/ Mountain Running Recommendation accessible from Edinburgh

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Steff - on 26 Oct 2012
At the end of November I will be in Edinburgh for work and have reserved a full day to get into the mountains for a longish run (30-50km, depending on terrain). Having lived outside the UK for the last 8 years I would like to ask you all for route suggestions to make the most of the day.

We are two experienced mountain runners, but used to mediterranean mountains and their climate. Thus, it is possible our navigation skills are not as fine tuned as necessary for micro-navigation in low cloud on some terrain. We will have access to a car. I have been thinking about the Trossachs area, simply because I own the relevant OS maps, but am also open to other areas. Any ideas?
tony on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Steff:

I'll have a think about routes, but one thing to bear in mind is that by the end of November, the days will be short. I'm in Crieff (near Perth) and by the end of November, sunset will be 3.44.
Eric9Points - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Steff:

There are plenty of good ideas here: http://www.stevenfallon.co.uk/hill-routes.html

At the end of November you may well find that you will need to go where the weather is best so maybe best to have a few East/West alternatives in mind until a day or two before you go.

One other thing, simply doing a round of the Pentland hills which are on Edinburgh's doorstep is a good half day out. About 14 miles and 6000 ft of ascent IIRC.
Steff - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to tony:

> I'll have a think about routes, but one thing to bear in mind is that by the end of November, the days will be short. I'm in Crieff (near Perth) and by the end of November, sunset will be 3.44.

Good point! We are both used to running through the night, but again, on very different terrain.
Steff - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Eric9Points:

Good resource! Thanks.

Any one else has any suggestions?
Alii - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Steff:

As said above, you could do worse than running the Pentland Skyline race route starting and finishing at the Hillend ski slope just south of the city.

16 miles, 6200' ascent and 14 tops. Easy navigation and almost no driving.

You can get a map of the route from the Carnethy website www.carnethy.com

A good pint in the Flotterstone Inn or The Steadings for afters.

Cheers, Ali
Steff - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Alii:

The twice suggested Pentland round seems a good option. I was planning to rent a car to be able to go further north, but given the probability of poor weather in November, maybe Pentland is a safer bet for us. Could I then get away without a car? Could anyone offer an opinion on public transport? Adding on few miles of running to get there shouldn't be an issue, as long as we are not talking about running along a motorway.

Another option that has just occurred to me is getting into an official race, should we be lucky enough to have one near enough that weekend. Anyone know for 18 November?
Eric9Points - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Steff:
> (In reply to Alii)
>
> The twice suggested Pentland round seems a good option. I was planning to rent a car to be able to go further north, but given the probability of poor weather in November, maybe Pentland is a safer bet for us. Could I then get away without a car? Could anyone offer an opinion on public transport? Adding on few miles of running to get there shouldn't be an issue, as long as we are not talking about running along a motorway.
>

You can get a number 4 bus out to Hillend which is an ideal starting place to begin a round of the Pentlands. You could do a complete circuit and come back to Hillend or run down to Balerno, Bonaly or Swantston and get buses back into the city from there. http://lothianbuses.com/timetables-tickets-maps/timetables/4 for bus routes and times.

If you were feeling energetic you could run to Balerno and then run down the path that follows the Water of Leith all the way into and through the city centre. It's about 7 miles from Balerno to the city centre. The Water of Leith is a really nice run (and down hill all the way of course ;=)).


> Another option that has just occurred to me is getting into an official race, should we be lucky enough to have one near enough that weekend. Anyone know for 18 November?

I'm not sure there are many races in mid November. If there are you'd probably find them on the interweb if you put in something like "marathon November" or suchlike.
Steff - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Eric9Points:
>
> You can get a number 4 bus out to Hillend which is an ideal starting place to begin a round of the Pentlands. You could do a complete circuit and come back to Hillend or run down to Balerno, Bonaly or Swantston and get buses back into the city from there. http://lothianbuses.com/timetables-tickets-maps/timetables/4 for bus routes and times.

Excellent. Thanks.


> I'm not sure there are many races in mid November. If there are you'd probably find them on the interweb if you put in something like "marathon November" or suchlike.

Probably not the best time for hill races in Scotland. Something to get my head round, as it's peak season here (Spain) with plenty of races every weekend ;-)
Nath93 - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Steff: Pretty long drive from Edinburgh but here's one SHR are running on the 18th.

http://www.scottishhillracing.co.uk/RaceDetails.aspx?RaceID=RA-0109

Not sure of you need to be a member of a club in GB to participate though !
john irving - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Steff:
Skyline is an excellent suggestion. If weather poor then easy to escape downhill.
Worth doing on a good day. As is Ochill 2000 route.

