regular trouble spots Hermison Gait , The Queensferry Crossing and The Broxten Roundabout with a cup of tea in a café as I waited for the bus. The bus dropped me where I had stopped the previous week and just to ... read more
02 dewars
03 grandtully
05 Edradour

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Perthshire » Blair Atholl February 8th 2020

I really must buy some new maps. Not that there was a geographical issue with the 1984 version of OS sheet 43 Braemar to Blair Atholl. It is always the memories that floor me. Using maps from a by gone age take me back to my days as a race snake in the mid eighties where distance and height was no object for a day out. Sheet 43 has a number of good days on it. These included a trot over my favourite munros Ben a Ghlo and Cairn Laith. Also there was a great long day leaving Aviemore around 09:30 and making Blair Atholl for a leisurely pint before boarding the 17:40 train – causing much amusement in the Greenmantle pub after Tuesday intervals when I explained my absence later that evening. 35 years later, ... read more
03 Garry Bridge
04 Neolithic Stone
05 Blair Castle Hydro Plant

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Perthshire » Pitlochry February 8th 2020

After a couple of stages which had been fraught with logistical challenge, I to M was a totally breeze. Indeed, I was so confident that I could pull this run off without any risk of becoming a Hitchcock style murder victim that I invited guests. Even better, we arrived on time so Don Reid, life long Westie , top trail runner Lucy Colquhoun, Otto and Isaac left the Iron Bridge after parking 50 metres away at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre. I was confident this would be a run that Don, Lucy and the dogs would enjoy and the wee warm up to the John Muir Trust shop on the High Street gave a nice illusion of progress. Even better was to follow as we left the tarmac of the High St and found a wee riverside ... read more
02 John Muir Trust
03 Killiecrankie Soldiers Leap
04 Linn Of Tummel

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Perthshire » Blair Atholl 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 ... read more
03 Netherton Burn
04 path at River Garry
05 Old Bridge of Tilt

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Perthshire » Pitlochry February 8th 2020

Water is a defining element of Perthshire and its winter monsoons define its rivers and lochs. The next section of the Perthshire A to Z , while yielding only a single letter, would keep water in the forefront of my mind. The rain of the previous week had eased but continued to fall. Nonetheless, after a gap of a few weeks it was good to get back This section eased me back in with ten miles – 60% of which were off road – between Old Blair and Port na Craig. Easy was the theme of the day as I had plenty time leaving Blair Atholl with a generous 2 and ½ hours to make the returning train from Pitlochry station. My fitness had been a bit up and down since the previous leg in mid ... read more
02 pheasant
03 Soldiers Leap
04 Railway Viaduct

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » East Lothian » North Berwick February 4th 2020

Recently I read Silence by Erling Kagge . Written by the Norwegian polar explorer , I expected a tale of loneliness and a verging on insanity tale of his experiences in the polar extremes. The book touched on his solo South Pole expedition , however its value was much more and touched a chord with many aspects of the running different objective. Erling was quick to point out that you did not need to venture to the ends of the earth to experience silence and, happily for those of us looking , it can often be found closer to home. Earlier in the week I drove the twenty miles down the road to North Berwick and set off for one of my favourite runs – an hour westward along the beach , turn and then retrace ... read more
Bass Rock from North Berwick West Golf Course
World War Two Bunker

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh January 28th 2020

28th Jan: I have been to Edinburgh several times and it is a place I really, really like. I have seen and done quite a few of the major sights in the city, so I searched for some new or different (to me) things to do. Since I would be arriving in the early evening, I decided to do one of the ghost tours that go into the vaults under the city later in the evening. The tour I booked started at 9:30 pm. The meeting point was a short walk away from where I was staying. There were only about ten people on the tour so it wasn't too busy. First, we walked around to the back of St. Giles, which had been a graveyard. I think most of the bodies had been removed, but ... read more
Edinburgh Castle
Street Art
Surgeons' Hall Museums

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Angus » Dundee January 21st 2020

Everyone will remember their marathon PB. Mine was set in Dundee in a typical dreich day with sleight falling for the second half of the race. I had felt very good travelling up and was delighted before hand to meet footballer Tommy Walker who had been a most cultured midfielder for Airdrie during the late seventies and early eighties. I will never forget the end of the race, clearing the finishing area and seeing my dad running towards me, my face etched in delight after crashing under three hours with eight minutes to spare. Bracing myself for congratulations, my old man’s first words were “Tommy Walker did 2:39”. Thanks Dad! 33 years have passed making the A to Z of Dundee in contrast to that day. There was a heatwave rather than snow and the run ... read more
Bash Street named after The Beanos finest
Caird Hall - or is it The kremlin
Chin up - its hot !

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