Disclaimer : Any exaggerations in this report are fully intentional.
On the 3rd May 2021, in a new study, Glasgow was named as the rainiest city in the UK.
On Wednesday 27th October 2021 Glasgow lived up to it’s soggy reputation.
As the day unfolded the city was subjected to a downpour of biblical proportions which would have rocked Noah back on his heels and sent him to the local sawmill to purchase shipbuilding materials.
A day for the hoose by most folks reckoning.
But no, this is Westerlands Wednesday and be damned if we will be thwarted. Numerous sign ups on the Westie website promised a healthy band of Westies would be winding their way up and across Fin Glen from Clachan of Campsie to the summit of Dumbreck hill.
As evening approached local weather and traffic reports warned of road closures due to severe flooding and abandoned vehicles on many routes.
The canal patrol group was suddenly awash with messages;
“Rain bouncing of the streets so opting for a local run”
Stuck in traffic, won’t make it , sorry ” And so on.
Doubts started to creep in to my mind like the dark clouds resolutely hanging over Glasgow and it’s surrounding hills. What to do!!!
Check the forecast
Heavy persistent downpours diminishing to light drizzle by 6pm
Temp – 13 deg C
Wind – Light southerly breeze
Jeez, it almost sounds inviting and if it does rain it’ll be warm rain.
From the outset the roads were nightmarish and true to the earlier reports. there was extensive flooding with cars abandoned to add to the traffic chaos but with some careful negotiation of the flooded dips in the road to Lennoxtown I arrived at Clachan with 20 minutes to spare. But alas, no one else yet in attendance. Then minutes later, in dribs and drabs they arrived with varying travel tales of conquering the epic deluge. This culminated in about a dozen foolhardy Westies ready to run.
So of we went. I left first with three of my Altie compatriots Helen, Gillian and Melissa. The torrential rain suddenly eased replaced by a fine drizzle and an eerie silent mist. We continued up the trail on the east side of Fin Glen which was alive with wriggling torrents of water snaking their way below the trail towards the misty depths of the Glen. But these were only an indication of what lay ahead! And we heard it before we saw it!!! The thunderous echoes of Almeel burn booming through the swirling mist filled us with more than a little trepidation. Each time I raised my head the silvery darts of drizzle caught in the beam of my headtorch had a dizzying effect.
Then there it was, the trail disappeared below a malevolent raging torrent which seemed all but impassable.
We could see the trail continuing on the opposite bank only 10 metres away. We had a look upstream where it did narrow but this only resulted in increasing the velocity of it’s flow.
We were then joined by the young fast crew who had left Clachan slightly later.
We stood there slightly bemused by our predicament with only two options, turn back or cross!!!
Then a shout from Lynsey Munro, barely audible above the liquid crescendo, “Join hands, form a chain let’s do this” And we did. Inch by inch we waded carefully across with warning calls of “slippy rock” “deep here” and “oh youve got soft hands” lost in the deafening tumult. Then we were over. Success. As we looked back at our nemesis there stood three sensible Westies. The Alties had made the decision that enough was enough and cheerily waved us on our way with shouts of good luck.
Ahead was a murky scene as we forged our way onward in to the depths of Fin Glen. The trail ended and we followed an almost imperceptible trod angling downwards to Fin Glen Burn and the ascent on the opposite bank to the summit of our goal, Dumbreck Hill.
Finally through a curtain of mist and drizzle we could see, and more worryingly hear the burn, obviously in full spate.
As we gathered on the bank of the seemingly boiling water of the burn, cascading ever downward towards Clachan, we were strangely quiet.
Andrew Fullwood and myself, obviously with the longest legs or the most dispensable, tested the burns depth and velocity of flow at various points along it’s length but it was unanimously agreed that fighting against this monstrous deluge was both pointless and dangerous.
We then retraced our steps and toiled up the slopes of the Glen and once again crossed the Almeel Burn which now seemed benign in comparison.
We wound our way back down the trail reaching Clachan buoyed by the excited chatter from our courageous band of adventurers. Everyone was in agreement that, in spite of the effort and at times uncertainty of outcome, the experience was exhilarating. So with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts we parted company looking forward to the next Westie adventure.
(To be spoken in the soft silky tones of the M&S food advert) “We are not just any running club, we are the best small to medium sized running club in the West End of Glasgow”.