The whole family Riddell made the journey down south on Saturday, so I could do the Screel Hill Race. Wayne and Waynetta Riddell were left at their grandparents, to remind them what teenagers are like, and Christine left me at the bottom of the hill, as she was going on to see and old friend. This left me to catch up with my Hardrock and Solway mates, a good few of whom I went to school with.

The route starts with a short run up a forestry road before cutting off up a rocky path.  This path continues up to a point where you cross another forestry road, from here the route follows a trail through a wood before emerging out in to the open for a final climb to the top. The turning point is at the furthest point of a flattish summit, which you reach by skipping over a series of rocky sections and boggy holes. The return back contours just below the summit, before re-joining the same path back down, this makes the descent quite technical, with plenty of rocks and tree roots to run over before reaching the road again for the blast back to the finish.

With quite a small field of about 60 runners, I lined up, placed myself roughly 1/3 back from the line and set off at a steady pace at the start. Once on the path and climbing, I managed to pick off a few of the Hardrock runners and I took great delight in wishing Ally Wight well as I passed him in the climb through the wood. Then on the open section to the top, I pushed on hard as I was trying to catch up with Andy Webster, but unfortunately I never quite managed to reach him. I got kind of held up on the contour section back around the summit, which allowed Ally to fly past me and I never saw him again. John Goldsworthy also passed me just before the descent in the woods, but I stayed on his heels for the rest of the run down, re-passing him just before joining the forestry road to the finish.

There are no results out as yet but I think I finished 19th. After the race I scrounged a lift back to Dalbeattie, with another friend.

Wayne and Waynetta Riddell had been reasonably communicative with their grandparents, and hence the grandparents took us out for a meal before we headed back north, which rounded off a good trip.

Final note: no passport was required to travel this far south!

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