Ben Lomond with a difference

Last night I had another unhand down Ben Lomond but this one was a bit different and we ended up at the A&E at Paisley!

Jonny & Frances couldn’t make it this week so it was Katrina, Steven and I.  Katrina hadn’t been feeling too well since her run on Sunday so decided to go up and down the tourist path.

Steven & I set off up the Ptarmigan Ridge.  Steven led for the first 45mins or so and then I took over for the final push.  It was such a warm night and we were sweating buckets! I love the views you get as you climb.


We kept a good pace up and reached the top in about 1hrs 20mins. I got a great photo of Steven as he approached the trig.


We spent a few minutes enjoying the superb views all around and obviously took a photo which will be the last one of Steven’s forehead without a scar!!


I wondered when we would see Katrina or maybe she was on her way down.  Within a couple of minutes she appeared so we encouraged her to go the top before heading down.

Steven only took 35 mins to descend last week so I knew I would have trouble keeping up with him.  So after a few minutes I encouraged Steven to run down at his own pace and I waited for Katrina.NOVATEK CAMERA

Katrina & I made our way down chatting and enjoying the view.  A group of about 8-10 mountain bikers went past us on the way up. We both agreed we wouldn’t fancy that!

On the way down we saw a stone with a lot of blood all around it.  I said to Katrina I hope that’s not Steven’s but we couldn’t see him so I hoped it was just a bad nose bleed from one of the cyclists.

We also had a chat with a group of foreign tourists who were camping and making their evening meal.  Then a guy said, ‘Your friend has had a fall.’

We then saw Steven holding his t-shirt on his head. He pulled it away to reveal a massive cut. A big section of his skin was hanging down.  It was not a pretty sight but I didn’t want to scare him.

We walked down with him telling the guy who very kindly stopped to go on.  After a few minutes I remembered that I’d put a first aid kit in my bag so we stopped and put a sterile plaster over the worse of the wound and wound a bandage on to keep it in place and clean.

I was tempted to take a photo before I put the bandage on but it felt a bit insensitive!! I did take a photo once we got down though! NOVATEK CAMERA

I drove Steven in his car to Paisley A&E while Katrina picked up Kirsty in our car.  Thankfully A&E wasn’t too busy and within a few hours Steven had been seen to but it took 14 stitches to sew it back together.stitches

Steven has written up his account on his blog which make interesting reading as well!

Thankfully Steven is alright but will have a permanent reminder of his second trip up Ben Lomond!

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Weekend Runs on the Gleniffer Braes

Another two runs on the Braes this weekend but they were very different.

Saturday 19th July

I had swimming lessons at 10am so was up and out by 7.10am for my 9mile loop.  Right from the start I felt pretty good and without really pushing too hard I was able to average 9.13 pace which I was pleased with.

The weather was fine and the track dry and easy to run on.  I had another example of running helping me to think about things.  I’m reading David Walsh’s book ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ about Lance Armstrong at the moment and the title has puzzled me.  What are the seven deadly sins?  As I was running it came to me …. Lance’s seven Tour de France wins!  Doh!

Anyway a solid run feeling strong without too much effort.  If only all runs were like this!

In the evening our family went to Escape to play 10 pin bowling for Yonas’ birthday. I won’t mention the result!!


Katrina and I then went to the Dress Rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.  It was excellent and we are looking forward to the real thing on Wednesday.  We got soaked getting there and queueing up but thankfully it stopped raining just before it started.

Sunday 20th July

I had my venue specific training at Glasgow Green in the afternoon so I was able to run a little later.  I set off at 8.30am to do my 16mile loop which is one and three quarter of the large loop.

I felt a bit sluggish as I set off but thought that I’d feel better as the run went on but if anything I got more sluggish!  The first lap wasn’t too bad and I took a few photos ….

Braes - reservoir


I ran past a herd of Highland cows …

Braes cows


Past the trig point which is the highest point of the route ….

braes trig

The ferns are really high now and I had to fight my way past them ….

braes ferns

Then back to the gate which marks the start and finish of my ‘large loop’ ….

braes gate

The second three quarter loop was hard work!  I was feeling really hot and felt I ran out of energy.  I think my runs from the week and other activities (cycling and kayaking) caught up with me!

I also think I need to take an energy drink if I’m going over a couple of hours.  But it’s all good training as you need to learn to keep going when you feel sluggish!

Another factor was I added a few more items to my rucksack.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been adding an item or two each week until I reach the pack weight I’ll need for the Tour of Skiddaw and Hardmoors 60.

I made it back in time to have a quick shower and then head off to Glasgow Green for my training. My shifts at Scotstoun start on Wednesday so that should be interesting.


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Midweek runs

On Wednesday/Thursday this week we (Glasgow Active Schools) had a team building couple of days based at Blairvadach, Glasgow City Council’s Outdoor Pursuit Centre, near Helensborough.

We arrived for 4pm and on Wednesday night we went to Finnich Gorge where we went gorge walking. It is on the road from Glasgow to Drymen and I must have passed this spot hundreds of times and never knew it was there.  It was great fun.

I took my SJ1000 camera in its waterproof case and it worked well.  Here is a photo of me on the Devil’s Pulpit …

NOVATEK CAMERAOn Thursday we had a day out on Loch Lomond in canoes and kayaks.  We had the option of the more sedate canoes or the quicker more exciting kayaks.  I went for the latter!

