In The Shadow of the Sun at Tebay

“As I stepped off the bus, I was struck by such heat that I could barely catch my breath. I felt that the flaming air all around would soon choke me…I knew I wouldn’t get far, but kept going, with great difficulty, lifting one leg, then the other, as if I were pulling them out of a bottomless, sucking quagmire…My ears were buzzing; the heat seemed to be growing more intense, more abominable.” – Ryszard Kapuscinski

The third British Championship counter and the third one they insisted on scheduling for a sunny day. Ten Westies, two Shetts and one dog packed in to a mini-bus for a trot round the Yorkshire dales with the great and the good of the UK fell-running scene. Sam had chosen country over club to compete in the UK Home International on Sunday (though he proved his worth with his consummate bus-driving, dog-watching, child-minding skills) but otherwise the rest of us were raring to go.

The start was manic with 400-odd runners haring across Tebay recreation ground field and then being funnelled through a narrow gate, along a road and up a small lane. When we got out on to the field the mass the mass of runners split in to three streams each taking different routes across the moorland depending on which elite competitor made the best route choice; from the sky it must’ve looked like multi-coloured Dad’s Army arrow armies moving slowly across the landscape. I had the surreal experience of being in a group crossing paths with another group going at right-angles, dodging runners the whole way.

Once you got past the open-moorland it was a case of following fairly well-defined paths along the undulating ridge-lines of the dales. I felt like a bag of tatties from the get go and the heat didn’t help; it was definitely a plod-day.  The final steep climb up Blease Fell was a nasty sting in the tail and then a couple of miles of gentle descent in to the village that seemed to go on forever before staggering across the finish line.

Some water, a beer and burger later it didn’t seem so bad, except the lingering exhausted nausea of being out in the sun for too long.


A quality day out and well-worth the journey to tick the British champs. Well done to all the Westies for taking part and many thanks to Sam & Alistair for organising/driving. 

Posted by James Callender on Sun 18 Jun 2017 | 1 comment

Category Championship Race

Beinn Sheann

Photos from Barbara at Beinn Sheann Hill Race

Posted by Barbara MacLeod on Thu 15 Jun 2017 | comments are open

Category Hill Race


7 Westies turned up for the Durisdeer Hill Race in difficult conditions with low cloud, rain and wind. Visibility was very poor which resulted in half the field making navigation errors and generally making a hash of things.

A small field of about 40 set off up Black Hill and straight away split into numerous small groups each taking a different contouring line to the final summit path, but everyone re-grouped well before the marshalled checkpoint.  However, almost immediately after this, people were all over the place (see Strava pic) trying to find the way down to the 1st road crossing. Fortunately I could see a local ADAC runner ahead who took an excellent line which got me in front of quite a few good runners - unfortunately they all caught me up over the next few miles.

The race settled down around the back of the course, but after the 2nd road crossing more merriment ensued with people taking off in all directions and climbing the wrong hill, etc. Thick clag made for a few tense moments until the marshalls loomed out of the mist at the final checkpoint. What a relief - just a quick descent separating me from tea & cake back at the finish.

One Westie, who asked not to be named, went wrong coming down this descent and went for a tour of the local farms before arriving at the finish looking very cross (did I get that right, Gordon?).

Why this race isn't more popular is a mystery - the course is superb, organisation excellent, grub fantastic and only an hour and a bit from Glasgow.


Pick a route, any route!

Posted by Ian Thurlbeck on Thu 15 Jun 2017 | 2 comments

Category Hill Race

Cort ma Law

Photos taken by Barbara Cort ma Law Hill Race 2017

Posted by Barbara MacLeod on Thu 8 Jun 2017 | comments are open

Category Hill Race

West Highland Way in a Day (and a half)

Do you want to run the whole West Highland Way? Errr, yeah, why not.  Ive run 35 miles before. Once. So Im sure it will be fine.

A few weeks later I find myself in Milngavie at midnight outside a lively night club. The inebriated locals were a bit confused. So was I…..


After a short briefing by the race organiser, Jim, the 80 starters were away. The head torches of the front runners could be seen already past Conic Hill as I was getting round there for sunrise. All was well, running with two friends and taking in handfuls of jelly babies. Reached Rowardennan on good form.


