Somehow my hillwalking hasn't really got going this year (although there is now a weekend booked in at the start of July probably in Glenfinnan). When working on the elections I was either working at the weekend or was just too knackered to think about getting up and away early on a Saturday. Then I've been struggling to get going....
Didn't do much yesterday either - weather up north looked a bit dodgy and I had been out on Friday night. Today though I took the plunge and did something......the Seven Hills race here in Edinburgh. 14.2 miles with a total of 2200feet of climbing around Edinburgh's hills. There is no fixed course just a requirement that you need to visit each of the hills in turn, so the experts are always looking for shortcuts. It is an interesting race for that reason - you are not sure whether the guy you are following has a great route idea or is just lost.
I last did this in 2002 when I was running a bit more and was probably fitter for this type of thing. On Friday I saw it was on this weekend and started to toy with the idea of entering. Then, when I didn't do much yesterday I more or less decided to have a go.
The race starts on Calton Hill with a nice view of Arthur's Seat, the last hill, Edinburgh's own city centre mountain. After that it is
- The Castle (esplanade)
- Corstorphine Hill
- Craiglockhart Hill (East)
- Braid Hill
- Blackford Hill
- Arthur's Seat
I must have walked at least half of the course - all the uphills and then lots of times on the flat too - but I was happy to get around OK. It was warm and sunny too, a really nice day.
After the castle there is a long trip out to Cortorphine Hill, where I got a bit lost on the top trying to find the checkpoint. Then it is back through different residential areas before a stiff climb up Craiglockhart Hill.
Arthur's Seat at the end was a tough climb and dropping back down towards Holyrood Palace and the Parliament, my quads were sore. It is a great race though - really friendly without all the hype that goes along with many races. The support round the course was great too, including one house in Nicolson Street where a guy was giving out water and a little boy was happily spraying us with a hose.
I was about 25 minutes slower than the last time I did it, but with the total lack of training, I was happy with my time. Well....not a total lack of training, just a lack of distance running.
I tried to keep taking photos on the way round, some of which are below: