Dear Cateran trail diary 

Saturday 21st Nov 09. Blairgowrie to Bridge of Cally section. 7 miles.

In a bid to be a responsible race organiser and give those runners who haven’t been on the route an idea of what’s in store, I’ve decided to go up to the route every few weeks or so and do some little out and backs with pretend “oh I haven’t been on the route before” eyes and note them on the website. Now getting the balance just right has taken a lot of deliberating and cogitating, too much info will baffle you with science, too technical and it’ll confuddle you. 

I really enjoyed reading the brief descriptions of the devil o the highlands route (very poetic sounding) on their website, I really got totally baffled reading the detailed bits of the LDWA Heart of Scotland and my pages got wet and soggy running and the grid references I know but the compass co-ordinates – aaarrrgghh and the ink ran on the pages in the rain so here goes and hopefully I’ll get the balance ok for you with no grid references and no co-ordinates. 

I did the Blairgowrie to Bridge of Cally section for the first one, nope I didn’t start at the start, I’ll be selfish and do what bits I want then shuffle them about when I finish. 

This section pretty straightforward as in the signage good, plenty posts dotted with the heart shaped logo or the green circles with the yellow arrows pointing your way, please note if the arrow points at a jaunty angle, follow that jaunty angle. Every half mile to a mile or so the terrain changes in this section, starts nice crunchy or soggy leaf path (depending on the weather) for half a mile then the high level Cateran trail green arrow points you up a tarmac hill for half a mile. Must point out this sign says 6 miles to Bridge of cally, you may learn not to always believe the mileage on these posts. You’ll find this out when you see a sign further along saying 3.5 miles to Bridge of cally and when you check garmin, you’ve already covered 3.5 miles!! After this tough tarmac half mile uphill you then get pointed onto farm track, uphill again I’m afraid passing highland cows and lift your head at the highest point and have a look. I kept thinking about a recent navigation course I was on and moto for that was “Look aboot ye”, so please do that, the views of the surrounding area can be pretty nice and keep a look out for the signs as well. 

You then get sections of rough ground, tarmac (about 1.5 miles in this section), mud, fields, farm land with a “beware cattle” sign just to frighten you and the cattle do roam free, running between 2 fence lines, pretty straightforward really oh and not too many “normal person” sized stiles on this section and a few little wooden push open gates too with the cateran logo on them. If the weather has been wet then the last few miles to Bridge of cally can be muddy and exposed but crossing a final stile there is a slightly defined path on the higher ground to save you running in the ditch and I love this bit, proper fell running slightly downhill then cross the final stile into the pretty forest with some zigzag downhill tree root running till you get to the junction in the woods. Perfect. 

Hopefully I haven’t waffled too much, hopefully this is mildly informative and the next section I’m looking forward to, Bridge of Cally to Kirkmichael, it’s a nice one. 

Diary synopsis – 

Mud – lots of (picture of my trainers in the gallery)

Dead animals – 0

How many times I fell – 1

Walkers passed – now this was a record, 7 mid route, bus load of around 40 when I was heading back the last mile

How many times I was chased by animals – 0 

Till the next time and remember “Look Aboot Ye”.