The first of two back to back long runs this weekend, I decided to run up the Deeside Way from Deeside Gliding Club as far as a gate that allows you to cross the A93 into Cambus O’May Forest from where I would attempt to find my way back to the car through the Burn O’Vat visitor Centre, Loch Kinnord and Dinnet. The other point of note is that this run utilised a 14:1 run:walks strategy.
Heading out from Deeside gliding club I was conscious that I wasn’t running particularly quickly, and I was also frustrated by my watch still speaking to me in kilometres, which I don’t understand, although I did manage to change this setting.
I made good time along the Deeside Way though, and steadily began to hold a pace of around 9:20 min/mi dropping to around 9:30 after each walking session. I quickly found myself at the turn for Cambus, and debated with myself whether to take it, or to carry on to Ballater, as I was concerned by this point that I was likely to get back to my truck well before my 2:30 was up. I opted to head in to the forest as this was a circuit that I had been plotting to do for a wee while, and one that I think there are probably other variants of. The climb up to the forest was pretty harsh, and I stopped for a breather on the way, but I quickly reached the pass which was actually very waterlogged. Any navigational concerns disappeared when I saw the yellow arrows on the track that we follow in the Cambus Canter.
I then ran along a wet but stony track for a wee while until I came to a sign pointing downhill towards Burn O’Vat and Loch Kinnord. This wasn’t what I had expected,, but went with it and sure enough dropped down towards the Vat on a track running along the top of a fairly steep ravine. One small step would have been the end of this ultrarunning monkey.
I soon found myself at the visitor centre, from where I followed a good but intermittently surfaced track around Loch Kinnord, starting a couple of walkers as a flew past on the verge besides them, and shortly afterwards coming to the path heading out to Dinnet. I found this track quite difficult in my Mudclaws as the ancient cobbles penetrated through to the bottom of my foot, but within 10 minutes I was in Dinnet, trying to remove stones from my shoe on the swing, which was quite a challenge.
Sure enough I had arrived in Dinnet too soon, at about 1:50, and realised that I would be back at the truck by 2:10, part of this being to my not calculating the length of this route, and partly because I had run quicker than I had thought that I would. I rectified this by heading out away from the truck on the Deeside way until the end of my run interval, and then turning around and running to the truck. During this time I recovered most of the 10sec/mi I had gained climbing out of Cambus O’May, which in itself I had been very pleased with, putting together some pretty handy sub 9min/mi splits in the process. All in all a very successful outing, but we shall see what an hour and a half feels like tomorrow.