Rugged Run: Glen Loin Loop

Ben Vane – 2009 Andrew

I used to be member of a Rambler’s club called Glasgow Young Walkers (https://glasgowyoungwalkers.ning.com/)

It was a great way to meet Glasgow folk who were young and liked walking. I wish all clubs did exactly what they said. I’m still scarred by my experience at a Glasgow Naturist Swimming club. I thought they were swimmer who liked being out in nature… I was wrong. It should have been called Avert Thine Eyes When Swimming Behind A Naked Swimmer Doing The Breaststroke Swimming Club.

The Young Walkers club would organise walks most weekends. One trip was a loop of Glen Loin. It was a beautiful route and ever since then I wanted to do it again.

So, last weekend I headed out to run it. It was 10 years since that walk so I was really hoping I could remember the route.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3082079705

Starting Point: Loch Long Car Park (https://goo.gl/maps/tLTqyVNTqekoBhFN9)

Distance: 11.5 Miles

Elevation: 450m

Description:

Park at Loch Long car park. There is a car park charge so bring some loose change. Cross the road and enter the nondescript road beside the bridge.

Follow the road until you spot a turnoff to the right.

Eventually the path will open up and you’ll get great views of the Arrochar hills.

Keep on the path and you’ll eventually come to a crossroads. The road to the right takes you down to the A82 and the Inveruglas Power Station. The road to the left head up to Sloy Dam

Head left towards the dam but there’s a turnoff to the left before you reach it.

Keep on the road and you will eventually spot a very small dam blocking the river.

The turning across the river just before the dam. Keep on the path for a couple of miles until you see the sign heading back to the car park.

Its now an easy downhill/flat jog back to the car.

Head to The Perch Cafe for some food and some great home baking. Although don’t go in hungry. I’ve always had a long wait for the food!

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g1478699-d12801501-Reviews-The_Perch_Cafe-Garelochhead_Helensburgh_Argyll_and_Bute_Scotland.html

Rating: 8/10

The first half of the route is excellent with beautiful views. The second half isn’t as interesting as it’s mostly in trees with no view.

Kirkintilloch 12.5k 2020 Race Report (Andrew)

It’s winter, it’s windy, but that’s weather. Or at least it was until last year when the Met Office started to name its storms. Now, it’s not weather, it’s an event. And this year’s Kirkintilloch 12.5k had a hell of a lot of event…

The Kirkintilloch 12.5k has been our first race for a few years now – you can read some of the previous reports here and here. It’s longer than a 10k, so feels more of a challenge, and it has more ups and downs than a 90s raver, including almost a mile uphill to start, which is a shock first thing in the morning. Races should start downhill, or at worst, a flat. Running uphill to start is just cruel. If you start uphill then you should call your race an ultra, even if the rest is flat. It’s fair warning.

Along with the race conditions there’s the challenge of finding a car parking space as the start line is next to a main road into Kirkintilloch and there’s not a lot of room on the streets nearby to park. Saying that, it’s always a busy race with many club runners (resplendent in their new singlets) and just-get-rounders sharing the start line, so everyone must come by the Kirkintilloch canal to get there.

This year, there was a new challenge: the weather. The race was held right in the middle of Storm Dennis and 50mph winds swept the course. I don’t mind running in bad weather, if you’re wet, you’re wet. You can’t get wetter than wet no matter what Bon Jovi might sing. And wind is okay, as long as it’s behind you. If it’s behind you, you can fly. Unfortunately, we were running a loop so not only were we flying, we were also being pushed back so hard we ended up in Ireland.

Overall…

Course:

Race route: First mile is uphill, the next three are up and down until you reach Woodilee village where you turn and then run up a slope steeper than the north face of the Eiger, before taking another road home until the final 2 km when you reverse the climb back to the start and finish with a nice one mile downhill race to the finish.

