One of the things I really like about running is for my two feet to take me to places that are wild and remote and with a certain degree of inhospitableness about it. The physical effort involved in getting there often brings me tranquility and the joy of being alive.
There is an abundance of such places in Scotland but living in the city under current pandemic restrictions make having such experiences more challenging and creative. However within the rules this past year I have made a number of trips to the Kilpatrick hills on the north west shoulder of Glasgow. My route often involves an initial steep climb up the Kilpatrick Braes giving great views of the river Clyde and its estuary. Eventually you come to a plateau where you have miles of moorland and a few modest hills to explore and get lost in. Sometimes I go alone or with a companion.
Recently I made such a trip solo. My natural sense of navigation is poor so when alone there is the distinct possibility that I would get lost especially in what was a snow covered featureless landscape. Also made the deliberate decision to go late in the day and only give myself enough time to return before dark if I ran steadily. In my case that means pushing myself. So taking head torch, phone and having my GPS watch would help if in any difficulties. Albeit a bit contrived this was my recipe for some wildness and a smattering of risk.
Ascending to the snow line at the plateau the few walkers on the way up disappeared. It is interesting how most people you meet in the ‘great outdoors’ seem to be in a good mood and invariably greet you cheerfully. Seems that when people are immersed in nature they look blessed. Might also be something to do with people feeling more relaxed or at play. I have relatives that are farmers and outdoors in beautiful surroundings all the time. I suspect they do not always relate to my city dweller outdoor ‘feel good’ moments.
Be that as it may I was left alone in this wonderful sanctuary with the scrunch of snow underfoot. The sound a welcome backdrop to my thoughts as I headed towards Duncolm the highest hill in the Kilpatricks. Once there in the far distance I saw Ben Lomond like the Promised Land but currently out of bounds. After savouring this scene for a few moments I returned in the fading light to ‘civilisation’.