Sunday, 22 December 2013

Tour of Destruction, Floods and Snow

The last few weeks in Callander have seen a series of Atlantic storms sweep through, in between the wild weather I've got on with my training for the West Highland Way Race, now just 6 months away.  Local trails have mostly been cleared enough to allow passage, but several require clambering around trees. Follows are pictures from three of my recent runs, if you are impatient for festive ones scroll right to the bottom as I played in the snow just before the sun went down.

One of my regular hilly routes takes me from Callander up to and over the Bracklin Falls Bridge then on to Scout Pool, then back down the Backlin Road to Callander.

View of Bracklin Bridge, many branches brought down in the storms.

Beyond the Bracklin Bridge the path heads up hill towards the forestry track, but first you have clamber through this sorry loooking tree that has been blown down across the path.

As soon as your get to the Forestry track you have to clamber through a mighty fir tree that completely covers the junction with the path from Bracklin Falls.

Next set of tress on the way up the Forestry track.

Looking back to all the trees that have already been cleared.

There was once dense Forest here, a football pitch swathe of trees all victim of the storms

More tree clearance

As I emerged from the forestry the exposed edges have been decimated.

Viewing looking north towards local Munroes Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vortlich, I take the left track down.

Mid afternoon winter sunset, looking down Bracklin Road towards Ben Gulipen with Callander lit up below
A couple of days later I headed around a 6 and half mile loop we locally call the Four Bridges, the route back took me along the cycle path back to the Callander meadows witnessing floods thanks to all the rain that's been sweeping through day after day after day.

Normally a dry field!

Back in Callander with the Meadows Carpoark and playground flooded.
My longest run in December was a 15 mile run from Callander up to Stank Glen.  I squeezed in the run between showers and stayed mostly dry, and even got above cloud base.

Not a great photo, but this used to look very different, another huge swath of dense forest gone, trees blown down at the routes or snapped like match sticks.  The destruction is incredibly localised, some areas are untouched, others every tree in the area has been flattened.

At the head of Stank Glen looking East, 1500ft of descent to come :-)

Emerging out from Stank Glen into the main valley above Loch Lubnaig the clouds boiled away from the forestry.
My run today I headed out at 3pm and squeezed up to Bracklin Bridge and the Scout Pool just before it got dark - the same route as from my first set of photo's above.  I just had to head out as it had been sleeting most of the day down in Callander and knew that higher up I might be able to capture some Christmas scenes.  Alas with sunset half and hour into the run the light wasn't really sufficient for great photo's.  I ran back through heavy snow falling which was wonderful.
View from Bracklin Bridge

The snow and storm felled trees on the forest trail beyond Bracklin Falls had an errie Narnia quality.

Out from the forest and into the snow storm

Heading down Bracklin Road I pass example of impromptu ditch parking!

I saw this view and had to skid in the snow to a stop to capture it.  Christmas lights of Callander.
I've been slowing ramping up my mileage and distance of runs this month by still keeping the weekly mileage relatively low - average mid thirties each week and run at a easy pace for all my runs and seeing steady gains in fitness, for instance in the 9 days between the first Bracklin Falls loop at the start of this post to the one today my efficiency according to my HR monitor has improved 5%.  I am noticing that my HR for a given pace has dropped this week which is really encouraging sign that I'm regaining the fitness I lost during the month of November when I took it very easy (just 54 miles ran in November, while 106 miles already in the first three weeks December.)

Festive greetings to all!


  1. Woah, that's some serious amount of wood damage! In contrast, we got away very lightly down here, most of the storms happened further North.

    It's not over yet, there's yet another one forecast for tomorrow.

  2. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, and that training for the WHWR continues well

  3. Thanks Canute, lots of Christmas Cheer here, the girls are all singing along to Christmas songs while they work together to make the yule log :-)

    Have a great Christmas.