Red Moss Kips race – an alternative route

Hill races can be a navigation nightmare, but the Red Moss Kips race provides a beautiful circuit with visibility for miles on sunny days (like yesterday) – it’s impossible to get lost.  I’m not exactly famous for my navigation skills but this time I excelled, even for my own standards. It takes a genius like me to start one race and finish another – all in just under 1 hour! To my own defense, I was perfectly aware that I was running in the opposite direction to the route indicated on the map (so was not really lost), but picture this series of unfortunate incidences (not to be used as a ‘golden rule for race navigation’):

  1. Be sufficiently confident that you can find your way through the Pentlands with your eyes closed, so you don’t bother looking  closely at the map
  2. Only listen to the route description of the race organiser with half an ear. So if he mentions a ‘sharp left turn’ don’t worry – it will be obvious which turn he means
  3. Look closely at the ground while running so that you only see the runners in front of you and miss any runner that may join you from a different direction
  4. When you reach the top of West Kip, follow the runners taking a sharp left U-TURN (‘ah, that must have been the sharp turn the organizer mentioned!’) although you bloody well know that this is opposite to the route on the map.
  5. Draw the only possible conclusion one would reach if ALL runners (carrying race numbers) in  your vicinity confidently take the u-turn and absolutely nobody takes the direction you think is right: I must have the wrong map (or more precisely: my husband must have handed me the wrong map)
  6. Even when the first doubts creep in, keep going as the new route is nicely downhill and easy.
  7. Suffer the consequences by serving as the evening’s entertainment for the Carnethy runners who completed their handicap from Nine Mile Burn to West Kip and back.  See excerpt from their blog (


Meanwhile, in a place far far away, a race (The Red Moss Kips race) was minus one runner.It is not the first time that Carnethy has led someone astray.
The very runable route was enjoyed by all as we ran up the “Eskalator” (Strava Segment) past Spittal farm and on over Spittal Hill.
As we ran over Green Law we could see a long string of runners heading up The Kips. We seemed to be climbing faster than them as I ran past Davie Duncan and, turning at the top, I noticed Big Al approaching from the east having chased the pack.
The descent was fast and furious and soon we were all back at Nine Mile Burn, but one runner looked a little confused. A female runner (name with held to avoid embarrassment) had been led astray by the Good looking Carnethies and had chased us back to end up only 4 miles (in a straight line) from where she should be.

The only silver lining for the Harriers is that I didn’t wear my Harriers vest – and may refrain myself from doing so in the next few races.

Congratulations to all proud Harriers who completed yesterday’s race in the baking heat. Sorry if you had to wait and look for me. Thanks to Fran and Alan for giving me refuge. Finally, apologies to Rob for doubting you – I should have known that you’re never wrong!


[Rob note: What a plonker]

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8 comments on Red Moss Kips race – an alternative route

  1. Duncan says:

    I have ‘never’ got lost in the hills – only some minor detours
    (max minor detour = 4 miles plus one munro). ‘Lost’ is a relative term.

  2. BillB says:

    Andrea, it’s been done before; see my report of the Eildons 2 Hill Race 2011. You’ll see that some Carnethy type went off the second hill in the wrong direction and didn’t finish. I have to confess that I did the same in my 14th running of the race but at least I finished. You’re in good company.

  3. Susan says:

    That made me laugh Andrea, I had no idea about your little adventure! I could quite imagine myself doing that, which is the worrying thing! Oh and by the way, were the Carnethies good looking, or was that purely their opinion?

  4. Gillian Cairns says:

    Glad you were ok, Andrea – obviously you’ve given the Carnethy runners much entertainment ! :-). Pretty sure I would have gone off in the wrong direction if I hadn’t been following a more reliable runner, phew! Great run despite the heat.

    Good luck for Saturday’s run!
    Gill 🙂

  5. Mike Brooks says:

    Ah Andrea priceless.
    If its any consolation the only race I’ve got lost in was in the Pentlands and was likewise led astray by a carnethite.
    Two races for the price of one and the talk of two clubs, whats not to like !!

  6. Jan says:

    Like I said to a certain HBT race organiser – your wee mistake makes for a great race report! 🙂

    I have some strong feelings about the dearth of marshals on this race, which are mostly unprintable – apologies for the swearing on the night! Even one lonely marshal on top of West Kip could have prevented the confusion between the two races, and provided some much-appreciated support along the way. But there you go…

    We were just glad you hadn’t fallen and broken something, or been abducted by aliens (Micheal’s theory).

    Enjoy Largo!


  7. Susie says:

    I haven’t laughed so much for ages Andrea, I will forever bow to your superior mess up ability until the day I do it myself ! There is a great photo of you in the gallery of the Carnethy blog, the picture says it all 🙂
    The fact Rob was out looking for you shows how much he cares, he is hopefully being very understanding of your minor mistake 😀
    p.s You can stay at mine for a bit if you like!!!!

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