As usual, a motley bunch of Westies surfaced around Carbeth for the annual Christmas Handicap. Some of us traditional (i.e. unimaginative or just plain lazy) folks just appeared in traditional (i.e. classic) running costume. The remainder turned up in various guises, including dirty old MacGrim, Caribinero Gibbie (replete with genuine Spanish polis bunnet), skimpily-dressed Christine, Fred JQ Flintstone(complete with the best small-to-medium club in the west) and Floppy Orr(not so much of a hare as he was in it right over his ears). It occurred to the fair-minded and reasonable side of me, albeit fleetingly, that those who have put all this time and trouble into dressing up for the event should be credited with some time advantage in the race. However, the traditional and scrooge-like side of me agrees resoundingly that this would go against the spirit of the race, which has over the years gained a well-deserved reputation for awarding handicap times based on bribery, favouritism, vendettas and plain old stupidity.

This year was no different; just ask Helen! Unfortunately, no-one got lost this year, less to do with Drew’s route marking or erudite instructions before the start and more to do with Sheila being taken around the trail a couple of days beforehand. This made a mockery of the handicap times as she had been given the benefit of a 5 minute off-trail blunder as she set off in first place. In the event, the diminutive Doc won, seeing off Muffy and Cap’n Hamer.

Afterwards, we all mosied down to the Carbeth Inn for a lucky dip of prize vouchers, which can be redeemed for the real thing after I get down to Morrison’s tomorrow.

Thanks to Drew, Archie, Graham, Helen and everyone else for organising, starting, results and providing (im)moral support!

Results below in Actual Finishing Order (running times in brackets, followed by prizes, awarded to those present at the prizegiving)

1 Sheila 28:27 (28:27) Kiss from Drew redeemed on the day

2 Muffy 28:56 (25:56) Mars Bar

3 John Hamer 29:37 (23:37) Tin of Prunes

4 Gillian 29:42 (26:42)

5 Dave 30:17 (21:17) Packet of Haribo

6 Ewan Dytch 30:27 (18:27) Fastest time (leftover Chicken feet)

7 Grim 30:51 (26:51) Liquorice laces

8 Jamie 31:02 (21:02) Bottle of wine

9= Gibbie 31:13 (23:13) Tunnock’s Tea Cakes

9= Don 31:13 (22:13) Teabag(s)

11 Colin P 31:49 (28:49)

12 Rod 32:03 (20:33) Bottle of Malibu (redeemed on the day)

13 Christine 32:27 (24:27) Kiss from Muffy

14 John Q 32:54 (22:54) Bottle of beer

15 Helen 34:42 (26:42)

16= Johnston 38:05 (27:05)

16= Graham K 38:05 (27:05) Jar of chicken liver pate

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