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.
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|
|Me about 10 seconds before I fell on my arse|
EDINBURGH WITH LUCJA
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.