Manor Water hill race (and sheep dog trials)
It was drizzling when I got up, drizzling at Halfords, drizzling
driving towards Peebles and still drizzling whilst I was getting
changed into shorts. Shorts! However it wasn’t too cold or too
windy and four other Harriers had turned up to brave the damp.
There seemed to be a lot of people clad in mega-waterproof
garments and rucsacs containing even more stuff, and I even saw
a compass being flourished, but I reckoned that once we were
puffing up the hill, a long-sleeved top plus hat would be
At the start whilst trying to see whereabouts in the mist the
hill might be, I was beginning to regret not having packed a
bivvy bag and was wondering if any of the sheep dogs did
‘guide dog’ or ‘mountain rescue dog’ as a sideline. But I hid
my trepidation and calmly told Andy (his very first hill run)
that he would be sliding a lot in his trainers and to watch out
for stones, heather, very narrow paths, sheep poo, etc.
Once started, the run was actually slightly enjoyable! I quite
like this hill run – although rather too long, the gradient is
never very steep except for the last bit up to ‘The Scrape’ and
the turn. You were supposed to yell out your number to the
marshall at the top, but you first had to find him in the gloom.
He looked very much as though he would prefer to be running than
sitting on a clump of wet moss and managed to raise no more than
an eyebrow at my yell.
The run down was quite tricky – although there was a ‘path’,
it was only the width of a tyre and very slippy with hidden rocks,
but the alternative was springy heather or sloshy bog. It was
all going well until two runners looking half my age and going
twice my speed passed me in the last half mile. However, my
dismay quickly turned to pleasure when somebody handed me a
bottle of Broughton Ale at the finish.
I had to admit that I wouldn’t be running the Pentland Skyline
Hill Run the next day and would have to be known as a ‘mouse’
for a while. Chris on the other hand was threatening to be a
‘man’. Kevin didn’t think there was any shame in not running
two days on the trot and went off to get the mud and sheep poo
off by sitting in the burn.
Harriers times were me 10th at 79:21, Andy 32nd at 93:49,
Kevin 45th at 100:39, Chris 61st at 109:34 and Gordon 67th
at 114:21. Sandy of Carnegie was 18th at 87:19. Well done to
Andy – a terrific effort for his first hill run. And thanks
to Broughton Breweries for the very short-lived momento.