Many Rivers to Cross

After the the Mimsy Muggle the weekend before, the week beginning 8th October brought further excitement: I was offered an interview for a job in Almondbank, just outside Perth (Scotland not Australia!), with Vector Aerospace. I love Scotland, and the job sounded really good, so concentrating on the mundane stuff wasn’t that easy.

They loved me, but feedback a few days later was that the post probably wouldn’t ‘stretch me enough’ and that my CV had been passed up to board level. So that’s both positive and rather vague: I still don’t know whether I’ll get a job out of it.

The ‘van man’ thing was just born of circumstance. It’s quite an enjoyable way to make a living, but doesn’t exactly pay well or offer security, and I’ve no real interest in taking it ‘to the next level’.

Anyway, this is a running blog, so back to the running. I continued to enjoy the benefits of getting out every day, even if my Thursday run was just a trot out from my hotel to the edge of Perth in the rain!

A solitary Munro, Ben Chonzie (pronounced ‘honzy’) is quite near Perth, and offered an adventurous run in the afternoon on Friday after the interview. The run would be straightforward in good, or even middling weather, but it was very wet in the northern UK, so perhaps it wouldn’t be that easy.

I headed off to the dam at the end of the Loch Turret reservoir, a starting point for one of the two ‘standard’ routes up the mountain, accessed via a road owned by Scottish Water, but open to the public.  Part way up I had to stop to open a gate, which was just 2 panels tied to the fence on either side of a cattle grid with bailing twine and resting against each other. There were highland cattle nearby: I can only assume their hooves were big enough to allow them to cross the fairly ‘fine’ grid, probably designed to halt sheep. Water was gushing through the gateway and I fell over on the muddy ground on one side whilst closing the gate behind me, still wearing my ‘interview’ suit. Good job it’s a high tech washable one!

My planned route was to run along the loch-side on a dirt road, climb the slopes of the mountain and return the same way; nothing complicated. It had been raining persistently for about 24 hours, but had eased off whilst I was in the interview. It was now just drizzling, but there was a lot of water running off the hills. It was also mild, although it still felt cold, getting out of my warm van and changing into my insubstantial running gear.

The area around the top of Loch Turret

As soon as I got going everything felt better: just getting moving warmed me and I felt a sense of adventure. The loch-side road was well built, but rough and rolling. There were also 4 streams in spate to cross on my way up; not difficult or dangerous, but there was no possibility of boulder hopping across, it was in over the shoes and have done.

When I got to the end of the Loch, I couldn’t help but think that the guidebook description was a little glib: ‘pick your way up through the broken crags’, nothing about what to do when you ‘topped out’ on the summit plateau. I made my way over the sodden ground easily enough, and the slope ‘between the crags’ was pretty steep. It was still mild, but also damp and breezy, and I was starting to feel vulnerable in my minimal gear, looking up at the cloud covered summit, so I decided that a new tick on my Munros list would wait for another day and turned around.

Near the bottom of Loch Turret

The swollen streams on the way back got my shoes nice and clean! I had a big smile on my face as I wrestled with the gate once more, the flood on the road gone by this time.


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