|Ben Lomond from the route up Lime Craig|
Over recent years I have made only slow progress towards completing a long standing target of 200 runs up the nearest hill, Lime Craig. It is a mere 325 metres of ascent over 5 kilometres and was in my racing days a regular training run taking 26 or 27 minutes to the top, my pb to the summit from home was 23 minutes 42 seconds in August 1990 during a year when I made 21 ascents. It has become more of a challenge nowadays taking between 33 and 36 minutes. I only tackle it three or four times a year, usually in the winter months when the visibility is at its best. Today the early morning temperature of -7°C had prompted me to postpone my early morning run but the blue skies and hard frost persuaded me to tackle Lime Craig along the sublime forested trails above Braeval. It was almost 11am before I ventured out, the pavements still frosted but the sun bright and the visibility excellent.
I took my altimeter to check the height gain but decided after stopping for a couple of photos on the lower slopes to forget about times, it was going to be slow but so what. Suddenly the run became joyous, every stride a chance to garner new views. I arrived at the summit feeling fresh despite completing the final 200 metres of ascent at a reasonable pace. I stood at the top on the base of the old Police radio station, removed my gloves and began to box the compass for views and some photos.
A walker arrived as I was photographing my distressed gloves that had served me for ten years on runs and climbs. He was amused and we began an animated conversation for twenty minutes or so about wildlife on the Scottish mountains before another walker, armed with a Scottish Tourist Board leaflet of the walk up Lime Craig arrived. The discussion suddenly changed to where the best cakes could be obtained as a reward for their walks. I left them deliberating and met another two pairs of walkers nearing the summit, pausing to take photos of a mother and daughter combo who were new to the hill and infatuated with the views. I freeheeled in a stretched rhythm down the long incline with 3 or 4 switchbacks past the Go Ape site, over the footbridge by the lodge and then coasted down the cycle way to the village. I was back for lunch; no cakes just lentil soup and the satisfaction of another brick placed in the wall of 200 runs, just ten more to go.
|Above Dounans camp|
|The carse looking to the Campsie hills|
|Nearing Lime Craig summit|
|Stop Binnein and Ben More|
|Ben Lomond behind Craig Mhor|
|Past their best hand warmers on summit platform|
|Descent from the Lodge|