Rugged Run – Mangersta Bothy (Iain)

Mangersta bothy was built into the side of the Mangersta cliffs, on the Isle of Lewis, almost 30 years ago by two locals, John and Lorna Norgrove.

John and Lorna are the parents of Linda Norgrove who was involved in a terrible accident in Afghanistan in 2010. She was killed by US soldiers. You can read the details about the case here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Linda_Norgrove

Her parents setup a foundaton in Linda’s memory. You can read more about how to stay in the bothy at https://lindanorgrovefoundation.org/mangersta-bothy/

The bothy is in a very remote part of the Isle of Lewis but the walk out to it is relatively simple. Park at the end of Mangestera village and follow the fence westward. The both is tucked into the cliffs near the end of the fence line.

I would not recommend the walk to anyone with young children or anyone who is uncomfortable with heights. Their are allot of steep cliff drops in this area.

I would be scared to spend a night in the bothy in case I needed the loo during the night. I might head out, trip and then never be seen again!

MAPS

https://www.strava.com/routes/2859442770365555268

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The both is in a spectacular location

Parking

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There is space, at the start of the walk, to park a couple of cars.

Facilities

Rating: 1 out of 5.

None

Nearest cafe

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There is a cafe and shop within 15 minutes drive.

Run Surface

100% trail

Dog Friendly

I wouldn’t recommend it.

Elevation

0m

Film Friday – A Day in the Life of Jonny Brownlee (Andrew)

The YouTube summary describes this video as:

“What does a day in the life of triathlon superstar Jonny Brownlee look like? Take a look at Jonny’s triathlon training, recovery, nutrition, relaxing at home and meet the dogs in this candid and unique view into his life in Yorkshire!”

What it should say is:

“Do you want to see how Jonny Brownlee hangs his wetsuit, does his washing and how he keeps his trainers in the back of his car? Take a look at Jonny’s non-glamorous triathlon training in this candid and unique view in his life in Yorkshire!”

A very good video to show what an average day looks like for a world champion who has to keep his kit in his car just like everyone else.

Outdoor Swim Review – Harelaw and the Black Loch (Andrew)

Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it. I can, if I want, pour myself a nice bath of baked beans and spend the day soaking in Heinz’s finest. It wouldn’t be against the law to marinade myself in toot juice. It might be unusual, but, provided I did it in my own home, then no one will ever know I did it. Yet… yet… just because I can do it doesn’t mean I will ever pop into the supermarket and buy enough beans to fill a tub. 

Equally, I can walk or swim pretty much anywhere in Scotland. Right to roam laws grant everyone very wide rights to access hills and paths, lochs and rivers, regardless of who owns them. 

There are exceptions. You can walk on a golf course, but you can’t walk on a green. But, in general, unless you’re trying to walk through someone’s garden then you can go where you like. 

But just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it. You may have a right to swim in a loch, but an angler too has a right to fish in it, a sailing club has a right to sail in it, and land owners do and should expect that people won’t damage their land or invade their privacy. 

There is one farmer who owns a field near a loch north of Glasgow. He’s a nice man, I’ve spoken with him a couple of times but, the only reason I’ve spoken with him, is that he comes out in his tractor to watch parking spaces to make sure no one cuts through his field to get to the loch. 

He shouldn’t have to ‘guard’ his field and protect his cattle who graze in it. He should expect that people will walk round and avoid the field. 

So, this is less a review and more a plea for tolerance. You might be able to swim in a loch but that doesn’t mean you should. And the Brother Loch and Harelaw Dam have large and active angling clubs. There are plenty of lochs in Scotland, almost as many as beans in a full bathtub, so I don’t swim at either lochs. And I would suggest that you don’t either. 

Rugged Run – Crathes Castle Garden (Iain)

Walled gardens are great for gardeners as they provide shelter from bad weather to allow the creation of a perfect growing environment.

They are not great places places to visit on the hottest day of the year.

The walls made it feel like I was trapped in an oven and that the chef had forgotten to take me out whn my time was up!

The video does not do justice to how hot it was!

MAPS

Review

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I didn’t walk far but it looked like a nice place for a run/walk.

Parking

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There is a car park next to the castle.

Facilities

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Toilets

Nearest cafe

Rating: 1 out of 5.

There is a cafe next to the castle.

Run Surface

100% trail

Dog Friendly

Yes

Elevation

0m

The Sound of Football: Aberdeen (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Nickname: The Dons

Aberdeen

Ground: Pittodrie Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 21,421

Song: The Northern Lights of Aberdeen

In 1983, Bayern Munich had a team filled with legendary players: Breitner, Augenthaler, Hoeness, and Rummenigge. Names that were as well known then as BMW or Audi today.  

Aberdeen had Mark McGhee. When he walked into a room, even his wife asked, “who are you, and why are you in my kitchen?”

When Aberdeen met Bayern Munich in the 1983 European Cup Winner’s Cup quarter-final, it should have been no contest; Bayern would win. But, after drawing the first leg in Munich 0 – 0, Pittodrie’s greatest night followed.

