It all started so well – dinner on Saturday evening with old hill friend Davey Duncan, in the very excellent Steamboat Inn at Carsethorn and mugs of tea back at his camper van. I left the van around 10pm for the cosiness of my sleeping bag and my wee tent which I had erected in what I thought, would be the shelter of the ruined Sweetheart Abbey. Not so – the night was spent revisiting my worst moments at sea as the storm raged outside until the early hours, threatening on several occasions to flatten the tent completely!

Sunday morning, feeling like I had survived a heavy wash and spin cycle, I joined others for reviving tea and scones before preparing my fragile old body for the next onslaught and at the same time getting a chance to eye up the over 60’s competition across the tea pot! It was still chucking it down and blowing a hoolie but after still more tea, the front passed through in time for a good warm up run around the village. New Abbey is such a pretty village with a waterwheel, a crannog, a cornmill, a saw mill, a mill pond, lots of blossom trees and a burn interestingly called New Abbey Pow; 200 plus fidgeting runners slightly lowered the tone and upset the tranquillity as we lined up at the millpond for the race start.

What can you say – after the fast tarmac and forestry track start, it was a bog slog to the summit and from the summit to the bottom it was a moving mud bath with a trip wire and slimy tree roots thrown in for added fun! A few people said that they enjoyed it – they were the perverts. The ascent required doggedness and the descent required total concentration in order to a) avoid being mown down by flying, gravity resistant youth and b) to resist gravity and an instant face pack! I pushed as hard as I possibly could on the way up, so hard that Mr Brennan, usually a speck on the horizon, only caught me at the summit cairn before then, fast becoming said speck.  It was great to get encouragement from descending fellow Westies all of whom who found the presence of mind and breath to shout out. I tried equally as hard on the descent but these days I’m pretty crap at it so it was more of controlled slide and damage limitation exercise than a respectful hill running descent. By the time my wobbly legs hit the forestry track again, I had only one question for any woman who dared threaten to overtake and that was – are you 60?! Luckily, none of them were, so round one was a wee victory for me – still 5 to go!

Well done to the other 16 wonderful Westies who ran, especially to our newest lady member, Sarah Cordeaux. Here are the results:

Gregor Stewart                 1.02.16

James Callender                1.03.38

Craig freshwater              1.05.14

Niall McAlinden                1.05.51

Owen O’Neill                     1.08.15

Alasdair MacInnes           1.09.23

Christopher Butler           1.11.53

Graham Kelly                     1.21.03

Gordon McCaffrey          1.22.05

Sarah Cordeaux                1.23.38

Alistair Boyer                     1.24.05

Maya Hernes                     1.24.28

Brian Brennan                   1.24.32

John Donnelly                    1.25.21

David Dickson                    1.25.48

Christine Menhennet     1.28.05

 

John Hamer                        1.31 47

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