The One Feature Strava Doesn’t Have But Must Add (Andrew)

Kudos, according to the dictionary, is “praise and honour received for an achievement.”

Kudos, according to Strava, is when you do anything. Walk to the shops. Take the dog out. Dip your toes on the beach. It doesn’t matter what it was as long as you record it and add it to Strava. You’ll then receive “Kudos” from your friends and followers when all they should be saying is “Why are you not doing any actual training?!??”

Maybe it’s just me but even with normal day to day running or cycling, I don’t want someone to give me ‘Kudos’. I don’t post any indoor bike sessions, unless I forget to make them private, for that reason. No one should get Kudos for sitting on a bike and watching YouTube videos. Kudos is for an achievement. It’s not an achievement to watch a Vlog, unless it’s the Bonnie Gardner then Iain TwinBikeRun will give you kudos! 🙂

Instead of Kudos, Strava needs new buttons to accurately record your reaction to someone else’s post.

First, it needs a simple stick. Instead of giving Kudos to someone you see posting everyday, you should be able to click a ‘Get Out Of Bed’ button for someone you haven’t seen post since last week. Imagining 20 people telling you to get a move on. That’s motivation and far more likely to get you to do something than another Kudos.

Or, perhaps, if you have posted something, you need a ‘Loser’ button, to show you didn’t think what they did was an achievement at all. A marathon? In lockdown? On your balcony? Loser!

Or, even better, an ‘I Did It Faster’ button. Nothing inspires people more than competition. Of course, this button should be context specific. You couldn’t tell your balcony marathon running mate that you did it faster last week because, unless you’re a weird stalker, you weren’t on his balcony for eight hours last week. At least, not running a marathon… This button would only appear if you are on a leaderboard with them and you genuinely went faster than them. If so, you can click the ‘I Did It Faster’ button. And then the ‘Loser’ button too to really rub it in.

Maybe, for a nicer approach, we could also have a commiseration button, just as Facebook has sad emojis. If you see a friend just miss out on a personal best or segment record then you can express sympathy.

Or you could also click the ‘Loser’ button. Your choice.

And that’s it, that’s what Strava is missing. It’s missing a choice of reactions when you post an activity. It needs more than just Kudos and, if they did, if Strava were to add more button, I’d give them a big thumbs up!

Rugged Run – Carron Valley

Meikle Bin is a popular hill for runners and walkers. Understandably so because of the great views you get from the top. But its popularity means a lot of people don’t explore the other routes nearby. So, instead of following the crowds, try Cairnoch Hill.

Cairnoch Hill is a couple of miles down the road from Meikle Bin. I park here and there is a gate and enough room for three cars to park.

I parked here because it’s next to the reservoir. I went for a swim straight after the run. If you do not want to swim then drive further along. There is parking at the start of the trail.

The video below will show you what the route is like. There was one off road section but it wasn’t very long. Although it was pretty wet underfoot!




Rating: 4 out of 5.

Quiet, good surfaces and easy to navigate.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Three car parking spaces next to carron valley reservoir. If you do not want to swim then you can park at the start of the trail.


Rating: 0.5 out of 5.


Nearest cafe

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There is nothing close but there’s two good options a short drive away. The Fintry Inn is great for beer and hot food and on the outskirts of Fintry the Cafe in the Courtyard is great for for soup and treats.

Run Surface

95% fire road. 5% off road (through trees)

Dog Friendly

Yes – no sheep or animals spotted on route.


338M of elevation.

My First Marathon (Andrew)

I don’t remember why I entered the Edinburgh Marathon 2003. I was running regularly, four to five times a week, and, having just started a new job as a trainee lawyer, I would use my lunchtime to get out the office and run four miles. Ha, I would think, you can’t chain this free spirit to a desk! 

There were only a handful of people who were known as runners. One man invited me to run a 10k with him and on the way there he explained how he would unstitch his trainers, cut the fabric and stitch them back together to get a lighter more comfortable shoe. When I asked him how fast he expected to run the race he explained in minute detail the exact second he was aiming for and the likelihood of hitting it depending on the prevailing wind and humidity. He was a real runner. And by real runner I mean a twat.

Another office runner had run the London Marathon the year before. How did you do that? I said. “One foot at a time,” he said, “how else do you do it?”. I liked his attitude and I think it was him who inspired me to enter the Edinburgh Marathon because how hard could it be when it was just one foot at a time. If I’d only asked the other man, I would have known exactly how hard it would be – roughly 138,799 feet harder.

To prepare for the race, I tried to follow a marathon training programme with regular long runs and increasing distances each week. That programme lasted about one week as I’ve never been good at consistent long runs. Instead I would try and run my regular four-mile lunch run faster on the basis that if I could run part of the race faster then, when I slowed down, my average would still be okay.