Finishing bag: It was the 15th anniversary of the race and there was a special commemorative mini towel (as shown above) instead of a medal. A chocolate biscuit and a bottle of water were also handed out at the finis.

I’m not sure of a towel as a commemoration. It was the 50th anniversary of the the creation of heavy metal last week but no one gave Ozzy Osbourne a soft plump towel to commemorate the first Black Sabbath album. Towels are for beaches and pretending to be Roman. In a race, a towel is what you thrown in disappointment when you quit during it, not what you get at the end when you should be celebrating.

Celtman Race Numbers (Iain)

The race numbers for Celtman have been revealed. I got 230 and Andrew has 231.

According to the Todd book of numerology numbers are the God of triathlon’s way of sending a message to athletes. Each number is associated with specific letters. The number 230 is associated with the letters N, E, W, N, R, and I. The number 231 is associated with R, E, L, S, O

I wonder what the letters reveal?

In a shock twist to this years event there is a third Todd.

There is a real danger that neither Andrew or I will be fastest Todd. Although slowest Todd is still likely to be one of us.

We are not even the most Todd person there. That honor goes to Todor Todorov.

Kirkintilloch 12.5K (Iain)

The Kirkintilloch 12.5k is an “undulating” course – 12 hills in 12 KM. I prefer to call it a course with 12 downhills in 12 KM’s. That sounds less fearsome. Similarly, Mount Everest sounds better when described as a long walk down.

This weekend saw Storm Dennis batter Scotland. If you ever get bored, Google your name and the word “storm” and find out if you were a force to be reckoned with or a bit of a damp squib.

Storm Iain has formed a few times but each time has been deemed “not a threat” or “unlikely to amount to anything.” Which is pretty similar to what it says about me in my school report card.

Andrew on the other hand became a Hurricane which killed many people. It was so destructive the name Andrew has been struck from the Storm naming guide!

The race is one of my favourite events. Today was probably the hardest conditions to run it. The wind from Storm Dennis was bitterly cold and very strong. Thankfully there was no rain or it would have been horrific.

I’d spent the day before running a 15 mile stretch of the Fife coastal path so I wasn’t expecting a PB. A woman at the start told me she’d thought the race was going to be cancelled so had spent the night before drinking wine until 2AM. She woke up at 4AM and she couldn’t get back to sleep due to the wind rattling her roof. I was impressed she made it to the start line.

The race started and I was able to run a steady pace alongside Andrew but I knew that if he decided to go faster I wouldn’t be able to match him.

He waited until 500m to go and then sprinted off. I didn’t try to catch him. I was pleased to finish in just under an hour. Which was much faster than I thought I’d manage.

The first hill

Holiday Mile: Berlin (Andrew)

On a Saturday night in Berlin I had half a raw potato for my first course. This was followed by 34 more courses including, as a particular highlight, a single pak choi covered in butter. It was less a meal and more a single plate presented one ingredient at a time. I’m all for trying new things when eating but a menu designed to showcase every ingredient really made me crave a Big Mac and chips.

Even worse, before we could eat the potato we had to listen to it’s origin.

“This is a potato from the farm of Gunther and Helga, just outside Leipzig. Each morning they carefully spray the potato field with a fine mist of honeydew while Gunther sings Dolly Payton’s ‘Jolene’. When it comes to harvest, they ask a local priest to bless their trowel before it is transported by electric car to the market in Berlin.”

After 35 holier than thou pretentious tales I really craved a noose.

I can’t say I enjoyed the meal. It definitely an experience, one I won’t repeat, but if you want to spend three hours slowly eating a grocers one vegetable at a time, then Ernst in Berlin is the place for you.

If, on the other hand, you just want to run, then Berlin is the opposite of Ernst. It’s as simple as can be. It’s completely flat. And because it’s completely flat, you can’t go anywhere in the city centre without being able to see the radio tower that stretches into the sky over Potsdammer Platz. It’s impossible to get lost.