The wheels started to fall off a bit on route to Tyndrum. That section after Inversnaid! My feet were objecting and I was struggling to keep up with my friends who eventually went ahead at Beinglas. Luckily at this point I met another runner, Richard (top bloke), who was happy to set off together and take a steady pace.


John Hamer had kindly offered to support me, so I was looking forward to meeting him somewhere between Beinglas and Tyndrum. As well as dried pears from Waitrose (highly recommend!), John arrived with foot powder and socks- amazing! I was seriously having doubts that Tyndrum actually existed after a while….must be round the corner, ok the next corner….ages later……definitely one of these corners soon…. New respect to Fling finishers!


Off to Inveroran, this was an enjoyable section. Steady terrain, nice views. At the Inveroran checkpoint was the culinary highlight of beans and sausages. Shared with a million midges but totally worth it.   


On route to Kingshouse Hotel John and I had a no-headtorch competition.  Much to Richards confusion. I eventually caved and the headtorch went on! We arrived into Kingshouse Hotel around 01:00. I was a bit cold and wet at this point and I was leaving John there. Several people that weren’t carrying on were being shown to the bunkhouse. I consoled myself with some soup then pushed off into the night.


Going over the Devils staircase was surprisingly ok. I have heard the views from the top are spectacular. The reflection of the head torch in the fog was good too. Worth walking 28 hours for. Reached Kinlochleven at around 05:00, slept for 20 mins on a roll mat, got a cup of tea and booted out the door at 06:00.


Amazing what 20 minutes of sleep can do, was on great form. The feet were tolerating the situation enough to run most of the last 15 miles. Passed a few people on the way down the forest track. I am sure no one loves that last road section! Finally got into Fort William just before 10:00 to the other runners, supporters, my two friends and John. Richard came round the corner just inside the 35 hour cut off. So proud.  


Definitely some ups and downs but something I’d recommend anyone to have a shot at.


My take home messages:

It is possible to eat too many jelly babies

You can never have too many Waitrose dried pears

Don’t massacre your own toes with tape

Beans and sausages: the food of champions

John Hamer is a legend

If you keep moving, you will get to the end!



Posted by Charlotte Heath on Mon 29 May 2017 | 3 comments

Category Ultra

Brack Attack

Stanley was always going to be up against it, putting on a hill race after a Scottish championship counter counter on a dreich wet claggy Sunday. However, to only get 14 entries was a real shame. However, it did allow some of us mere mortals to get up the sharp end for once, but more of that later.

First, let me describe the route. This really is a fabulous little event and would make a great championship short race (SHR committee members take note for next year!). The race starts on a forest commission road and undulates up and down for about 0.5k before gradually rising to the point where you turn on to the narrow trod leading up to the Brack proper. Unless you are superman, you can pretty much forget about running much from this point onwards, and it gets progressively steeper the higher you go. Over the summit and down a narrow steep trod that funnels you through bum slide gully and down to a little lochan. Run round this and then back down beside the burn to re-join the steep path lower down. Then it back down to the road for the run in to the finish.

So how did it pan out? Standing on the start line, I quickly identified 4 young guys who made up the fast pack, and sure enough, they quickly cleared off along the road. This left me and Neil Waslidge duking it out for 5th place. As we started up the narrow Brack path, I got occasional glimpses of the young guns up ahead in the mist, but catching them was never going to be an option – or so I thought! I was more interested in staying ahead of Owen Bass of Deeside who was making a determined attempt to catch me.

Over the summit,  I had gained a narrow lead over Neil and was looking forward to the steep technical descent – this is my territory now. Bum-slide gully passed without incident, but as I got to the point where I should be able to see the Lochan, the marking was sketchy and the alarm bells were starting to ring. Then I heard young Sam shouting guidance through the clag and all was well. Round the loch I went, and  as I was charging down the slippery vague path by the burn, 2 runners loomed into view. It was 2 of the young team.  I belted past hoping that they would not latch on, thinking to myself ‘crikey I’m up to 3rd’. Then as I came out of the mist, I met Stanley sweeping the course who shouts to me, ‘Don well done – you’re 2nd.  This excited me, confused me and scared me all at the same time. I was thinking – I’m going to hit the road with 3 fast guys gunning me down! On to the road, and it’s a miracle that I did not dislocate my neck due to the number of times I looked back. However, it transpired that I had a good lead and need not have worried. Young 17 yr old Kieran Cooper, arguably the least experienced runner in the field made the most of the difficult conditions to win with a time of 59.41. And yes, my first second place ever in a hill race at the ripe old age of 59.5 – you could not make it up! I will leave it up to the other westies to chip in their thought on this great little race.

