Will spare you the domestics, but bit of a scramble to get to the Gargunnock agricultural show, piling into the parking area at 2.29 (full 60 seconds to spare) after an hour in the car, but with a disabled father in law in the passenger seat was granted a “ringside” parking space from which I could see the runners assembling outside the tent, getting ready for the off.

Fortunately already in running gear…..threw on studs……ran across the ring trying to avoid tripping on untied laces……into tent……..tied aforementioned laces whilst shouting out details to the patient lady at the table completing my entry form…….no, she couldn`t also go to the toilet for me (had tanned a load of water before left the house)……..hurried signature……..mumbles about money in car……..outside to hear starter –  “oh, here he comes now”…….and we`re away!

Last into the field (of runners) and last out of the field (of grass) to head for the hills. Saw someone shout and wave in my direction, but still being a bit dizzy took me a minute to realise that it was a family friend Gregor, apparently dodging his studies at Stirling Uni for the afternoon. Gently (absolutely bursting for loo) made way through back of village. At first suitable spot nipped into a wee quiet corner behind a hedge. When rejoined the field was gently chided by someone in his best “Ahh Dooogie, Dooogie, Dooogie” voice that I had just relieved myself in “meenister`s brae”. No bolts of lightening, so got away with it. 

Quietly picked my way, gaining the odd place here and there. Had a wee chat with Jonathan Weir on way up, having not spoken to him much since we were both stranded (“vertigoed” might be a better term) on the slabs of North Goat Fell during the Glenrosa Horseshoe a few years ago, and we then had a good joust on the ever winding downhill track, which was fun. As mentioned elsewhere by BB (the elder) the track maybe features a bit much for the purist, but it`s one of those races that`s worth a go if you haven`t done it, or are in the locality.

When rushing out of the tent had just seen a blur of faces and not able to pick anyone out other than the diminutive Catriona Graves, whom I know from Garscube. She ran for Britain as a junior fell racer last summer, and this seemed to be a workout for her in advance of the coming weekend`s international trial at Keswick…….and a good workout it was too as she left with the David Hay Memorial Trophy for finishing first. That seems to be her first entry in Scottish Hill Racing`s hall of fame, and at the moment the only female with a 100% record. For those of you who have not made the connection she is the wee sister of Alastair Graves, who has donned the golden W from time to time, posted the record in the Simon Triger Memorial 2 years ago, and is now studying in England. Her old man, Philip, also pops up from time to time, most recently at Cort ma Law.

Excellent flapjacks at the end……….and yes, I did remember to pay my entry fee. Rain monsooned all the way home, but I had seen a new race, had a good workout, and father in law, who was a butcher/cattle dealer, and had not been up the road on the other side of the Campsies for many moons enjoyed reminiscing about all the places, and people connected with them, from yesteryear. Result all round.

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