I like this photo with Ben Lomond in the back ground …


I wanted to fit in a couple of runs so ran home from work on Wednesday lunchtime and went for a run from Blairvadach on Thursday morning.  I did try and get a few of my fellow Active Schools Coordinators to join me at 7am but they had taken the opportunity of having a few drinks on Wednesday night so declined the offer.

I felt good on both runs but I could feel my quads after Tuesday’s Ben Lomond run which is good as it means I did thrash them!


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Ben Lomond Run

One of my key runs each week over the past couple of years when I’m building up to an ultra is my run up and down Ben Lomond. It’s an ideal run with over 3,000ft of ascent and descent.

It is also near enough from home to be able to do it in the evening after work. So with the Tour of Skiddaw and Hardmoors 60 coming up soon I plan to make the trip once a week for the next few weeks.

Last night Jonny, Frances and Steven joined Katrina and I for the run.  This was to be Steven’s first ever Munro though I think I was more excited that he was! I did feel like his Dad at one point insisting that he took a jacket!

We met at Drymen and headed down to Rowardennan in one car.  My camera was back from China repaired and ready to be used again so I took a few photos …..

At the start …. a little dark this one!

BL01We went up our normal route on the Ptarmigan Ridge and down the tourist path.  I love the view you get after just 15mins or so of climbing ….

BL02Jonny & Frances (nice hair band Jonny!) …. BL03

On the way up it’s mainly fast walking but there are a few sections where you can run …BL04

Steven led the way up and was going really well. The final push ….

BL05As it was Steven’s first Munro I felt he deserved a photo on his own next to the trig point.


Then we told him he has to climb on top as this is the highest point he’s been.

BL08We also got a photo of us all.


The key part of this run though is the downhill as it thrashes the quads and strengthens them.  As soon we headed down Steven was away. Katrina described him as a puppy let of the lead.  We didn’t see him until the bottom.

The rest of us made of our down running all the way.  We passed a couple of groups of walkers who were interested to know what we were doing.  It was left to me to explain we were training for the 44 mile Tour of Skiddaw race. Each time as I left them I could hear them saying to each ‘That’s impressive’ or words to that effect!

We arrived back at the car park in 2hrs 32mins so a good steady effort.  Next week we’ll aim to be a little quicker as our quads strengthen.

Time for a final photo before heading home …BL09

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Emma and Yonas

I know this is a blog mainly about running but my family occasionally get a mention! Yesterday our daughter Emma and her husband Yonas spoke at Hopehall Evangelical Church in Paisley about their life and work in Indonesia.

Yonas shared his story about how he became a Christian and Emma translated.  Obviously we are biased but it’s a very moving story.  I made a video of it for friends and family who weren’t able to come.

It’s lasts just under 25mins ….

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Gleniffer Braes Run with Steven

This morning Steven H joined me for my 11 mile loop on the Braes.  Steven has a place for the Glenmore 12hr race at the beginning of September which will be by far his longest race.  We chatted about his training plan amongst lots of other things and the miles flew by.

I’ve ran almost 44miles this week and feel I’m getting back to a decent level of fitness. I think the 5-6 weeks of easy running after the Hardmoors 110 has done me good and I can now build up again.

After the run we all headed off to Hopehall Church where Emma and Yonas were sharing about their life and work in Indonesia.  Yonas shared his testimony of how he became a Christian and Emma translated.  It was very moving and there weren’t many dry eyes in the hall!  I videoed it as a few friends and family couldn’t make.  It’s uploading to YouTube as I type so I’ll put it on my blog tomorrow if anyone would like to see it.

We also decided to have a Christmas lunch as they were in Indonesia in December.  We had a lovely meal ….Christmas meal

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Gleniffer Braes

Katrina and I went to Hampden last night to watch the Diamond League Athletics.  We really enjoyed it though was a bit disappointed that the crowd was a bit sparse.  I wonder whether the ticket prices put people off.  When I saw them at £35 I didn’t buy any but when I was offered them for £10 as a clyde-strider (Commonwealth Games volunteer) I was really keen.  I wonder whether they would have had bigger crowds if they started at £10.  Anyway it was a great evening with the Men’s 5,000m the highlight for me ….


It’s amazing what they done in building a track on 8foot stilts over the Football pitch.  It looks as though it is a fast track by the number of pb’s. The Commonwealth Games are going to be very special there.

This morning I was up and out by 7.40am as I had swimming lessons from 10.30am.  I did my 9 mile Gleniffer Braes loop and concentrated on running to my heart rate.  I was aiming to keep it under 130.  There were a few hills where I continued to run so my HR did go over 140 but generally I was disciplined and it does feel a lot easier.

I really feel back into my again now after 6 weeks of easy running after the Hardmooors 110.  Speaking of which … my race report features in the latest episode of the excellent publication Ultra Tales.

One of the factors that I feel has really helped me in my running over the past 18 months is getting my weight down a bit.  For the West Highland Way Race last year I was 1 11st 6lbs and the same for the Hardmoors 110 this year.

I thought I’d weigh my myself at the pool where I teach today and I’ve crept up to 12st olbsweight

So my plan over the next few weeks is to lose 6-7 lbs which I feel definitely helps me to run better.  Today’s is Hollie’s 22nd birthday and we are all going out for a meal so I might have to add a few lbs on the the total I need to loose!

I’ll be back up on the Braes tomorrow for my 11 miles loop.

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