Bayern scored first, then Aberdeen equalised. Bayern scored again, but a well-practiced free-kick led to Alex McLeish drawing Aberdeen level. One minute later, striker John Hewitt added a third. Despite late pressure, Aberdeen held on and won the game 3 – 2.

As the referee blew the final whistle, Alex Ferguson leapt from the dugout to run onto the pitch. It was a legendary night for a legendary manager – and one followed a few months later when Aberdeen won the European Cup Winner’s Cup final 2 – 1 against Real Madrid. A victory soundtracked by the European Song – a record so popular that an initial run of 100,000 copies sold out, and more copies had to be issued to satisfy demand. 

The European Song wasn’t the cup final’s only musical legacy.  The final was one of the first matches where fans could be heard singing a chant that would dominate Eighties football:

Here we, here we, here we f*****g go!

(Source: public)

Despite his success, Sir Alex, as he would become known, is only the second most famous man to have worked at Aberdeen. We’d argue the most famous Aberdonian is former coach Donald Colman. Who, you may ask?

In the 1930s, Donald Colman had a successful career with Motherwell and Aberdeen, where he was appointed club captain and capped by Scotland three times. However, it was his post-playing career that saw him achieve football immortality

Colman loved feet, but not in a kinky way. When appointed as a coach, he persuaded the club to dig a hole at the side of the pitch. Colman would stand in it and have his head level with the player’s feet. Donald believed players needed to work constantly on their footwork, which he could see far better from his vantage point below pitch level. 

When English club Everton visited Aberdeen a few years later, it saw Donald’s ‘dugout’ and created its own at Goodison. Soon every club followed until we have the airport lounge/dugout for today’s modern pampered footballer.

If standing up was Donald’s obsession, he would have been proud that fans have adopted a chant called Stand Free. 

Stand free wherever you may be,
We are the famous Aberdeen,
We don’t give a f**k
whoever you may be,
We are the famous Aberdeen.

(Source: public)

The tune is from the Lord of the Dance and is shared with other clubs, including Hibernian (We Are Hibernian FC) and St Mirren (We’ll Go Wherever St Mirren Go). If you want a song just for Aberdeen, then you need to meet Mary Webb. But, again, you may ask, who?

Mrs. Webb was the co-songwriter behind Aberdeen’s anthem, The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen, a song played by the club and by the city. Yet when Mrs. Webb died, nobody mentioned her passing. She was forgotten, even though her song had become the unofficial anthem of Aberdeen. 

Mary and her husband William wrote the song in the 1950s to cheer up a homesick colleague. Mary worked in London and thought the song would help a friend, Winnie Forgie. It did, and it helped thousands more. Including, as Aberdeen’s Evening Express reported in March 2019, providing comfort to sailors fighting in the Falklands conflict. One letter from a sailor to Mary said:

We are a Scottish ship, and on the evening, we were all clustered on the front end of the ship under the cold skies of San Carlos Water, waiting for the bomb to be defused, the Captain said ‘Sing!’ So we sang, and the first song that came to the lips of the most vocal member of the Ship’s company was your song, and of course everybody joined in, and it made us all feel better. “

This is the perfect song to remind us how important the sound of football is to fans. Of course, not every club wins a league or wins a cup. Not every club can be a success. But still, the fans sing, whether winning or losing, and all they can ask is for a song that makes them feel better. 

Today, the Northern Lights of Aberdeen can be heard regularly at Pittodrie – along with a few other words that we have had hide with asterisks.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon

Film Friday – Stripey Hat Guy (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly recommendation of one video to watch this weekend.

The only time I’ve ever seen a YouTuber in the flesh was in Strathblane. A man walked past me wearing a stripey hat. I turned to my wife and said “Do you know who that was? It was Stripey Hat Guy!”

She gave me a look that screamed seriously underwhelmed.

She doesn’t watch as much YouTube as I do.

Anyway, here is Stripey Hat Guy. He makes great videos about Scottish hills, trails and walks.

The Sound Of Football (Andrew)

Iain TwinBikeRun and I cannot be bought!

Don’t even try and send us a summer dress haul to review, a pair of Kanye Trainers to unbox, or a CBD spray to restore male baldness. Everything on TwinBikeRun is ad free and sponsor free!

(To be fair, no one has ever tried to buy us. Not even Squarespace. So our scruples have never been tested)

That means, when we recommend something you know that we are bring you our unbiased opinion unaffected by ‘The Man’. And, you can trust us when we recommend a new book: The Sound of Football – Every Club, Every Song.

Admittedly, it’s our book. We might be slightly biased, what with being the authors after all. However, you don’t have to listen to us. The New York Times said that “this is the greatest book ever written”. 

Now it may have been reviewing “The Bible” when it said that and not our book. However, the Sound of Football is also a book, and if the New York Times thought it was as good as The Bible then it would definitely be saying the same thing.

