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.
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.
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.
After an obligatory photo at the top. Return back to the start of the small track.
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.
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.
There are three starts to a race. The first start is when you start running. For most of us this will be a few metres before the start line as we don’t start at the start as we don’t want to mix it with the top club runners looking to win races. The second start is when you start your watch so you can keep track of how far you’ve run and how long you’ve been running. This second start will be as close as possible to the third start – the point we cross the start mat and hear the beep of timing chips.
Three starts. Three times we control exactly when we start a race as we decide when to start running, when to press start, when to cross the mat, yet still I like to hear the sound of a starting gun, klaxon or just a loud whistle. There is something ‘official’ about having a starting signal that Garmins and beeps cannot replicate. Even better, the start should be marked with an official starter, and in most years, for the Jimmy Irvine 10K it’s been Jimmy Irvine himself. You can read about it here (including more about Jimmy Irvine). This year, he wasn’t here in person, but he was here in portrait as the finisher’s t-shirt had a picture of him and his wife on the start line at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.
The race has taken a number of different routes around Bellahouston Park however, this year, it stayed the same as last, which I originally thought was great as it features two laps and three visits to the same downhill section. As the race starts on a hill you run downhill for most of the first kilometre. You then repeat it again at the end of the first lap and again at the end of the second. Two laps, three downhill sections.
However, when I say I “originally thought it was great”, I have now changed my mind. Last week, Iain and I ran around Edinburgh, taking in a number of hills including Blackford and Arthur’s Seats. After checking Strava, I notice something curious. The highest heart rate was recorded at the bottom of hills, and not the top. With the peak rate being recorded at the bottom of Arthur’s Seat after running down from the summit.
I’d always thought that running uphill was harder. It certainly feels like it. But, the scientific evidence – and what is more scientific than a record on Strava! – shows that running downhill was much, much harder.
So, when I originally thought I was going to write about how the Jimmy Irvine 10K is a nice route as it’s more downhill, than up. I’m now here to warn you that the Jimmy Irivine 10K is a hard race because it’s mostly downhill! Avoid, do something easier like the Ben Nevis Hill Race or the Mt Everest Marathon. Anything except run downhill!
Saying that, I might just be annoyed because I missed out on breaking 45 minutes by 8 seconds. It was still the fastest I’ve run a 10k in a few years but, still, even with three starts, I couldn’t find one that would take my time below 45 minutes…
I blame Iain. He ran off to fast and I decided not to keep up as I wanted to warm up a bit first. Then, to make matters worse, he ran the rest of the race too fast as well! What a cheat! I bet he even ran the downhill sections. I didn’t. I walked them* – you can’t be too careful you know!
So, while there was three starts, there was only one way to finish: second place to Iain again.
*This might be a lie to avoid saying I couldn’t catch up with him even when I was trying to sprint.
When people talk about favourite bridges they might pick the Forth Rail Bridge or the Golden Gate Bridge but neither is my favourite. I like Jeff Bridges. He’s the only one of the three that has won an Oscar!
Glasgow has 21 non Oscar winning bridges.
A couple of weekend ago I decided run to across as many of the bridges as possible. I invited some members of my triathlon club along. The rules for the run was very simple – every time we get to a bridge, cross the bridge. Let me repeat that – get to a bridge, cross the bridge.
We got to the first bridge. People ran past it. I shouted at them to come back. “Get to a bridge. Cross the bridge!” I repeated. “oh – I understand now.” they said. We got to the second bridge. They ran past it again. Its a really simple rule – “GET TO THE F’ING BRIDGE, CROSS THE F’ING BRIDGE!” Sometimes I despair.
We started at Dalmarnock and ran East to West. We could have done it the other way but East to West meant starting at a McDonald’s restaurant next to a scrap year before finishing at two Glasgow landmarks – the Armadillo and the Science Tower. West to East would have meant starting at the landmarks but finishing with a big mac and a Mcflurry. I choose the scenic rather unhealthy option.
It was a fun route. You can find the GPX for it here
The best graffiti I’ve ever seen was in London shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attack. I noticed someone had sprayed a wall with the phrase “Osama Bin Laden has a small willy”
Which distils the complicated geopolitics of western and eastern religions down to a simple playground insult.
Bin Laden is not the only one whose nether regions have been mocked. Similarly, during World War Two, Hitler was ridiculed in an equally childish manner with a song claiming he only had one ball
Hitler has only got one ball The other is in the Albert Hall His mother, the dirty bugger Cut it off when he was small
Glasgow has recently launched a Mural trail. Mural is a posh word for graffiti. The murals are helping to rejuvenate streets and revitalize buildings and vacant sites that look a bit tired, reincarnating them as beautiful pieces of public street art.
I won’t list any of the murals because I think the joy of them is the surprise you get when you see them for the first time. Much like that joy I got the day I discovered Bin Laden and his small winky. Which is a phrase I never thought I’d use in a public forum!
If you’re not familiar with SUP then Wikipedia describes it as:
“Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is an offshoot of surfing that originated in Hawaii. Unlike traditional surfing where the rider sits until a wave comes, stand up paddle boarders stand on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water.”
