Cultybraggan lies close to the village of Comrie, in west Perthshire. It was first used as a prisoner of war camp during World War II, and then became an Army training area. It later housed a Royal Observer Corps nuclear monitoring post, and a Regional Government Headquarters.
The camp ceased to be used by the military in 2004, and now belongs to the Comrie Development Trust, bought through a community right-to-buy option for £350,000 in 2007. There are now allotments and small businesses contained in the camp.
Some of the original 100 Nissen huts on the western side of the camp were demolished in the 1970s to make way for a firing range, but the majority remain. The surviving huts, together with an assault course and modern Officers’ Mess facility, make Cultybraggan “one of the three best preserved purpose-built WWII prisoner of war camps in Britain”. More info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultybraggan_Camp
A couple of the huts were used for registration and changing rooms. There was the possibility of camping which was free to runners, but as the forecast wasn’t great we opted for driving up in the morning. Yan and I headed off at 5.45, Vicky made her own way there.
We were set off to the sound of pipers and did a little loop of the camp before we headed out on to the roads. There is about 1500 feet of ascent and the route is on quiet B roads, so the traffic isn’t stopped.
The route winds up for quite a while then out over the moors. There is quite a steep hill around mile 11, so I took the chance to walk a bit and eat something at this point. I didn’t take any gels or drinks and just made use of the frequent water stations that were provided (water points at approximately 3, 7.5, 10.5, 14, 18.5, 21.5 and 24 miles). The marshals were fantastic and didn’t let the drizzly weather dampen their spirits. The pipers appeared at various points on the course and it was fantastic to hear their drone float over the moorlands as we ran. The finish line was well managed and our names were shouted out as we crossed the line.
There were showers available on site which were very welcome as we were soaked to the skin on the course. Then it was off to one of the other huts for multitudes of home baking and tea. Mark Beaumont was there to help out with the prize giving. The race had a lovely community spirit and is a marathon I will have a go at again in the future.
Route map :
14 201 Yan Horsburgh MV50 3:10:01
61 35 Sadie Kemp FV40 3:44:40
153 36 Vicky Lyon FV40 5:38:44