Seeking asylum in the hills & transcendence on the trails

It stayed dry on the West Highland Way

….and it wasn’t even Highland Fling Day!

Had a cracking run last Friday. Weather (from nowhere) turned, and it was a fantastic blue-sky day for running across some familiar but inspiring trails.

I parked up in Drymen, and took the WHW over Conic Hill to Balmaha. From there it was on to my most dreaded section of WHW to Rowardennan. I don’t really know why – the trail itself is good, the views are great. It just always feels much longer than it is whenever I’ve run it (and particularly in a race).

At Rowardennan there was something missing (other than the wee toilets – what happened to them?). Took me a while to work it out…..Midges! No midges and the sun was out – all very strange. From there I headed up Ben Lomond.

Being a Friday the Ben wasn’t too busy, passing only a few walkers on the way up. Being the closest Munro to Glasgow it does get it’s fair share of visitors ‘fae the toon’. On a clear day though it does have some spectacular views from the top.








Once I re-packed my camera safely 😉 It was a fast and enjoyable descent back to Rowardennan. Can never understand how it can be that runners are so very annoying to so many hill-walkers. Maybe they’re just generally grumpy, maybe they think that the hills belong to them. Either way, I’ll keep on being friendly and smiling – you won’t break me!

It was then a matter of getting back to Drymen – along that stretch I hate and back over Conic Hill. I ran out of water long before Balmaha and I was getting pretty tired. For a mile or so I made a couple of phone-calls just to take my mind off the running. I was delighted to finally see the Oak Tree pub at Balmaha. I headed straight for the bar – a bottle of water and a can of fizzy pop was exactly what I needed before I made my way across the empty carpark to the steep climb of CH and the final 8’ish miles.

Was becoming aware of the fading light at the top after a few photos and with no headtorch had to put in a shift to get back before it got too dark.





Soon enough the moon was out and it was dark a mile before I reached the main road at Drymen. It was nice to reach the car and to get some food and drink. My feet were fairly sore – my heels in particular having run the 37 miles without socks. I could tell that there might be a little bit of pain to come when I first stepped into a warm bath at home.

The sockless barefoot / minimal running shoe approach isn’t right for all conditions I guess.

It won’t stop me 🙂

All in all, it was a tough day and I was happy with the training. Wasn’t exactly the quickest run I’ve ever done, but with almost 8,000ft of ascent it wasn’t exactly the easiest.

4 responses

  1. Marko

    Superb 🙂

    October 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm

  2. Lilacswizzle

    In the words of dizzie rascal- bonkers!! Well done Paul x

    October 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

  3. What a shift that was dude ! I find Rowerdennan to Beinglas Farm more of a slog ;-/

    October 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

    • I know. That’s a tougher section as it’s difficult to get a decent pace going from Inversnaid. Don’t know what it is, just never enjoy it!

      October 24, 2011 at 9:44 pm

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