I couldn’t find any info about who invented SUP Yoga but I’d guess they’re American and that they have an Instagram account as it’s a hobby ideally suited to warm weather and looking good in photos.
It definitely wasn’t invented by a Scotsman as my first reaction when hearing about it was – “You want to do what? Float on an ironing-board and try to do a handstand in the loch? In winter? You must be mental!”
So why do SUP Yoga? According to experts (also known as a Google search of the phrase “why do SUP Yoga?”) there are 10 reasons to try it. Google’s reasons are in bold and my response is below each one
1. SUP and yoga keeps you in the present….
It did. It kept me present fearing falling off the board into the water.
2. A greater sense of mindfulness will develop….
It did. I had to pay attention to every breath and body movement, every placement of a foot as I was mindful that any mistake would mean I would fall in the water.
3. You don’t have to be an advanced yoga student.
That’s true. I received praise for doing something I would consider easy. I was praised for standing up! The last time I got praise for standing was when I was a baby or that time I had 10 pints and fell over. “oh look – he’s standing. Well done you!”
4. Advanced students can bring another level of challenge to their yoga practice.
True – I thought I was okay at yoga but doing it on a board is so difficult my downward dog became a drowned dog.
5. The pace of your practice will slow down.
Because I was scared of falling in the water.
6. The same muscles are challenged, but in a different way.
Because you’ll say to them, “please muscles don’t fail me and cause me to fall in the water”
7. It’s like Hot yoga but with instant refreshment.
Not in Scotland – it’s cold yoga with instant refrigeration!
8. No practice will ever be the same.
They will all be the same. I always spend my time thinking “please don’t fall in the water”.
9. A chance to experience the beauty of the outdoors.
What outdoors? I was too busy concentrating on not falling in the water that I didn’t even realize I was outside.
10. SUP and yoga is fun and challenging.
Its great fun and once I fell in I realized that falling in was actually fun too. I highly recommend people give it a try but maybe not in winter!
A few years ago, I attended a Stand Up Comedy course. At the end of the course I performed a 5 minute “comedy” set. You can see the alleged “comedy” below
At the end of the gig a man came up to me to say “I really enjoyed that! You must let me know when you’re performing again”
I was pleased. I’d only done one gig but I’d already gained a fan!
I told my fan that I had a gig booked for the following week at a comedy club. He promised to attend.
I was a bit nervous before the gig. After all it was only my second ever gig but before I went on, I looked out and saw my fan sitting in the front row. I thought to myself. At least there’s one man here who’ll laugh. I went out and performed my “comedy.” My fan didn’t laugh once.
Afterwards I went up to him and asked if he’d enjoyed it. “Not really.” he replied “I preferred your early stuff!”
I never saw him again.
I was reminded of this whilst thinking about my race plans for next year. Nothing has been exciting or motivating me to enter.
I thought, maybe I should do an Ironman BUT I can’t be arsed! Last years effort and training for Norseman was hard work. I’d rather have an easier year with less pressure.
I thought, maybe I should do a Marathon BUT I can’t be arsed! I’ve done marathons before and the thought of doing another one doesn’t excite me.
What I really needed was a race that captures the excitement and feeling I get when its the first time I do it. The early stuff!
The only race I’ve never done before is an Ultra marathon. I’ve always been scared of the distance and the loneliness of running for that far and long.
So as its the only event I’m scared of and its the only running distance I’ve never done before then I knew immediately that’s what I have to do in 2019.
I’m not a mugger, though I am hiding in dark alleys.
I’m a runner – but one that’s set myself a challenge to run around Glasgow using as few streets as possible. Instead I’m running along lanes and alleyways, small parks and connecting paths. I’m explo-running*.
*TM Pending (And when I say pending, I mean the trademark office said don’t call us, we’ll call you. Which is encouraging as they wouldn’t want to spend their own money on a call unless they were really keen on the name!)
It started a couple of months back. You get used to running the same streets next to your house. No matter what you do, when you leave the house, unless like a blues guitarist you were born on a cross road, you can only turn left or right. Same road. Same sights.
It’ll be the same for every street around you. You’ve seen them a hundred times because you’ll have familiar routes and you’ll trod the same old steps.
I’ve been in Shawlands for 16 years. I know every street from Queens Park to Harry Fairburn in Giffnock. I’ve run up them, I’ve run down them, I’ve run of the left side, I’ve swapped to the right. I could run some routes blindfolded, but I won’t because I’m not an idiot. I’d veer off into traffic! But you know what I mean. I’ve been there, run that.
Until a couple of months ago when I thought, “What’s up that alley?” And I ran behind some houses on Kilmarnock Road and found an alley of garage doors, back gardens and glimpses of people washing up dinner at kitchen windows. Who then called the cops as they saw me gawk in at them looking for all the world like I’d just been caught trying to jump their fence…
It was new, it was different, and it felt like discovery. I was Christopher Columbus finding a new world… of domestic tasks and refuse bags. Which is not a new world they’d show on Star Trek. Spock never transported down to a new planet to face 45 minutes of marigolds and Fairy Liquid, But, still, a new world nonetheless.
