> 2008 race reports
17/02/08 Carnethy 5 - from Phil Green (photos: Rob)

gathering - photo: Rob
the gathering

A fantastic sunny Saturday saw 10 NFR’s gather at Beeslack School, Penicuik for the 38th Carnethy 5 Hill Race. Splendid organisation on behalf of Carnethy HRC saw us all promptly bussed out to the start point at Silverburn. The banter made the three quarter of an hour stand that bit more bearable in near freezing conditions. 480 odd souls gathered to race uphill and possibly remember the Scots victory over the English in 1302.

Then the off! A fine charge reminiscent of Braveheart and the first line of attack being cut down by English archers or in this case a Scots peat bog. People of plenty were going face down into the clarts. Then a mad scramble over the dry stone wall, and then left down to the burn and up the very steep other side.

start - photo: Rob
the starter pistol fires

dash to wall - photo: Rob
dash for the gap in the wall

“By Jove it’s rather steep” passed through my mind at several points during the first climb to Scald Law or indeed something very similar in Anglo-Saxon. Still the run towards South Black Hill made for a nice respite and down towards East Kip. Again a steep pull up and then a great run over semi-frozen turf towards West Kip, the patchy nature of the iced turf being decidedly skitey at times. The last ten yards climbing West Kip were completed by me, on all fours, ready for the bomb down the other side.

Scald Law slog - photo: Rob
start of the long slog up Scald Law

coming off Scald Law  - photo: Rob
one peak down, four to go ...

This was a nice run down, indeed in better conditions later in the year could be flown down. Several people succumbed to the very icy conditions, removing portions of skin on the frozen earth. I only managed a minor calf pull, which slowed my already slow pace down significantly.

descent off West Kip - photo: Rob
slippy descent off West Kip

The very fast track to the reservoir stretched the pack before the climb up towards Carnethy itself. This proved another steep drag up the north facing gully to the false summit (thanks for the warning Susan) and then over the top and down through still heather before picking up a decent trod for the final third of the descent.

The Howe - photo: Rob
slip down to The Howe

Carnethy ahead - photo: Rob
Carnethy, the last peak

descent off Carnethy - photo: Rob
last descent over heather and narrow trod

The final run in from the stile was now rutted like a ploughed field, the criss-cross of so many feet rendering the bog a veritable morass. But runnable all the same, and I managed to pass a couple of people who were avoiding the clarts.

A good result from all the NFR runners, especially Phil Addyman (54th overall and first NFR male) and Susan Davis (39th lady overall and first NFR lady), NFR managed to come 17th  men’s team overall and second English club and tenth ladies team and first English women’s team.

Phil Addyman, Geoff Davis, Rob Stephens, Paul Hainsworth, Neil Gammack, Phil Green, Susan Davis, Mandy Dawson, Louise Billcliffe and Jane Saul all completed the race.

Phil Green

photos from Rob Stephens

results and more on Carnethy website

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