Fastest Known Time – Fife Coastal Path (Iain)

There is an acronym in running called FKT – Fastest Known Time. It basically is exactly what it says. It is the fastest known time for a route.

https://fastestknowntime.com/ states a route qualifies for a FKT if

The route is notable and distinct enough so that others will be interested in repeating it.

The route may be of any distance or time duration

The route must not be used for a race.

https://fastestknowntime.com/fkt-guidelines

Scotland has a few FKT’s, mostly on long distance walking routes or high level routes. For example, the John Muir Way is 215 km and it is recommended you takes 8-9 days to walk it. The FKT for the route is 21 hours 53 minutes. John Muir is famous for his quote: “The mountains are calling and I must go”. I feel that should be changed to: “The mountains are calling and I must go… at full speed whilst being tracked by GPS and two witnesses otherwise it won’t count as an FKT.”

The Fife Coastal Path is 187 km and the FKT is just over 14 hours. I started walking the Fife Coastal path in 2011. In the nine years since then I have only walked half of it. I’m on course for a WKT – worst known time!

Maybe I’d be quicker if I did not stop in St Andrews for a fudge Donut.

I’d much rather have a WKT than a FKT. A WKT says that I took my time and enjoyed a run. I savored every view, I walked or stopped when I felt like it. A WKT is a sign I enjoy running for what it really is – time outside. It is nothing more than that. So, forget records, speed and distance and just enjoy the outdoors.

Addendum – I will one day finish the Fife Coastal path but at my current rate of progress it looks like it will be in the year 2035.

Rugged Run – Elie Chain Walk (Iain)

No one really knows who was behind the idea of putting chains into the cliffs that stretch from Elie to Shell Bay. My guess is that alcohol was involved. All great but pointless plans start in a bar.

The route involves using eight chains to help you up and over or along stretches of the cliff. Step are cut into the rock to aid your climbing. It is claimed that it takes 90 minutes to do it but anyone of reasonable fitness can do it in 30 minutes.

Obviously do not do it during high tide. It’s a chain walk not a chain swim!

I prefer to start from Elie and then walk back along the coast top. This gives great views across Elie golf club.

On the way down from the cliffs look out for the bench designed by Andy Scott – the sculptor of the Kelpies statues in Falkirk.

VIDEO

MAPS

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Parking

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Parking in Elie is very difficult in summer. Come in autumn or spring once the crowds have left.

Facilities

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A cafe, three pubs, ice cram parlor and deli are all in Elie. Expect high prices. Nothing in Elie is cheap, The residents are wealthy and the shops charge accordingly.

Nearest cafe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Pavillion cafe at the golf club is good value for money.

Run Surface

30% beach, 30% rock, 40% grass/tarmac.

Dog Friendly

No – unless your dog can rock climb.

Time on Feet (Video) – Running 100 Miles in Seven Days (Iain)

One of my goals when running 100 miles in seven days was to make it a mental as well as a physical challenge. I call this “the distraction technique”. If I distract myself with a mental focus on something other then the physical challenge then the task becomes easier.

So, I decided my mental challenge would be to learn how to shoot/edit video. And armed with just an iPhone and a tripod I recorded all my runs and this is the result….

SPOILER ALERT – there is no big emotional journey or life lessons or anything particularly meaningful in the films. It is just a man running in some nice places 🙂

Outdoor Swim Review: Butt Of Lewis (Iain)

Is there a minimum distance I have to swim before I can say I went for a swim?

Usain Bolt does 100m and I bet he says he went for a run.

The olympics has a 50M freestyle event so I will declare that the minimum distance required. In that case, I can say I went for a swim at Port Stoth Beach. It is the most northerly beach in the Western Isles.

And the day I visited it was also the beach the beach with most Jellyfish! There was hundreds of them. I don’t know much about jellyfish other than what Andrew wrote here https://twinbikerun.com/2016/12/01/the-one-with-jellyfish-in-it/

But I do know not to mess with things I don’t know about so as soon as I spotted them I turned around and I swam back to the beach.

REVIEW

Ease of Access:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ness is 45 minutes from Stornoway. There is a parking spot beside the beach. It is a 2 minute walk from there to the sea.

Water quality:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The water quality is crustal clear and perfect for swimming (if there was no jelly fish)

Swim Quality:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Hard to tell. I didn’t swim for long enough.

Other People:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Not a soul

Would I go back: Yes. I’d like to try swimming further than 50m

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 https://goo.gl/maps/AqwzhYnbHd4uFi29A 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!

VIDEO

MAPS

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Quiet, good surfaces and easy to navigate.

Parking

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.

Facilities

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.

None

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.

Elevation

338M of elevation.

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
AMHUINNSUIDHE CASTLE

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.

REVIEW

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 https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hayley-laidlaw

“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.”

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.

https://twinbikerun.com/2019/04/11/second-best-on-stava-andrew/

https://twinbikerun.com/2019/04/26/second-on-strava-again-andrew/

https://twinbikerun.com/2019/11/04/third-best-on-strava-iain/

https://twinbikerun.com/2019/12/22/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-strava-king-of-the-mountain-andrew/

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.