The Pentland Skyline (2012) – I’m taking the Pentlands Cable Car next time!

It seemed such a great idea for somebody going frequently on a jolly jog in the Pentlands to finally patch the different parts together.  Doing ‘The Skyline’ just sounded fabulous, and up to the morning of the race I was really looking forward to it.

Of course experienced Skyliners warn you that this race is not for the fainthearted and quite tough. I have even seen what carnage this race can do to people – i.e. watching Rob painfully stumbling along several times.  But hearing what others tell you and feeling it yourself unfortunately are two different things.  Now I know – the Skyline is definitely not for half-hearted sunshine runners. If you want to do it, you have to seriously train for it. (To my defence, training was going pretty well up to August, when the autumn tennis season kicked in again and work / other commitments got a bit too time consuming for my liking).

The first part of the Skyline was quite jolly, although the narrow paths at the beginning of the race caused a bit of over-crowding almost all the way up to Allemuir – at least for people near the back (where I was lingering).  There were over 250 runners this year – so getting lost (my biggest worry before the race) was literally impossible. At the first hour of the race the Pentlands were at their best – the sun was shining and it was warm with hardly any wind.  Unfortunately about 1.5 hours into the race the heavens opened and sent down some ice cold sleety rain – this was very bad timing as it cooled down the body enormously and made the bogs feel arctic. Along with the temperature swing, my mood turned swiftly from happy to considerably less happy when I left the eastern Pentlands and entered Bogland after Hare Hill. By Gum, this was cold wet and never-ending mud!!!!!  Wading through this black gunk took a lot out of me – and judging by several people walking ‘funny’ (even backwards in one case!), I was not the only person struggling with cramps. The sight of a frozen Harrier at the top of South Black cheered me up enormously, and kept me going for a while (thank you Chris!!!!). [Also thank you to all the other Harrier’s spectators]

Although I was quite tired by the time I got stuck in the icy river between Black Hill and Bells I did not worry because Rob had told me “once you get over Hells Bells, you’ll be home dry”. Needless to say, I should have worried because it was when I reached the top of Bells that my body decided that it was quite enough for me for today and went on strike. How unfortunate that at this moment, Allemuir in the distance, transformed into the Himalayas. Having run Allemuir so many times it was a weird experience to realize what it means when you have nothing left in you – even the simple task of walking on the flat seemed almost insurmountable.  I had to face the cruel truth that having bagged 14 of the 16 peaks I may in fact not make it over the last 2 hills to the finish line. But then an angel [Editorial comment from Rob: Let’s not push it!] appeared out of nowhere (I first heard her before I saw her :-)). The angel jogged down and literally took me by the hand and pulled me up Allemuir, talking cheerfully all the way to take my mind off the fact that Mount Everest (i.e. Carketton on a normal day) was still to conquer. I’m not sure how she got me over the last hump – it must have taken forever – but the angel completed her job and got me down safely to the finish line where a lonely frozen and very relieved Rob waited for me. Thank you Susie for chumming me during this very very difficult part of the race!!!!

The results are in and I’m highly impressed by the great times that the other Harriers (Duncan, Richard, Mike, Rob and Carl) achieved. Well done guys – and sorry for dragging down the team time!



Results from 250 runners:

44th – Duncan Ball: 3:10:16

75th – Richard Osmon: 3:22:11

101st – Mike Brooks: 3:32:06

114th – Rob Wilson: 3:34:38

137th – Carl Proctor: 3:44:13 (Manor Water: 1:34:01) – RESPECT!!!

239th – Andrea Wilson: 4:40:28

Thanks to Susie for most of the following piccies. I stole a couple from the Carnethy site as well. R.

Duncan making it look easy as usual

Great race from Richard

Mike feeling the previous week’s marathon with Rob hot on his heels

Rob being abused by Susie – who is NO angel!

Carl unashamedly happy despite having run both Manor Water and the Skyline

Susie waiting for Andrea! 

Andrea crossing the finishing line.

Rob realising that he will be probably be cooking that night!

Finally, Andrea earned the GrandPrix trophy.






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10 comments on The Pentland Skyline (2012) – I’m taking the Pentlands Cable Car next time!

  1. mags says:

    Waiting ……. still waiting, at Scald Law, finally those purple and white vests appear , one by one, lots of cheering , clapping ,(hands have gone numb) ! Hand Mike a drink , he is looking weary already (thats a worry). Run to the next water station , raining hard (forgot waterproof jacket) , to The Howe (the bog) , runners swimming across from Hare to Black Hill . Mags sprints home to feed the family ,( all 16 of them , coming at 4 for Tea). But thats a breeze compared to what you guys achieved , amazing !

  2. gilly says:

    Well done Andrea and all the other Harriers, it sounded tough out there, and the bogs sounded particularly nasty! This was going to be year I did the Skyline, but you make me kinda glad I didn’t. Maybe next year:)

  3. Duncan says:

    What a brilliant report Andrea! I thought that I had a tough race and was pretty sore at the end – but after reading about your challenging run I am not so sure! My ankle seemed to hold up, but I was being careful down the hills which seemed to help with endurance on the last couple of hills. Managed to avoid cramp by eating 2 gels, 2 flapjacks, 3 cups of water and some carbo-drink! Interesting that my time was equal to my marathon PB, but I was definitely in better shape after the Skyline. Must be because on the road the terrain and the pace don’t change which does things to the mind as well as the legs! Well done Harriers and especially Carl who did Manor Water as well (nutcase!). Thanks also to the yells from Chris, Stuart, Mags, Susie et al (sorry if I missed somebody but you may have been blurry).


  4. Carl says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth! (Except you then turned them into an eloquent and descriptive, err, description! (Case in point!))
    I concur with all of the above, especially the thanks for some FANTASTIC support! At one point though I thought that the cold, the wet, the wind, the fatigue, the pain and the suffering must have gotten to me, because I could have sworn I saw Chris on the second ridge. Of course this couldn’t have been the case as he was cheering us over the first one…! 😉 And Susie, you were wonderful – a much-needed injection of morale!

  5. Susie says:

    Well done you guys, you all coped with my annoying cheeriness at that late stage in the race really well! It is a tough race whatever the weather and you all deserve lots of respect for doing it, very impressed by the number of Harriers willing to tackle it. Must thank Andrea for my unexpected hill run; I really enjoyed it and glad you got to the end my dear!
    Next year I hope to be on Allermuir again – on my way out round the course and on my way back 🙂

  6. Rob says:

    Och – I am not sure the weather was so bad.
    It was very warm the first hour, then the weather filled in and there was certainly cold rain for about 45 minutes or so. I think what made it feel cold on the 2nd half of the race was that the ground was so saturated and the bogs extremely cold. The deep bog between Hare Hill and Black Hill was almost swimmable, but VERY cold. A shock to the system if you’re on the urge of cramping.

  7. bill bennet says:

    What a great report Andrea, I felt icy cold and near exhaustion just reading it. The Pentland Skyline is a superb race; it’s difficult on a good day, but in Sunday’s conditions it must have been horrific. As those of you who have done the race will know, it’s the hills equivalent of a road marathon which means lots of running, especially hill running in preparation. Congrats to Andrea and to the other Harriers on completing the Skyline, especially on such a horrendous day.

  8. Susan says:

    Andrea a huge well done for battling round especially when the weather turned. You should be proud. It’s a race I always feel I should do at some point, then I read a race report and think, maybe not! I didn’t believe in guardian angels till now! I doubt she would’ve helped Rob though, after such a rude gesture was made!

    Many congratulations to all the other Harriers too, especially to Carl on doing both races in the same weekend and both Harriers training sessions!


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