Arthurs (not much of a) Seat
Day one for Kirsten, Steve and myself was planned as a 6 mile walk up a section of ‘The Push’ route. As often is the case though, the Scottish ‘summer’ weather didn’t fancy our plans so due to the heavy rain we changed tack and decided on a jaunt up Arthur’s Seat for a first attempt at warming up the muscles. Ironically, as we set off the rain stopped, offering us some great views across Edinburgh and beyond, to the black clouds hovering over the Pentlands.
Kirsten led the way with the speed and agility of a mountain goat (editors note: Kat wasn’t exactly slacking either!). There were loads of photo opportunities as Kirsten and I had new gym kit to test for jump-ability and for Steve to practice his serious hiker ‘not in a hipster way’ pose. As we reached the top of the ‘seat we spent some time observing the crowd of tourists, seriously questioning their footwear choices (honestly, Birkenstocks for climbing a hill?) and sulfide faces. After rehydrating we continued on down the other side, as the hill-runners picked their way down the rocks as if their shoes had springs built in.
We decided to finish off our ‘training’ by hitting one of the Royal Mile’s finest coffee and cake houses but due to the inclemency of the weather, so had most of Edinburgh!
Steve goes solo
I decided to have a solo wander through the hills in preparation for The Push a few weeks ago. I had sandwiches, water and a Bounty Trio with me, so in other words, I was ready!
I stuck my headphones in, put some Biffy Clyro on and set out from Base Camp (Flotterstone ranger station) to make an attempt on the summit (Carnethy and Turnhouse Hills) before sun down.
After a few miles I realised that inexperience had left me with a big dilemma. I’d left too late to do the whole walk and still be back in time for dinner with my fiancee’s family, and wanting to reach The Push with all my limbs intact, I decided to cut a bit off the route and follow a path between the hills and up the side of Carnethy Hill.
That, as I believe Julia Roberts once said in Pretty Woman…was a BIG mistake. Big. Huge.
First rule of hillwalking club, know what the features on a map actually are!
It was only later I discovered the dotted green line I’d decided to follow wasn’t actually a recognised path but just a fence and it was really, REALLY steep! I should’ve twigged I was going the wrong way when the only people I saw for the next hour following that fence were coming down that way!
Having made it to the top and surviving the withering looks of a few sheep along the way, the view down the valley was something else and I’d have taken more pictures if only I could’ve steadied my hand against the wind! It didn’t matter about the weather though, when you have stunning views like that, no weather can really ever spoil it.
From the top of Turnhouse Hill the route was mostly downhill from there and pretty uneventful but very pleasant none the less. I even managed to get back to the car just before the rain started battering down for the rest of the day so, you know, win win all round!
I’d definitely recommend this walk, which should take about 4-5 hours.
Just don’t follow the dotted green line…
Jamie and Rachel’s Glencorse Dander
We had planned a route just over 9 miles, starting at Bonaly and finishing at The Steading pub for some soup that Rachel assured me was “amazing”.
It was a bright sunny day, lovely conditions and after some doubts from both Rachel, who’d only twigged how hilly hills were, and myself after I forgot to put sun cream on my big baldy heid, we got a good pace going and the first 5 miles flew in.
By the time we reached Glencorse Reservoir though our lust for soup (is that even a ‘thing’) became equivalent to zombies seeking fresh meat and we quickened the pace as dark clouds gathered on the horizon. However, after Rachel made the fatal error of letting me navigate, we took a wrong turn. We could see where we wanted to go, but had no earthly idea how to get there!
After finding a burn to lead the way, we found out it was impossible to walk alongside and eventually made it into a field, that led to a wee road, that led to a big road, that had the pub on it. Success! A quick check on my now functioning phone to see how far away the pub was…a 5 minute walk at most, surely?
No. It was over 2 miles away. In the pissing rain. With the traffic screaming by. The whole way.
We eventually made it, soaking, but thankfully I was still alive as Rachel was too tired to murder me. In our desperation to get away we jumped on a bus home, where on the way I bought a massive guilt-fuelled Chinese takeaway for us both.
Lessons learned: Under no circumstances whatsoever let me navigate as I’m not Ray Mears. I’m not even Bear Grylls…and he’s a proper muppet!
The Push, in partnership with St Columba’s Hospice, is on the 10th of September.
If you’d like more information or to enter a team click here.
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