After that, I’ve started looking out for every path that twists behind a house, every track that leads to a cluster of garages and every lane well trundled by a thousand bins.
There’s a whole network criss-crossing the city. Unexplored, unventured and ready for the intrepid runner to go exploring!
Unless, and I cannot stress this enough, you’re woman*! I’m not a mugger but that doesn’t mean you should explore dark alleys on your own!
(*This general sexist description includes men scared of shadows and excludes woman who can handle themselves in a fight or routinely carry a recently sharpened knife of at least six inches.)
Get out there and get explore-running!
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If you are thinking of doing Norseman and you’re based in the UK then its worth knowing the logistics of how to get there and back and how much it’ll cost. Whatever figure you’re thinking of, double it and then add a bit. That’ll be the figure you actually spend!
There was only two direct flights to Norway from Scotland when I booked. The choice was either Aberdeen to Bergen, or Edinburgh to Oslo.
The closest Airport to the start in Eidfjord is Bergen but the closest airport to the finish in Rjukan is Oslo.
I’d rather have a short drive after the race than before so I booked Oslo. I also live much closer to Edinburgh Airport than Aberdeen.
The flight was 2 hours but the wait in the airport for luggage was at least 90 minutes!! My luggage could have flown most of the way back in the time it took to arrive.
Most airports don’t allow bags to be left unattended but in Oslo not only was there unattended luggage strewn all over the place there was also unattended cats and dogs wandering about.
We paid £700 for three return flights to Oslo (2 x extra luggage and 1 x bike box)
I hired an estate car so that their would be enough room for everyone and the bike.
Last time I was in Norway I wrote:
We enter the destination as Eidfjord. The GPS thinks for a minute and then tells us it’ll take five hours. Nonsense! That must be wrong. Its not that far away. It was wrong. It took longer.
Driving in Norway is slow. Cars barely ever go above 50 kmph and even rarer do they overtake.
This may partly be due to their being barely a straight road between Oslo and Eidfjord. It may also be due to speed limits that I have unintentionally broken throughout the Journey.
I decided this time we’d only drive half way to Eidfjord rather than do the whole journey in one go.
Cost was £410 plus the cost of one and half tanks of petrol which is probably at least another £100.
We needed 5 nights of accommodation. One to cover the first night when we only drove half way to Eidfjord. Then two nights in Eidfjord before the race, one night at the finsh and one night before catching the plane.
This was a great place. It was very quiet and recently refurbished. We had dinner in a local restaurant and I apologise to Santa but I eat Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. It was one of the best dinners I ever had. The red nose was the tastiest bit! The only downside was the cost. Three main meals, two deserts, two beers and a coke came to £140! I blame brexit!
All the food in Norway was amazingly tasty. If the food didn’t bring tears to your eyes to your eye then the bill almost certainly will. There’s no such thing as a free meal here.
I was told to phone a number to let the host know we’d arrived. I did. There was no answer. I tried again and again and again. There was still no answer. Eventually we found a woman waling the street and it turned out she was the owner. She said she hadn’t received our calls. How strange!
The place was a bit of a dump. I think it must have been converted from a shop as the layout was strange and the lighting was that strip lighting you only see in department stores where they don’t want any dark bits in case you use the shadows to steal stuff!
It was fine for out purpose ie it was close enough to Eidfjord to get to the ferry on time but it isn’t somewhere you’d book if you were after a romantic getaway.
Andrew has already discussed his accommodation in the previous blog. I stayed in a holiday park chalet. Its a great place with a brilliant onsite cafe. The pizza’s are amazing! If you’re doing Norseman try to get booked here.
Night 5:£150 two rooms at Best Western Oslo Airport Hotel
Just after we checked in a fire alarm went off. It was a chilly evening so I put on a jacket before leaving the building. There was about hundred people outside, everyone had wrapped up warm except one man – he was naked except for a pair of pants. I bet he was fully clothed when the alarm went off but thought to himself – this is an opportunity to get naked. Nobody will complain and I’ll have the perfect excuse.
The hotel is very convenient for the airport as its only a 5 minute drive away. It also does a great breakfast. Unlimited waffles!
Food(£I don’t want to know)
The food was excellent wherever we went but it was also very expensive. I haven’t the courage to check my bank statement to see how much it all cost but budget to spend at least double what you do in the UK for similar meals.
It’s hard to go a race and not buy the t-shirt, the cycling top, the yellow duck dressed as a minion with a Norseman tattoo! Tths was genuinely this was for sale and Andrew bought one. Due to the exchange rate everything was at least a third more than the equivalent UK product but worth it to have a reminder of the day…except the duck. That was just burning money!
Overall (£1920 + food cost)
A famous quote says travel is the only thing you’ll spend money on but come back richer for doing so. They obviously have never been to Norway. You may have great experiences but you will definitively feel very, very poor!
The Glasgow SubRun was featured in the Sunday Mail on 31 December 2017 as something to do on New Year’s Day. Notwithstanding we don’t actually recommend doing it on New Year’s Day (there’s no trains so you can’t get a lift!), it’s a great article! 🙂