Why not judge for yourself? Over the next weeks we’ll share entries, starting this Saturday, in our new fortnightly feature – The Sound of Football.

If you want to know more, here’s the intro:

World-renowned manager Giovanni Trapattoni, one of five managers to have won league titles in four different European countries, said that listening to music makes footballers better players. 

Trapattoni said: “If you listen to Mozart, you’ll play better football, you’ll learn a lot about intervals, tempo, rhythm. You learn the logical skills you need to read a game“. 

While we don’t expect Premier League superstars to listen to Mozart’s ‘Requiem in D Minor’ as they strut off their team bus wearing designer tracksuits and oversized headphones, we do know what they’ll hear when they step on a pitch. From the moment they walk out, every tackle made, and every goal scored, they hear music from the stands: singing and chanting, screaming, and shouting. Football stadiums are alive with songs and noise as football and music arouse the same thing: passion.

Football and music don’t have a proud history: remember ‘Vindaloo’? Shudder. But it has a secret history, untold tales from terraces across the country that reflect and strengthen the links between supporters and players as voices combine to amplify the highs and the lows of what it means to be a football fan.

Yet, in March 2020, the link was broken. Stadiums lay empty after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions meant fans stayed at home. The sound of silence replaced the sound of football. For 18 months, not only could we not see our teams; we were robbed of our voice.

As fans return, it’s time to remember the songs we sing and why we sing them. It’s time to combine our voices again. And while we don’t know if listening to music makes players play better. We do know that football needs the music of the stands. And that players and fans together can rejoice again in the sound of football. 

In the following pages, we track down the stories behind the best, worst, and most off-the-wall football anthems for every club in the UK.  Each song reflects something unique about a club or fans. We have endured terrible FA cup final songs, beloved world cup singles, and some frankly obscene terrace chants to bring you club anthems, cult classics, chart-toppers, and hidden gems, and the incredible stories behind them. 

And where can I buy it?

You can buy it here: Amazon

Outdoor Swim Review: Carron Valley – Aug 2021 (Iain)

I’ve previously written about swimming in Carron Valley Reservoir in winter https://twinbikerun.com/2020/12/05/outdoor-swim-review-carron-valley-winter-iain/

Carron valley is very close to my house which means I can finish work and be in the water 30 minutes later. At present (Aug 2021) the water temperature is perfect for swimming without a wet suit. It must be 18-20C.

Usually I’d see noone else here but this year has been much busier. There’s occasionaly another swimmer group present or a bunch of Paddle Boarders. What is the collective noun for Paddle Boarders? I’d suggest, due to the pumps they need, that they should be called a blowup of boarders.

The only downside to summer swimming it that the water is currently a little bit peaty. This leaves a slight residue on my skin. Which makes me feel very slimy. I normally throw water over myself, at the end of the swim, to wash it off.

It’s not as bad as the White Loch. After swimming there I come out feeling like Swamp Monster.

So, You're Dating a Swamp Monster – Five Tips for Survival – Eritas Daily
A picture of me at White Loch.

REVIEW

Ease of Access: https://goo.gl/maps/vkcjfRm5cx6dYWt7A Park at the gate next to the loch. Its 10m to the waterside. 

Water quality: The water level is low at the moment which means there is a rocky “beach” to walk across before you get to the water.

Swim Quality: Perfect. Nice flat calm water

Other People: Not a soul.

Would I go back: Yes. It’s my default swim location. 

Rugged Run – Luskentyre Beach (Iain)

When I was young my next door neighbor stood in a general election as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the western isles.

Unfortunately the western isles wasn’t interested in the party of Paddy Pantsdown. My neighbor struggled to get any support. Eventually he became so frustrated at his lack of coverage at hustings and in the press that he started inventing wilder and wilder election pledges.

His wildest was a promise that if he was elected he’d build pyramids in the moors of the Isle Of Lewis. His reasoning was logical – building pyramids would create jobs and once they were built they’d increase tourism thus creating even more jobs.

Unfortunately his radical idea failed to win any votes! The island was not yet ready to build a Gaelic Tutankhamen tomb.

He probably thought his idea was original but Scotland already has a homemade pyramid. It is hidden away on a hillside on Balmoral estate on a path known only to instagrammers and people who google “how to find balmoral pyramid?”

When I die I’d be happy with just some flowers and some cards. I don’t like to make a fuss.

To access the cairn you can either pay money to enter the estate or you can walk a bit further and start at Easter Balmoral estate. From here there is free access to the estate. At least I hope it’s free. Maybe the queen sets the SAS on you if she spots you sneaking in. If you get shot don’t blame me.

MAPS

https://www.strava.com/routes/2855457181965568636

Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A nice forest walk but a bit samey after a while.

Parking

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There is a big car park next to the estate.

Facilities

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Toilets

Nearest cafe

Rating: 4 out of 5.

THere are a couple of cafes next to the car park.

Run Surface

90% trail, 10% concrete

Dog Friendly

Yes but I think there was a note asking they be kept on a lead.

Elevation

300m