Dear Cateran Trail Diary part 4
Well folks you'll be chuffed to know another section done and this one from the start of the race. Had company of my friend Soph so we did an out and back from 1/4 mile from the Spittal of Glenshee to Dalnagair Castle and back (covered 12.5 miles in total). Start of race is just across the main road as I don't want you lot running from Spittal right across a main road so i'll take you there before the race starts. Dalnagair castle will be first drop bag place if you so wish and it's just a smidgen short of 6 miles to there, my garmin showed 5.96 miles.
Now this 6 mile section might be considered the section where you really need your wits about you in cateran post and arrow spotting. I say that cause the sweeper last year kinda missed an arrow with some of the back runners and they had to climb a 6 foot fence, well i did the same yesterday, my defence being the last time i did this section was in the dark. A mile from the start of the race you're running along a faint path beside the deer fence line, if you don't look up there's a gate within the fence line and the arrow tells you to go through the gate. If i get up early enough and get you lot sorted before race i'll go out and mark that post.
This section also has a few fields where the path is faint, plenty cow poop, plenty muddy bits and we even had some snow. You're also running through fields with normal cows and then the next one had sheep then the next one had Highland cows and the next more normal cows (as in ones with no horns). I hide behind Soph by the way while she talked to the cows, horned and unhorned ones).
It's also quite an exposed section, stunningly beautiful scenery though and we had full face wind on the way back and just keep an eye out for the constant posts, usually you pass one, really keeping an eye out on where it points and you should see the next one ahead. If you pass through a gate and no post either on it or beside it, you may have gone wrong.
Wildlife on this 6 miles is pretty cool, lots of oyster catchers, cows as i mentioned, the cutest sheep, bunny rabbits, lots of grouse and at Dalnagair Castle Shire horses of varying colours.
Terrain wise you have a mix, mud, cow poop, land rover muddy tracks, grassy rocky sections, one steep rubbly path near Dalnagair and some nice off roady tracky easy under foot bits and plenty grass too. There is one field where the posts direct you round the fence line, this would have you clambering up a very steep grassy bit but i really don't mind if you cut across the field just don't let Farmer Giles catch you.
A fair few stiles, maybe 6 or so, think it was 3 gates we went through and we climbed one or 2 as well.
So basically as i've said before "Look Aboot Ye" for the posts, they will be there and just enjoy the scenery on this section, the next section changes yet again. I did say to Soph i loved this mix of terrain as the miles go by quicker, she didn't agree though :-)
Mud - actually not too bad but i was still muddy, plenty cow poop though with varying shades of brown to green
Dead Animals - 1 sheeps head, no idea where the body was!!
How many times i fell - 0 but i did go over on my rubber ankle
Walkers passed - 0
How many times i was chased by animals - 0 but running through the moving highland cows had that eek factor
ps the Spittal of Glenshee has new owners, very helpfull, very efficient and some kind of brekkie organised for those staying over pre-race and soup and sarnies sorted for the finish
Till the next time folks.