Archive for April, 2009

Kaim Hill Race


On a dull, dreich day as part of Scottish Hill Runner’s ‘Bog & Burn’ championship series, this year’s Kaim Hill Race took place (what a starting sentence!). :o


Unfortunately, only two TTs made the short journey up to picturesque little Fairlie with its delightful drive in past the charming Hunterston play park for hot people. I was joined by Ian McNee along with a smattering from the other Ayrshire clubs. There were the usual suspects: Big Roddy, Girvan Ian, Lightfoot Begley, Arran Paul and of course, Tartan Ian just returned from his successful TV appearance at the Carnethy 5. Another notable mention was one time TT, Stevie C, resplendent in road shoes and white compression socks (there’s got to be one – sorry Stevie ;D).

As we were waiting on the race to start most of us were busy with our excuses as to why we wouldn’t run well. Unfortunately, at the end of the race the only one who could justifiably have been apprehensive, probably performed best ie Stevie. The rest of us easily managed a PW :'(.

Conditions were pretty good for Kaim and the course marking was better than previous years. Consequently, I managed to the top without disappearing into any of the myriad bogs, hidden water courses or entrances to the netherworld. Ian, Roddy and I traded places a few times on the way up so, from my point of view, job just about done – I’d slaughter them on the way down!!

The best laid plans and all that. I started back down the hill with Ian breathing heavily behind. We continued to trade places till we got to the difficult heather descent. At this point my coordination, will to live and normal kamikaze outlook (if that’s not a contradiction) seemed to disappear. Ian passed and left me :(. Even Roddy caught me. I think that spurred me on and I upped my pace to start catching and overtaking others. However, at the bottom of the hill and the start of the track I was nowhere near Ian although I’d managed to open a gap with Roddy.

Unlike some previous years, the final descent and run in were neither hard nor painful, just dispiriting. At the finish, a lot of folk were commenting that the descent was tough so I reckon that the conditions must simply have preferred the long legs of Ian and Roddy to my wee short ones :-/.

The race winner was Lloyd Taggart of Dark Peak Fell Runners who only entered following a couple of texts from me (He’d taken a TT 10K entry to J.McK’s house and John had told him about the race and asked me to contact him). He was an easy winner in a large field. First Ayrshire runner was Nicky from Arran (winner of last year’s Ayrshire Hill Running Champs) and Ian McM got the over 60 prize (see what you missed John).

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening and the tea & bikkies were as usual, abundant. Prize giving took forever so I think Findlay needs to up his Excel skills before the next round of the Ayrshire Champs. I also managed to purloin a pretty good T shirt that I might actually wear – very impressed.

Next up for me will be Ben Lomond closely followed by Goatfell – ah….. wonderful 8-)

Screel hill short report – I beat Alex! – Tim Downie

..to the top that is. After that, things kind of went downhill. ;D

It was a beautiful day for a hill race and Screel is a great wee hill. As Alex never tires of saying, hill racing is fun and that was certainly the case today.

Almost needless to say, Alex galloped past me going downhill finishing over a minute ahead of me but I didn’t mind, I was enjoying myself so much. I leave Alex to fill in the details of the race. I just wanted to let you all know who got to the top first. ;D

You can tell Alex wasn’t taking it seriously. Look at these.

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I mean, holding hands. What’s that all about? ;D

And then…

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Think this one need a caption.

These a just a couple of random shots. First one entitled “I can fly!”

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And this is just a shot of the hill & a few runners.

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Thanks to my beloved for the photos.


Screel hill short report – I beat Alex! – Alex Drain
« Reply #2 on Apr 18, 2009, 6:28pm


Well, there’s no doubt, Tim certainly did beat me – to the top! At the end of the race, Muriel, who had been positioned about ½ way up and taking photo’s said, “There was a deathly silence as runners struggled up the slope then coming from below was Alex’ voice as he chatted to everyone around. Perhaps if he’d chatted less, he’d have got to the top a bit quicker!”

Ah well, as I’ve always said, running’s meant to be fun and on a day like it was today, why knacker yourself early when you know what’s ahead. ;)

But, to begin….. Tim and Muriel picked me up at 11 for a leisurely drive down to Palnackie, the nearest town village hamlet to the Screel hill. Unfortunately, I’d discovered that morning that this year, the race was included in the Scottish Hill Runners’ championship. That didn’t bode well because it meant that the field would be big and parking would be difficult; however, Tim did us proud and impressed me with his parking (not sure about the 3 rabbits, the family of moles and the pretty little roe deer (well, it had been pretty)). :o

In the past, this race would attract about 30 runners. Today, I would estimate 3 times that. For many races, this doesn’t pose a problem but in this one, the congestion would give even Boris nightmares.

The turnout from Ayrshire was a tad disappointing. Tommy from Irvine, Rod from Killie, Ian from Girvan….. and of course, two Tortoises.

The start was very slow due to the already mentioned congestion but within the first 200 yards we had started to settle. It was a very warm day with no wind so it’d be tough. Tim was in front of me from the go but I was content as long as the gap didn’t open too much. Tommy, Rod and Ian were also in front and whilst I knew that Tommy was out of my league, I hoped to beat the others.

I caught Ian fairly quickly then traded places with Rod a few times on the climb. As we approached the top, Rod had passed Tim who was about 30 yards ahead of me. Har, har, har, this was what I’d been waiting for!! The downhill from the top starts with a very steep drop that has little grip – who needs grip! I soared past Tim and quickly caught up with Rod so all of their previous gains had been cancelled out. :D

The next stage of the race was through forest on ground that boasted nothing but loads of tree roots, rocks and low branches that all had the remit to trip, catch or impale as many runners as possible. Rod couldn’t hold me back here and I left him standing.

Once through the trees we reached what I’d told Tim about but I’m not sure he completely believed me… a climb that cannot be run, walked or even crawled – yes, it IS a climb. For regular hill climbers it would be classed as a grade 2 scramble. Not terribly difficult but certainly a challenge when you’re 2/3 of the way through a hill race and are already knackered. Rod passed me here harrumph! Oh well, I’ll catch him later.

And catch him I did, for the last time cos he couldn’t keep up with me after that. Muriel managed to catch me just before I passed Rod, and honest, me and the lady hardly know each other! :-*

The rest of the race was fairly unspectacular. Passed one guy that had taken a tumble but medics were around him and an ambulance had been called – wonder why certain medical chaps didn’t lend a hand (tee hee). ;D All in a day’s hill racing.

Like Criffel, the views at the top of Screel are incredible. As some will know, I don’t spend ALL of my time running up hills… sometimes I simply climb them. So, I’ve experience of many Munros and the great views they provide; however, I have to say that there are many hills, like Screel and Criffel that the great Sir Hugh would scoff at that are every bit as good as those that bear his name.

Rant over… Following the race, Tim, Muriel and I went to the pub in Palnackie. Unfortunately, I don’t think that they get a lot of passing trade and, what with Muriel’s English accent, my Scots tongue and Tim’s indeterminate intonation, the barman took the safe way out and told us that they’d finished serving food a few minutes previously (I think if we’d suggested drink he’d have said, “THE BEER’S AFF.” So, it was off to Mrs Miggins for a pot of tea. The elderly ladies were lovely and their little tea room looked to me as if it had started life as their front pantry. They even sold Empire biscuits! Marvellous.

When we left Mrs Miggins we met one of the locals. Tim assured us that it was actually a friendly shaggy dog…. But neither Muriel nor I were convinced. I’ve read a number of books about the borders so I know! ;)

Another lovely drive home rounded of the day nicely so all of you who failed to show… YOU MISSED OUT! 8-)