Running Tours | Eclectic Cake: Running Tours

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Running Tours

I think one of the best ways to explore somewhere new is by running. You can get to places not accessible by car but can go further than you would by just walking – nip out to discover what’s round the corner or pack a picnic to spend all day collecting views. But for the directionally challenged, like me, when you already feel slightly lost in a new city, the experience can be made even better when you have a local runner leading the way. They know every lump, bump and turn; every landmark, hill and viewpoint; and they know the stories attached to them all. What’s more, you can add a name to a long list of friendly runners, generously willing to give up their time to help another. So ahead of a long weekend stay in Scotland, I sought two runners willing to show me their stomping grounds. They didn’t disappoint.





GRAHAM’S GLASGOW

Although we didn’t actually run in Glasgow, the aim was to earn a view of the city from one of the surrounding hills. Just a short drive took us to what felt like the middle of nowhere (as is common in Scotland) where we could stare up at the hill we’d be running up. The Campsie Fells looked like mountains compared to the miniature hills of London but thankfully walking up the steepest sections was permitted (just one more reason why I love trail running). 

Graham the mountain goat
Graham, a natural mountain goat, didn’t seem to mind the slower pace, instead he seemed proud to be able to share his habitat with another runner. The route was punctuated with sightings of deer and hidden lochs; tales heroic climbs and whisky distilleries. It was beautiful. As Graham put it, not much is wrong with the world up there.

Me about 10 seconds before I fell on my arse
Alas, what goes up, must go down and I was reassured that the descent wasn't quite as steep as it looked. I watched my guide hop down the path. He was having a ball! Jealousy building, I ignored any fear of dying and followed suit...just ever so slightly slower but only falling over once. These hills were a playground and I'm so grateful to Graham for sharing them with me.


Graham is part of the Berghaus Trail Team 2014, follow his amazing adventures here.



EDINBURGH WITH LUCJA


Just a skip to the East was Edinburgh, a beautiful city I've stopped in many times but never properly explored. I booked a seven-miler with Edinburgh Run Tours to lap up the bits I hadn't seen and, as seems the thing to do with so many in Scotland, run to the top of the biggest hill.



I met Lucja at the end of a 30-hour nightmare journey back from the States but she was still livelier on the hills than me. Luckily, the city is full of interesting landmarks and viewpoints that gave me opportunities to stop and catch my breath as I learned about Edinburgh's often quite gruesome history. We wound through the main attractions as my guide dropped extra nuggets of local knowledge along the way, until we were faced with 250 metres of up.


If you’re ever given the chance to stare from the base up at Arthur’s Seat, you can hopefully forgive me for not being able to run the whole thing but we still powered to the top to drink in the views. They were glorious! It was so refreshing to see Edinburgh from a different angle and spot the, now miniature, landmarks we'd just visited.



On our return to ground level, I couldn’t help asking about Lucja's next running adventures and for advice for mine because how could you not be inspired both by new ultra running friends and from being surrounded by beautiful trails.

You can book a bespoke run tour with Lucja here.

3 comments :

  1. LOVE this post!! Please say hi to Graham from me as I met him at the Runners World bootcamp in 2012!! (Small world!) LOVE the views from the hills!! Great idea to have local guides and would love to book a tour with Lucja if I'm in Edinburgh! Agree with the idea that the best way to explore is by running ... walking is too slow and you get to see far more on a run!

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    1. Such a small world! Whenever I visit somewhere new, I'm now always going to try and find a run tour. You should definitely look up Lucja if you make it up to Edinburgh – she does longer runs too, including ultra training!

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  2. Indeed ...a small but pretty great world ! The Runners World boot camp feels a long time ago but was certainly a great experience !

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