So, for this holiday mile, I decided to run to the main site for the Berlin Wall and back and I decided not to use a map to find my hotel because I knew how to get to it from the tower. An easy run followed with no chance of getting lost. No wonder Berlin is one of the world’s fastest marathons.

Saying that, the lack of variety does mean that it wasn’t the most interesting of runs. Even a treadmill can have an incline. But if all you want is a easy run along wide streets then Berlin is the place for that.

Rugged Run: Lennox Forrest (Iain)

Lennox Castle

This run is from Lennoxtown to the trig point in Lennox Forrest. On a good day there’s great views across Glasgow and northwards to Ben Lomond.

On the way you will see an abandoned castle and Celtic’s training facility. Watch out for ghosts in the castle!

The route is mostly on good tracks. The first half starts easy but then there is a steady climb to the top.

Starting Point: Glazert Hotel (https://goo.gl/maps/g4GNoGaYNDwbePXk6)

Distance: 10.5 km

Elevation: 186m

Description: Start at the hotel and run along Chestnut walk (in the direction away from the main road) to the start of the John Muir Way. Turn right and follow the John Muir Way until you reach the road to Campsie Circle.

The start of the trail is at the start of Campsie Circle. The trail starts to the right of the first house, next to a small car park.

The car park

Stick to the edge of the trees on the right hand side. Don’t take the path that crosses the river. That is the wrong way 🙂 The path can be muddy at first but it soon becomes a normal track.

You will soon reach Lennox Castle. It was a mental and a maternity hospital although not both at the same time. Lulu was born here but she doesn’t like to shout about it.

You can actually get to the top of the castle but I couldn’t possible encourage such wanton violation of health and safety rules. So I won’t mention there is gap in the fence. I definitely will not mention that you should make your way round the back to the entrance to the tower.

Inside the castle

The path goes round the back of the castle. Ignore the first turn you see to the right. Follow it until you come to a junction that goes up or down. If you head down the path you will see Celtic’s training ground. Keep heading up until it flattens out at a T junction.

Head right. Follow the path until you come to the next junction. Head left. The road to the right is a dead end.

The path is straight for a 1km and then veers to the left. There is a small track on the right hand side. Take this and follow it until you see the trig point. To get to the trig point ignore the gate. Walk on 20m and there’s a bt of fence you can jump over. The ground here is much drieer than the boggy area around the gate.

Lennox Forrest

After an obligatory photo at the top. Return back to the start of the small track.

The top!

Head in a straight line until you come to Lennox car park and a concrete road. Follow the road until you are halfway down the hill. You’ll see a sign that says Lennoxtown. Follow this track and it will take you all the way back to the hotel.

Rating: 9/10

This is a great 10K route…if you like running up a hill! It’s close to glasgow and you can combine it with a number of other routes nearby to make it even longer and hillier.

Celtman Training – Jan (Iain)

My Dad had a brain aneurysm in his 30s. In recent years, he has displayed symptoms of dementia and Parkinson’s but due to his aneurysm, his brain seems unwilling to commit to one affliction or the other. Some days he will have bad memory from dementia but the next it will be a shaky hand from Parkinson’s.

He took unwell and required hospitalization just before Christmas, which meant I spent the end of last year, and the start of this one, at home in the Western Isles, whilst he recovered in hospital.

Therefore, although January is the start of Celtman training it has taken second place to family issues.

It’s not all gloom though. There has been plenty of laughs. When he is in a confused state, he can be quite funny. Each day Mum asks him – does he know where he is? He comes up with some amazing replies.

One day Dad decided he was on a tram and he had to check all the tickets of the other passengers/patients. He told one poor bed ridden person that if he did not have a ticket by the time Dad came back he would throw him off the tram. The doctor came to visit Dad to see how he was. The doctor is quite a large fellow. Dad took one look at him and said, “Who let a fat man drive the tram?”

At least he recognised the Doctor was the man in charge.

If I didn’t laugh I’d cry.

