This all came about following a comment from a club member (Sooze) that she’d like to try running Kaim Hill – not in the race, just as a training run. I took her up on this and we agreed on a Thursday night.
To mix my metaphors, the best laid plans grow arms and legs and take to the wing (howzat). Before we could say, use your arms to sprint, 7 others had declared an interest.
We all met in Fairlie at just after 7pm. The 9 were depleted to 7 but enhanced by 1 extra and 2 old pals from another club. To name them, there was: me, her, Ian, Iain, Gordon, Nats, Mags, and Elaine. Also there were Superhero McKendrick and Lightfoot himself.
Before we started, I explained all safety aspects and the potential difficulties and dangers on this particular hill. Sooze declared that she had her photo of her little treasures (age 6 & 1) so that her final action could be to kiss her wee sweeties goodby.
It was never very likely that SM and Lightfoot would hang around at the pace we were setting and so it proved. When we reached the top of the track, prior to getting onto the hill, the gruesome twosome were so far ahead it’d have taken a ride on the jetstream to catch them.
Everyone concurred that the run up the path to the gate was a bit of a slog. I did mention that if the ladies were to use their legs more than their jaws it might be slightly easier but considering that Mags wittered on for the rest of the run, I reckon I was politely ignored.
The first obstacle was the burn. I helped the girlies over so as to keep their little tootsies dry (not that they’d stay dry for long – har har)
The hill itself is tough work. Whilst it’s not particularly steep, there’s a constant incline over very rough ground. What would be a difficult walk is a really hard run. However, the girls stuck in and never looked like giving up. Gordon and Elaine worked extremely hard, Sooze seemed to take it in her stride whilst I think that Mags and Nats simply talked the hill into submission.
Once up, we got onto the boggy part. Like many Scottish hills, the tops are pretty flat and often very wet. I counselled everyone to be careful and recounted the tale of me virtually disappearing into a deepish bog during one Kaim hill race. My demise was witnessed by big Ian who found the situation highly amusing but not amusing enough to help me out (he reckoned it would be better to take advantage and put extra time between us since it was a race). Anyway, Mags discovered for herself that the ground could suddenly become less dense, more liquid and could suck up a leg exceedingly well. I have to admit that rather than help her out, I too considered the situation to be highly amusing. Fortunately she only disappeared up to the knee and was soon out and running again.
Having bagged the bog we all reached the top and the trig point where congratulations and gulps of water were the order of the day. We met a hill walker who was hoping to see a spectacular sunset (Iceland volcano, dust cloud, planes grounded, etc). The sunset was certainly spectacular but I’m not sure if it was due to Iceland or if it was simply, Scotland. We all grouped together and the hillwalker took some photos – aw.
The return down the hill was equally eventful though a bit quicker. There was more caution as we went through the bog and when we reached the heather, the benefit of long running tights was clear as they slashed at our legs and made speed generally difficult. Gordon took a dramatic tumble and was very fortunate that the ground was soft and forgiving though it could have easily had a bad outcome.
The burn was much easier to cross on the way back due to feet that were already soaked (hence my suggestion to bring a pair of dry shoes to change into). We all gathered at the top of the track for the final downhill to the cars. I reminded everyone of the dangers of running downhill and potentially losing control then off we set.
There were a couple of instances where Gordon & Sooze looked like they were going too fast but they kept it together and everyone got down safely.
What I found most entertaining about our run were the squeals coming out of (I presume) Mags. They seemed to begin when we begun and ended only when she was removing her wet socks in preparation for the chips that would employ her jaws for a different purpose.
I think that everyone enjoyed the run. It was different and there was a sense of achievement at the finish. I was pleasantly surprised that no one gave up, no one moaned (in a serious way) and no one wanted to lynch Sooze for suggesting it.