Monday, 14 April 2014

Dark Demonic Deeds in Dunkeld

There was an eerie silence through the woods and a low swirling mist over the hilltops, the forces of malevolence and darkness were at work there was no doubt about it, the devil had a hand in it…after all this area was the setting for Shakespeare’s supernatural masterpiece of murder and witchery.

Well ok I am being a tad melodramatic. Basically some naughty person had altered the race route markings leading to all sorts of chaos and mayhem. 

Anyway while I am on the subject on unearthly and mystical occurrences Simon had entered the hill race which itself is certainly a once in a blue moon event. He did look most unhappy about the whole prospect of tackling the hill that morning and disappeared into the Hilton hotel for a double dose of scones and jam as his warm up while I jogged around the forest freezing my backside off.
The perfect warm up routine...
The start was slightly delayed as Adrian carefully counted each runner through the startline – maybe he did expect to lose one or two after all..??

The race starts at the Hilton Hotel
And off we went. Past a picturesque little loch and off up into the forest on nice runnable trails. As far as hill races go this is not a particularly gnarly one and I started to enjoy it trotting along in 4th place with the 3rd placed female runner a few paces ahead. After just over a mile I turned left on to a wide track ...only to be met by a big bunch of runners coming back towards me, maps in hand. We all stopped at the junction and from here the group split with half of us going in exactly the opposite direction along the track and the other half disappearing back the way they had come in search of an elusive missed checkpoint. By now Simon had caught up with me so deciding that the game was over we trotted along together and about half a mile later we were passed by the race leaders confirming that we had most definitely taken an unintentional short cut, not that we were in any doubt really. Although initially I was annoyed at myself for falling into the old trap of simply following the runner up ahead and not keeping my eyes open for any other trails or turnings, after all I’ve done enough hill races to know better, but then I took my foot off the gas and it now became a pleasant Sunday run and I started to enjoy myself I’m not too sure that the same could be said for Simon who seemed only able to communicate in grunts.
 I went on ahead searching out any missed turn offs in the undergrowth and managed to get to the mist shrouded summit of Deuchary Hill without further incident. On the summit I was informed by the marshal that people had appeared at the top from all different directions. It was silent and eerie on the hill waiting for Simon and for a fleeting moment my mind drifted back to MacBeth. My first thought was that if I see a forest on the march anywhere I will a) cut back on my alcohol intake and b) get the hell outta there!

 Happily though the only apparition looming on the horizon was Simon appearing through the mist.
He did enjoy it, i'm sure of it!
The route back was a nice gentle predominately downhill track and I’m sure on a sunny day the views would be great. When I lived in Dundee I used to train over some of these trails and it is possible to watch Ospreys diving in the lochs but sadly this wasn’t going to be happening today. When I estimated that there was only a mile or two to go to the finish I started to crank up the pace a little which may seem a little mean having run with Simon for most of the way but believe me, i did not want to be in the situation of having Simon on my shoulder with 100 yards to go as he doesn’t take any prisoners. It seemed like a bit of a long slog before the sharp turn through the trees to the finish line and on finishing there was nothing for it but to follow the lure of fresh scones back at the hotel. Resistance is futile!!

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