Looking at my stats for the month, I am pleased to see that I did a bit more than in December.

My main aim has been quantity over quality. I’ve managed to do all the long runs and rides I had planned.

All my runs are on trail and usually hilly. All my rides are indoors on Zwift. I’m going full in on indoor training this year rather than outdoors. It’ll be interesting to see whether it works!

Training for Celtman: January 2020 (Andrew)

January Goals

  • Update and start training plan
  • Look into stats to help with training

How did I do?

For the second month in a row – see Nov and Dec – I set myself the goal of looking at stats to try and be more scientific with training. And, this month, I managed to look at FTP, which is not a brown brogue allegiance for anyone who knows their Scottish football acronyms. Instead it stands for functional threshold power or, too put it simply, the average amount of power you can exert in an hour.

As I’ve being using Zwift for 18 months I already knew I could ride at over 200 watts for an hour but the test – ride for an hour in Zwift with your power recorded over a 20 minute segment – managed to confirm that I was wrong. I could ride at 191 watts. Which is good to know but as I don’t know what’s watt and what’s a watt, it doesn’t mean anything to me yet. Apparently I should now try and increase it and test myself again in six weeks. If the watts have increased then my training will be going in the right direction.

The only other stat I tried this month was to run at least 13 miles in one training run, just to prove to myself that I could run a half marathon six months before Celtman.

I went out with Iain mid-month and, as he’s training for an ultra race in March, I ended up running 15 miles, the longest I’ve run in 10 years (the marathons in Ironman UK and Challenge Roth don’t count as I walk/ran them). It was great to think I could run that far and still feel I could do more. Unfortunately, and stupidly, I ran in new trainers and ripped my heel to shreds so running was restricted to short runs for the rest of the month while it healed.

On swimming, I’ve moved up to a faster lane in my weekly swims. I complain about it here

February Goals

More cycling. I’ve been restricted to indoor cycling and I’d like to get at least one 50 mile ride outdoors, weather depending.

Rugged Run: Burncrooks Reservoir

Burncrooks Reservoir

Every winter I lead “Rugged Runs” for the Glasgow Triathlon Club (https://www.glasgowtriathlonclub.co.uk/)

A Rugged Run is a social paced 10k on a trail route. Preferably close to Glasgow so that people can get to it easily.

I’ll add the routes to this site so that they are available for anyone to run.

The Route (https://www.strava.com/activities/2916812128)

Starting Point: Edenmill Farm Shop (https://goo.gl/maps/tLTqyVNTqekoBhFN9)

Distance: 9.6KM

Elevation: 165m

Description:

In the early 1900’s Dumbarton had ran out of water sources in the Kilpatrick Hills. So it was decided to build one slightly further afield. Burncrooks Reservoir was constructed in 1914. Until that point there was only a minor river there.

Dumbarton’s gain was also a bonus for trail runners. The reservoir makes for a great looped run. You can’t get lost. As long as you have the reservoir to one side of you, you will always get back to the start of the loop.

Park at Edenmill. Run out of the car park towards the depot owned by the gardening company Route1. Head along the main road and then turn to your left up the road marked private.

Stay on this road. It is a steady climb. You come back this way so at least you finish with a downhill run.

Go through the gate next to the Scottish water plant. Keep heading up the hill.

Eventually you will come to a fork in the road. This is the start of the loop. I prefer to go right but either way is fine. If you do go left look out for the right turn that will take you to the reservoir.

If you go right follow the path until you come to the dam. There’s a stile to jump the fence here. Cross the boggy ground for 50m to join a path. FOllow the path all round the reservoir.

Rating: 9/10

The loop of Burncrook Reservoir loop is a popular route. I normally meet at least one other runner on the way round. There’s lots of options to extend or increase the difficulty of the route but I like this simple version of it.

You can find out more here https://www.fionaoutdoors.co.uk/2016/10/a-walk-around-burncrooks-reservoir-john-muir-way.html