Dear Cateran Trail Diary part 2
Bridge of Cally to Kirkmichael – 8 miles
This was a pleasure and a joy to run this section again with my “oh I’ve not been on this route before eyes”. Last time I did this specific section as an out and back would be the 3rd January this year and it was cold and frosty and only person I bumped into was……….a whw runner for goodness sake, namely Gavin and his lovely Labrador pub and we had never met before but had a lovely chat.
So you’ve ran 38 miles from the start now, you get to Bridge of Cally and my advice would be pick up your drop bag and munch while you head out as you have an uphill for around 1.3 miles. It’s very nice though, pine trees on either side and you can hear water flowing and bubbling down little streams and you have a nice compact forest track to run on. Keep a look out for the distinctive cateran post that looks like a mini totem pole (photo in gallery) as that’s your pointer to come of the path and head downhill, yup downhill for about a mile and use this mile wisely, good downhill running here, best place to spot the red squirrels and it’s very very pretty. I even spotted 2 black deer here one time. When you get to around the 3 mile point out of Bridge of cally the signs point you along a weird little section where you head of track, up along a bit of field, over a dry stane dyke, down a muddy path, over a style then the fun begins. With sensible head on I had my inov8 roclites and seal skinz socks on so I could enjoy the mud, bog and puddles for the next 3 miles. For the race hopefully you won’t get the mud stuff but I loved it.
Must mention the amount of stiles and gates on this section. I was counting but then lost count as some stiles I was crossing then remembering it was an actual openable gate beside it, some gates do, some are padlocked up. I’d say 7-8 stiles and only 2 of these small, the others are HUGE!!
Ok in this section I actually think they’ve added some additional posts you lucky things and the only bit I can still only see where anyone may go wrong is 3.8ish miles out of Bridge of Cally. I know some folk have on the relay races and it’s so easy to do as the path goes up but you need to look at the cateran post and head straight on along a fainter path. I’ve bunged a pic in the gallery at the specific point, page 3 bottom left picture, jpeg 31 and you head towards the gate and style and not up the hill.
With that bit over you have another few miles of fun running in mud, grassy sections, boggy bits, a proper mix of terrain underfoot which finishes of with a lovely tellytubby land section that I love, narrow path that goes through short heather and tiny trees and you can hear the water roaring just ahead before you cross a wooden bridge. Not far along there’s a fast flowing stream. I had to launch myself across it yesterday as it was so high and fast flowing, as you cross that the cateran post is directly on your left taking you over a stile. That’s that tough bit over so you can now enjoy the run towards Kirkmichael, the last mile of which I’m not a fan cause it’s flat and can be puddly, give me undulations any day. Slight uphill to the community centre where drop bag/checkpoint will be and on checking my garmin, exactly 8 miles so gold star to the sign that pointed out of Bridge of cally which said, 8 miles. I lift my head and look at the sign pointing BACK to Bridge of cally and it says 7 miles – aaarrrghh!!
I headed down to the petrol station which also houses a coffee shop and got a nice take away coffee and a crunchie bar.
Mud – lots of within the 3 mile section
How many times I fell – around 3 (stepping on wet rocks not clever)
Dead animals – 1 black slug I think was left over from summer time
Live animals – so chuffed to see 4 red squirrel. 1 on way out & 3 on way back doing matrix style gymnastics in the trees and 2 deer as well. When you’re trudging through the boggiest section have a look up the hill, think every time I’ve been on this section I always spot at least one here
Walkers passed – 2
Till the next time folks and next instalment will be Kirkmichael to Spittal of glenshee and back.