The results are below, but before I finish, I would like to point out that Stanley and his family went to a great deal of effort to organise this event. There was tea, coffee and fabulous home baking + everybody got a prize of beer or Wine. I would be very surprised if Stanley broke even on this event. I think the club should adopt and promote this great  little race and, if necessary, subsidise Stanley if he is out of pocket. I’ll get off my soapbox now!



Kieran Cooper





Don Reid





Neil Waslidge

Lochaber AC




Robert Hamlin





Owen Bass

Deeside Runners




Eck Anderson

Anster Haddies




Brett Stevens





Peter Midgley





David Duncan

Ochil Hill Runners




Jean Mclennan

Dunoon Hill Runners




Klaas Wynne





Marinos Calothis





Sharon Taylor






Posted by Don Reid on Fri 26 May 2017 | 5 comments

Category Hill Race

Simon Triger Memorial Handicap

There was a great turnout tonight to remember or great friend Simon. Andrew hoodwinked the handicapper with his tales of woe and was a clear winner. Gregor was fastest runner, just outside his course record.

1  Andrew McBride     51.40

2  Gordon Bulloch      56.35

3  Robert Hamlin       44.50

4  Gregor Stewart     38.53

5  Rob McQuater       55.07

6  Don Reid              49.28

7  Sarah Adam         54.40

8  Kevin                   61.28

9  Lorna Mahoney     52.38

10 Jenn Ruddick       62.10

11 Peter McNab       58.15

12 Ian Thurlbeck     50.30

13 Rod Fleming       58.40

14 Val Houston       52.41

15 John Hamer       65.20

16 David Dickson   58.25

17 Tom Finch         59.50

Brian                    79.55

Posted by John Donnelly on Wed 24 May 2017 | comments are open

Category handicap races

Scottish Islands Peaks Race 2017

Ten moments in no particular order what so ever.


1) Taking about 15 minutes to run the first km on Arran after no sleep the night before and 20 or so hours being unable to eat or drink due to seasickness.


2) Getting a voicemail from our skipper at 14:15 on Thursday: 'Hi James, it's Alex, give us a call back - it's not all good news.' He'd taken a tumble off the pier at Oban resulting in a broken shoulder and a broken arm. We decided on Friday morning that Alex was in no fit state to go for a sail; our team would officially be retiring from the competition but could follow the fleet around the course. We'd be a man down for the weekend - a bold move by the remaining sailors and a seriously impressive effort from them.


3) Dancing down the scree on Ben More with Dr McAlinden while a crimson sunset exploded on the horizon.


4) Having breakfast with the crew of Dionysus in the posh restaurant in Troon Marina at 9am on Monday giving off an aroma of cow shit, puke, dehydrated breath and 68 hours of sweat.


5) Our Polish sailor Lucas spoke impeccable English, but had little experience with Scottish idioms. A frantic instruction of 'Lucas, gie it laldy on the jib! NOW!' resulted in no more than a bemused stare.


6) Rainbow puke over starboard coming around the Mull of Kintyre - a tasty mix of chicken stew, whole tangfastics and protein shake.


7) The miserable, grinding 10k of road at the end of the Mull run around midnight - we've still got another two f**king days to go?!


8) Leaving Oban harbour in last place but, thanks to Graeme 'One Tack' Bisset, overtaking more than 20 boats in the first hour. 


9) Stepping ashore at Jura on sea legs to find the island swaying dramatically.


10) Lounging on the back of the boat by Arran at 1am on Monday, listening to the gentle lap of the waves, looking across the water at the twinkling lights of Lamlash and serenely content at the end of the last leg.


SIPR is an amazing event; many thanks to all the marshals and organisers for making it possible. A massive thanks to the heroes of Dionysus (Niall, Graeme, Lucas and Alex in absentia) for a brilliant weekend and well done to all the other Westies taking part - looking forward to hearing about it!

Posted by James Callender on Mon 22 May 2017 | 3 comments

Category Hill Race

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