Thursday, 13 December 2012

Autumn in the Trossachs

I've had half a dozen blogs posts on various topics that I've wanted to write over the past six weeks but been so busy with work and family life that the blog has rather languished.  My training hasn't though, after being ill for a bad cold through October by the time November came I had got over it and have been out running and steadily getting back my fitness.

While there was plenty of rain and flooding here in Trossachs in November there were days in between when I got out and the weather and scenery were spectacular.  I recently downloaded photo's from my phone that chronically some runs as Autumn progressed.  I thought I just upload the Autumn pictures for this post, and will follow up with another post for pictures now that Winter has become in earnest.

My first set of Autumn photo's was from my last long run the weekend before the Jedburgh Three Peaks Ultra, I might have been full of cold by the forest colours and sunshine were uplifting.

Looking north from the Cohallian Wood trail next to the Mollands Estate
Looking south over Callander from the Crags - I climb it three times on this run.
A constant theme for Autumn, muddy shoes!
Scene of destruction left by storms earlier in the year - there used to be a small path here!

A few weeks later for a lunchtime run I headed out up Ben Gulipen for a 9.5 mile, 1250ft ascent/descent hill run, a great run for big skies and wide vistas.
Emerging from the  Cock Hill woodland and looking north towards Ben Ledi
Looking south east from the summit of Ben Gulipen, Stirling and Ochills in the distance
Return leg looking north east back towards Callander and home

Towards the end of November for I headed out for an early morning 11 mile from Callander up to Bochastle hill, then down the switch backs that take you southerly end of Loch Lubnaig and then back along the trail past the Falls of Lenny and then finally the cycle path back to Callander.

Callander Meadows heading west towards Ben Ledi, crowned by the first snow
Looking back along the cycle path towards the sun rise
After ascending the trail up Bochastle hill, looking back east towards Callander, low lying mist clings to the valley bottom
Back to earth, heading east along the Cycle path back to Callander, there was a grazing roe deer right in the middle of the path, alas phone camera just doesn't capture it well.

The blue skies in this series of photo's doesn't really convey just how many days were overcast and wet this Autumn.  Almost every run in November my shoes ended up seriously muddy and in need of a wash.  A small price to pay for getting out in the country side as the trees change colour.

As Autumn was drawing to close so was my running season, thoughts turned to next season.  The lure of West Highland Way races loomed large, and a few more grey hairs appearing added a little reminder that I'm not getting any younger, if I am to tackle the great race then it's probably sensible to start planning sooner rather than later.  After much reflection I decided to put another year of more modest ultra's under my belt, and entered Highland Fling and Devil O' the Highlands.  I did the Fling this year and really enjoyed it, and have long wanted to do the Devil but always left it too late to enter, not this year thankfully!  With entries in my focus is now the slow ramp of training for these two races.  I plan to enter other races, but these will be a lower priority and will be done to support my build up to these "A" races.

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