I managed one 20 mile run before the marathon – and I was feeling confident. Not only was I not drinking I’d also given up sweets. No chocolates, no cakes, no donuts, no sugar. It was horrible and I’ve never done it again – you need a treat when you eat. 

I can’t remember who was meant to run with me. In my mind, Iain was always running it, but I also know that he never intended to finish it and was planning to quit at the half way point. But what I didn’t know was that he had been drinking the night before – though I should have guessed when he had a bacon roll and a packet of yum yums for breakfast. You need a treat when you drink too…

I was excited to run. I was ready. But I also knew that like Iain I would be running on fumes. Though his were at the start and mine would come when I hit ‘The Wall’. 

There’d been a lot of talk about The Wall before the race. I’d checked with the London Marathon runner and he explained how at some point I would feel like I couldn’t run any further and no matter how much I tried I wouldn’t be able to push on. It was like hitting a wall as you would just come to a stop.

For me that happened at mile 16, which just goes to show the difference training can make. His wall was at mile 20 because he’d trained more. Mine was at mile 16 because I thought if I could run a half marathon in 1 hour 40 minutes then I should just double my time and I’d be home in time to have a mid-morning kilo box of Quality Street.

Instead, at mile 16, I felt all energy leave my legs. I switched to a walk/run strategy of walking 10 miles after I’d already ran 16 miles. In the last mile I tried to run when I saw a man in a diving costume ahead. After checking he was running by spotting his race number – you can’t be too careful in Edinburgh on a Sunday morning when stags are stumbling home – I tried to beat him with the thought that I couldn’t lose to a deep-sea diver. Not knowing at this point that he’d started seven days ahead of me I was gutted to lose the final sprint on the Meadowbank athletic track to what I thought was a man who managed to run faster than me in wellies and a snorkel. 

My original aim was four hours with the thought that I should probably beat 3 hours 30 minutes as that would still be slower than two half marathons. In the end, I walked across the line in 4 hours 11 minutes. Just behind the diver and just ahead of two rhinos. 

And within 30 seconds I’d ended my ‘no treats’ fast by eating an entire chocolate muffins in two bites.

Outdoor Swim Review: Huisinish Beach, Isle of Lewis (Iain)

A few years ago a local man met aged rock god and ex-Led Zeppelin front-man Robert Plant in a bar in Tarbert on the Isle of Harris and asked him what he was doing there.

Robert Plant said he was there to look at Amhuinnsuidhe Castle. It was for sale and he was interested. The local looked at him and said “What do you do to be able to afford a place like that?” The world famous rock start said, “I play music and I was in a band when I was younger”

Amhuinnsuidhe Castle - Wikipedia

The local replied, “did you play the sea angling club? I thought I recognised you!”

Robert Plant didn’t buy the castle. I suspect the main road that passes the front door of the castle put him off. The castle is a dramatic backdrop on the way to Huisnis beach who can only dream of living the downton abbey lifestyle!

What the picture doesn’t show is that there are some normal houses just out of shot. So I might not be able to afford a castle but one day I might be able to buy the smaller place and get the same view.


Ease of Access:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

There is a car park next to the beach. There are toilets and other facilities which are normally open but at the time I visited (July 2020) they were closed due to Covid.

The road to the beach is single track, very hilly and lots of bends. It will take much longer than you think to drive it as its difficult to see any oncoming traffic. On the bright side – the scenery is stunning.

Water quality:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The water was crystal clear.

Swim Temperature: 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

12C in July.

Other People:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I had the whole beach to myself.

Would I go back: Yes. It is a beautiful spot.

Triathlon for the Beatson (Iain)

Last weekend should have been the Beastie Triathlon. Hayley Laidlow had planned on doing it to raise money for the Beatson Cancer Charity. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled.

That didn’t stop her. She organised a local home made triathlon and I was happy to help by filming it.

If you’d like to donate you can do so here

“My husband was given the terrifying news that he has small cell lung cancer at the beginning of December. To say we were shocked was an understatement. He started intensive treatment almost straight away and was prescribed the highest level of treatment that can be given.  He has been strong throughout each and every treatment and he blows me away with how coragious and determined he is to fight this nasty illness. 

Due to side effects of radiotherapy, he spent a lot of time at the Beatson where the care from medical nursing staff was outstanding. During his stay we found the Beatson to be a safe haven for all of us. From 100% care the staff give to the facilities that is offered for patients and their families. 

I have decided to take part in the Beastie Sprint Triathlon on Saturday 25th July to raise money for the Beatson. There, I will have to open water swim 750m, cycle 17km and finally run 5k. This will be a huge challenge but for a hugely worthwhile cause.”

Training for Celtman 2021: July (Andrew)

This month I’ve mostly been racing in Spain, Norway, Argentina and Slovakia. Or at least the closest equivalent I could find within a few miles of my house.

