When I met JR on Wednesday morning he told me he was doing a night run with Jimmy,Geraldine, Ian and Brian on Friday night but of course he was also meeting three of the girls for a morning run up Whinney Hill at Balloch Park. (By the way, he also took in his judo club in the early evening!)
In for a penny, in for a pound, I decided to do both, and thoroughly enjoyed them. The morning run,about 5 miles, was very easy, despite the terrain and muddy going, and was followed by tea and rolls in the CE centre before getting the chores done and resting up for the 10 o'clock meeting at the club. Brian supplied the transport for the main group, dropping his car at Balmaha and his wife, Lesley, dropping them off at Milngavie. Jim had queried the worth of going over Conic in the dark, as it would be daylight when going over in the race, and had decided on an alternative which was to run on the way until going under the bridge at Killearn then making a sharp left and following the road to the T junction on the Stockiemuir Road where he would pick up the Cameron Muir Rd to Caldarvan on the Balloch Horseshoe. For logistical reasons, i.e. no room in Brian's car, and safety reasons i.e. not leaving the old fella on his own in the dark, I would join Jim and give him a lift home from the club where I left my car. Helen, Jim's wife was roped in to drop us at Milngavie and take their car home. Sorted!
We started from the Station car park where JK, Marco, Ian, Stan and Ritchie were gathering and met the other Millies at the official start of the way and into Mugdock Park. The first impression was that it is different in the dark and before we left it, we had made three slight navigational errors but managed to stay on track. The park was busy with youngsters enjoying he fine weather and a reddish crescent moon that was slowly sinking to the west. Brian seemed anxious to set a pace and he and Ian would regularly disappear into the darkness before waiting for us further ahead. Geraldine told us of her working(?) trip to Toronto that she had enjoyed the previous week, and JR told us that we were running at 18hour pace, in other words SLOW DOWN! Like a broken record.
JK and co caught and passed us at the Carbeth huts, where again the residents were enjoying a lovely evening by candlelight and as we descended towards the rough ground near Dumgoyach where another runner passed us with a quick hello and then Peter Halpin caught us and stayed. He was running to Drymen and back to Knightswood for 28 miles. Peter and I have known each other for a few years as we both coached,he at Clydesdale and myself at West Dunbartonshire so we took the opportunity to catch up. Jim had a fall when Peter caught us and then lost the power in one of his torches when it dropped, but neither fall was fatal!. We were still setting a decent pace and soon reached Killearn where Jim and I said our farewells and faced up to a long steady climb to the Stockiemuir Rd, an opportunity to eat and drink as we walked for a while. Across the road going left of the house at the T junction and we were on the road over the moor. This road is sometimes trail, sometimes tarmac albeit very old and breaking up. It is undulating but very runnable and we made good time across the top with views of the Whangie hill and Queens View to the east and the outline of the hills to the west. It will be revisited in order to see the full extent of the views in daylight.
Before long the tree lines and houses around us became familiar and we were descending down into the Caldarvan area and the last few miles of the Balloch Horseshoe, although I still have trouble gauging just where I am in the dark.
And then we were in the Vale, with taxi drivers and drunks looking at us as if we'd just landed from Mars! Back to the car just as Marion drove past on her way home from work, where she has the pleasure of dealing with Glasgow's more anti-social elements on behalf of the cooncil. She had run with us in the morning but I don't know what her passenger thought of the two mad men stripping off in a public car park!
We were finished in 4 hrs and 10 minutes. I hadn't worn a watch and felt the better of it, but the old fella knew exactly what we were doing! I dropped him off, picked up an early edition of the Daily Susan Boyle and some chocolate before heading home for a shower and a kip. Heading out now for a massage then home to watch the Cup Final although I'm not sure what one will be the best to watch.
Footnote; Whilst coming down through the horseshoe I found an SOS note from a child wanting the finder to contact Childline re his mother's cruelty. Something to do with being made to do training runs at age 4 months!