Saturday, 27 June 2015

This time last week...

A week ago today, I did my first ever long run in Shetland.  It wasn't possible to find an off-road route that was long enough (well, there were a couple but it's bonxie breeding season and the longer routes went through their territory and I really didn't fancy getting pecked to death by birds), so I decided to go as far north on the mainland as it is possible to go in order to do the 6ish mile loop from Isbister to the Point of Fethaland and back, and then make up the difference with some road running on quiet single track roads.

There were no cars in the small car park when I got there, which made my heart happy as being in the hills on my own is one of my most favourite things ever.  I put on my Camelbak, tightened my shoe laces, and trotted off.  I first went up a veeery steep hill, and then picked my way around a bog, and then realised that this part of the route didn't have a track.  Or even sheep trails.   I felt very adventurous indeed!

After 1.5 miles, the route connected up with a proper track which continued on to the Point of Fethaland, where there are amazing cliffs and a lighthouse.  I wandered around for a bit then retraced my steps, but this time staying on the track for the whole way back.  There were lots of veeery steep uphills that I needed to walk, and my mantra became 'run where you can, walk where you have to, and stop to look at the view.'  The downhills were fun, though.

Back at the car park, I changed out of my trail shoes and into my road shoes, and did a lovely 6 miles out and back along the road with nothing around except for hills, sheep, and assorted birds.  A very satisfying day, especially as my knees and adductor felt absolutely fine during the run itself.  Unfortunately, I could barely put weight on my right leg by that evening and am still struggling now, but that's another post.  For now, here are some photos of beautiful, beautiful Shetland...

Along coastal cliffs, through trackless fields...I'm so brave!

Looking towards the Point of Fethaland

Point of Fethaland

Running with Sheep (on the track on the way back to the car) 

If you have to run on the road, this is a not a bad choice.

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