I’ve entered the MyXtri world tour. A series of 14 events based on inconic stage of the 14 Xtri extreme triathlons. Whether it’s cycling the Patagonian ridge or running the Himalayas there are 14 events that you can recreate from the not so comfort of near your own home.

For example, for Celtman, one event is to swim 2km outdoors. Once you swim it, you upload your result with a link to Strava or Garmin and you get a race time and position. Other races are harder as the both the bike and runs involve a minimum distance and elevation. In order to complete the Stelvio climb you need to cycle 80km and climb over 1800m. But if you can’t make the elevation then you can also add distance to make up the climb. An extra 1.5k of cycling is an additional 100m of height.

It’s a great challenge and one that will become progressively harder as the distances and elevations increase. It’s hard, even on the shorter runs to find places that can equal the climbs I’m trying to emulate. There’s no equivalent of Everest in the south side of Glasgow. Unless by Everest you mean the double glazing firm.

The challenge lasts until the end of October and I’m aiming to tick off as many of the events as possible between now and then.

How to Run 100 Miles in Seven Days – Day 7 (Iain)

There are a number of recurring themes in this blog – poor grammar from me, dull stories from Andrew and an epic quest to be the fastest Todd up the Stornoway War Memorial.

You can read about it here.

I was the fastest until Andrew beat my record but now we are both slower than a local runner. His time looks difficult to beat.

I wasn’t going to beat that this week especially on the last run of my 100 mile week but I could do something else….I could become a LEGEND!

The Strava ‘Local Legend’ achievement is awarded to the athlete who completes a given segment the most over a rolling 90-day period regardless of pace or speed.

This is one I could win! All I had to do was run the war memorial segment enough times to get it. I also needed 8.8 miles to complete my 100. So I decided I’d run the segment again and again until I became a LEGEND!

I managed 10 times which added to a couple of others over the last 90 days put me into an unassailable position.

Andrew took the news well

101 miles done. I had to add on 1 to walk home from the War Memorial.

Overall time was 18 hours 17 minutes. Elevation was 3,324 meters.

Now time for a rest!

How to Run 100 Miles in Seven Days – Day 6 (Iain)

Run 6 complete – 11.7 miles. Only 8.8 miles to go! Single figures. Wooohoooo!

Sron Ulladale is the biggest inland cliff in the UK other than Cliff Richard.

Despite living on the island I’d never hear of the cliff until I saw a BBC show called The Great Climb Live. A five and a half hour live climbing marathon showing two climbers will attempting to climb it. The climb is tricky becasue the cliff is an overhang.

After watching the show I went down to Harris to see the cliff. It was so spectacular that I vowed to come back. That was 2010. It is now 2020. I thought I’d be back sooner but better late than never.

The weather looked bad on the drive down to Harris but I was hopeful it would clear as the morning progressed. Luckily the sun came out and I got some spectacular views on the run.

I didn’t see anyone on my run but I did hear seer stags bellowing in the valley. I thing their loud groaning is their way of saying “anyone fancy a shag?”

I ended my run with a nice dip in the sea.

I look forward to finishing but what should I do for my last run?

How to Run 100 miles in Seven Days – Day 5 (Iain)

Run 5 complete – 17 miles. Only 20.5 miles to go!

After day 4’s hard run I decided to something a bit easier. So it was back to plodding around Stornoway. No hills, no trail, no fun!

It wasn’t too bad, I ran to the nearest beach which is also one of the most scenic graveyards on the island. Which is probably not something the tourist board will mention but it should. Lewis has amazing graveyards.

But it would help if graveyards had maps. The previous time I was home I spent thirty minutes wandering about trying to find a “Mackenzie with a fancy headstone” as that was the only info mum had!!

Lewis and Harris is famous for its wildlife. I spotted a deer and a golden eagle.

Overall I’m feeling good and I’ve built in enough leeway to the distance covered so that I can do two shorter runs to finish.

How to Run 100 miles in Seven days – Day 4 (Iain)

Doing it for the gram!

Run 4 complete – 13.5 miles. Only 37.7 miles to go!

For centuries, the only way for the outside world to reach Rhenigidale on the Isle of Harris was by boat, or by a path that threads its way along the Harris coast and over a mountain pass.

The path is known as the Postman’s Path as it was the path the postman used. I mentioned in a previous blog the very mundane naming convention used by Gaelic speakers. The same is true of the English names here.

When Rhenigidale was finally connected by a road in 1989, it was claimed to be the last community to be linked up to the UK network. The cost of the road was £750,000. Which would be about £1.8 million today. I always thought it would have been cheaper to offer the few residents who lived there £100K each to leave.

The route was tough. 700m of ascent over boggy rough ground. Strava claims it took me two hours. It must not have added in all the time I stopped to take pictures of the beautiful views. It was closer to four hours!

Due to a battery fail the run was recorded in two parts but done as one. I must have been taking too many selfies. My iPhone couldn’t cope.