I was looking forward to getting back on the trails. I was keen to do a 25 mile run and thought about various options. In the end I decided to the 18 mile loop that Matt and Marco had shown me around Ben Lomond.
Initially I was going to start just before Salochy to get the extra 7 miles in but Jonny, who was coming with me, suggested a trip up and down Ben Lomond once we got to the tourist path. It ended up as 23.5 miles so I had to do an extra out and back to get my 25 miles for my Jantastic challenge.
I picked up Jonny at Drymen and we got to Rowardennan for a 10am start. It was a lovely day: cold but clear and a great temperature to run in. This would be our longest run for a while we both agreed to take it easy and enjoy the day.
About a mile or so from Rowardennan we came across a new path alongside the loch that is being build/improved on. Even though it said not to use it yet we decided to see what it was like!
To give you an idea of where it is ….
Compared to the higher ‘normal’ path …
It’s a great path and it is mostly completed. The drop down to one of the bridges still has a fair bit to do yet and the path just after that is being worked on.
In fact there were 3 guys working on the path as we ran past!
The route goes past the Rowehoish Bothy. Jonny was keen to have a look inside so we diverted off the path to have a look.
The path rejoins the top path about a quarter of a mile before the post where the path becomes a single path. I reckon it is 0.32 mile longer but 150ft less climbing. Parts of the path is similar to the section before Inversnaid and other parts in more similar to the more technical parts after Inversnaid.
We discussed whether the Fling and whw race would use this new path. Ideally I think it would be great as the path is more in keeping with the rest of the lochside path but I suppose the problem would be would it change the course too significantly to alter records and personal bests? Personally I would like to go with the lochside path.
We were both really enjoying being out on such a lovely day and the time flew by as we ran and chatted. We are both doing the Lakeland 100 race this year so we discussed that race at great length!
Once we arrived at the White Cottage we climbed over the gate and headed up the hill.
It is a very steep and long climb but you get some great views on the way. Once we were over the top and heading down again we could Ben Lomond in cloud but we hoped it might have lifted by the time we get there in a few hours’ time!
We stopped for lunch at a small bridge with a very spectacular view. I tried a variation on my sweet potato mash. I added in some baked beans and it worked really well so I’ll be adding that to my lift of foods that work.
Here is our view ….
During the run I also ate a bunch of yogurt coated peanuts, a trek bar and some cocoa covered almonds. Plus I drank 2 x 600ml of Matrix Energy Boost drink.
On the loop there is one section alongside a river and then heading across a grassy area that is definitely the toughest part of the loop. The area was covered in snow as well so it made it difficult to run much on that section.
Once we got to the tourist path we headed up to the top of Ben Lomond. The path was very icy so we walked up on the grass to the side. The mist was down so the last 1,000ft or so was in mist. Plus it was getting very windy so we put on our jackets to keep the wind out.
There were quite a few people heading down the hill most of them in full waterproofs, hats and gloves. I’m not sure what they thought of us in our shorts!!
We didn’t stay long at the top as we were looking forward to the run down and getting a bit warmer! We both had a couple of slips but nothing serious. I had thought about carrying my Khatoolas but they are fairly heavy so didn’t bother. They would have been good for the last 30mins or so to the top but we got away with it not having them.
We had a good steady run down working the quads which was the whole idea. So after running the extra mile and half we headed back to Drymen for a shower and then I headed home.
So it was a great day out which hopefully the photos show. Thanks Jonny for your company.
I plan an easier week this week. The next 6 weeks will be fun with 3 races two week apart:
- Sun 22nd Feb – National Cross Country @ Falkirk
- Sun 8th Mar – Inverness Half Marathon
- Sat 21st Mar – Hardmoors 55
I’m really looking forward to each of them and feel in good shape!