If weather poor, then a longer trail based alternative could take in northern segments of the west highland way, or a big round through Glen Nevis to Spean Bridge. I quite fancy running the St Cuthbert Way from Melrose to Lindisfarne. 30 miles of that would cover a lot of ground.
m dunn - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Nath93: You don't.

Moorfoots is an alternative to Pentlands, also close to Edinburgh. A bit infested by windfarms however.
Steff - on 29 Oct 2012
Thanks all. Will let you know how we get on.
In reply to Steff: There are plenty of options in easy car reach from Edinburgh in the Route Cards: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/find.php

Most will need to be extended if you're wanting 30-50km, but a map and a bit of imagination should sort that out. Besides which the bogs might slow you down anyway.

Pentlands and Ochils are obvious suggestions, as others have said. Further afield but still easily driveable the combination of the Ben Lawers range and the Tarmachans - stony and steep-ish in places but pretty runnable and you can stick to clear paths if the navigation is an issue. The six or seven Munros just south of Crianlarich (Ben More etc) would make a good day out too.

How much are you willing to do in the dark? Because as has already been said, there's quite a lot of it by late Nov.

For easy navigation and potentially public transport-able return to your start point you might consider a linear run on a stretch of the West Highland Way. That'd be a good option in bad weather too. The most interesting ground underfoot is along the east bank of Loch Lomond, which is quite rough going; much of the rest of the trail is easy gravel tracks (is that a good thing or a bad thing?). Drymen to Inverarnan would be a nice day out at just under 50km (this route http://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?i=97 plus this route http://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?i=211). Or go further north where the mountain scenery is a bit more impressive: Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven or even Ft.William (this stage and subsequent ones http://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?i=324). Ascent's probably a bit minimal for a mountain runner but you can compensate with distance I guess?

tony on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Steff:
> Another option that has just occurred to me is getting into an official race, should we be lucky enough to have one near enough that weekend. Anyone know for 18 November?

If you'd be a couple of weeks earlier, you could have done the Glen Ogle ultra (advertised as 33 miles, but actually only 30). But it's this coming Saturday, so that's no use.

Late November doesn't really feature on the race calendar up here within striking distance of Edinburgh.

If you opt for the Pentland Skyline route, be warned that it's very muddy in places - a friend did the race a couple of weeks ago, and reported calf-deep mud over one section.
daWalt on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Steff:

could be worth a look, but I don't know if it'll be ready in time......

http://www.pesdapress.com/Running-Guidebooks/c33_34/p54/Scottish-Trail-Running/product_info.html
Steff - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to tony:

> If you opt for the Pentland Skyline route, be warned that it's very muddy in places - a friend did the race a couple of weeks ago, and reported calf-deep mud over one section.

As long as it's not all the way around, I do hope to find some mud. I am afterall introducing a Spanish friend to the Scotish hills ;-)

Again, thanks to all of you for the helpful suggestions. I hadn't realized that there are so many route cards availabel now on the ukhillwalking site.
Steff - on 23 Nov 2012
We are now back from our trip and I just thought I would thank everyone again for the really useful advice received and report back on what we got done.

Due to poor flight connections, we conveniently got some extra time and good three good days of running done.
Day 1 was spent on the very recommendable Mell Circuit in Glen Finglas. This was an alternative plan to Ben Ledi, which we discarded because of unexpected presence of quite a bit of snow. The route was all on an easy track, but there was quite a bit of snow in the pass to distract from this.
Day 2, we did the section of the West Highland Way between Crianlarich and Bridge of Orchy, which due to the flooding turned out to be more challenging then expected. We lost a lot of time wading through streams, but had a great (if very wet) day.
On day 3 we ran 20km through the Pentlands without much planning, just linking up different summits as we saw fit.
All in all a very pleasant experience. I am thinking about signing up for the Highland Fling race in April to get a chance to see more.
tony on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Steff:

Glad you had a good time. I hate to break it to you, but next year's Highland Fling is already full. You can sign up for the reserve list, although if you're travelling from afar, you might not want the risk.

As an alternative, you might like the Devil O'the Highlands, which is the northern bit of the West Highland Way, from Tyndrum to Fort William.
http://www.devilothehighlandsfootrace.co.uk/
Steff - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to tony:

> I hate to break it to you, but next year's Highland Fling is already full.

Very disappointing. I will have to find another spring time race then, as I have until May to spend some remaining holiday.
jjmacewan - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Steff:

Stuc a' Chroin 5000 is a classic race to do, shorter than the Fling but hillier and rougher, 4th May in 2013.

http://www.stucachroin5000.org.uk/
ads.ukclimbing.com
steelbru - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Steff:
If it's a 50'ish mile ultra in Scotland that you're looking for then just 7 places left in the Cateran Trail, which is 18th May. 55 miles and 7500 ft ascent. http://cateran55ultra.webnode.com/

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