Dear Cateran Trail Diary part 5
Hello again dear diary.
On a very fine morning a trip up to do the Den of Alyth to Blairgowrie section. I did an out and back from Blairgowrie but headed further up into Alyth itself as this is the section of the route that comes of the official route and follows the official alternative route. Sounds confusing but it's not i promise. The official route has a loopy bit in it so Dario didn't want that bit in the race so i'm sticking with what he wanted and doing the same as last year. Now when you come through a muddy field into Alyth i'll have markings on the road in flourescent paint. Hopefully i won't get the same problem as last year and not realising the spray paint should be 2 inches from the ground i kinda sprayed it a tad higher and a gust of wind appeared from nowhere. Let's just say a navy blue skoda would have been glowing in the dark for a wee whiley.
You'll see the higher up Cateran signs, one pointing to where you came from and another pointing to Bridge of cally saying 9 miles. Ignore this sign and follow where i put the markings on the road. Honest i'm giving you a treat here, you've got some nice running coming up. I'm taking you down to Den of Alyth which is basically along the main road you're on and then at a T junction i'll point you left then over the road and through gates where you run straight on ignoring the left path and you come into a kids playpark (yes you're allowed a go on the swings). That's where the checkpoint will be. If you have support there is a big car park higher up, they just have to humph your stuff down the track!!
You then get to leave and if you're in for a super duper fast time i'd advise taking your food with you to munch. You have a lovely little just over half mile section running beside the river that goes up n down and round but a pretty clear path. You'll then come up 4 or 5 steps to a sign that points to Drimmie woods. That's where you're headed my friends. Now the reason i said take your food is cause this is a mile uphill on tarmac, great chance to load up on food here. ps in this mile section today i had a little cry, the reason being a baby lamb had just popped out of it's mummy. It's chest was heaving trying to catch a breathe. I did take a quick pic and i'll put it in the gallery next week. And no mr sweeper i did not cry because i forgot my mint sauce!!
Ok you now come to a gate and a sign pointing 2 ways to Drimmie woods. I'll have an arrow pointing you THROUGH the gate signed West Tullyfergus, just continue along this nice mildly muddy grassy section and you'll see similar signs to cateran, the posts with arrows but the arrows are blue and white now and on the side it says East Perthshire network path. These take you after a mile into the woods. Woooooo, scary stuff. I marked this section last year at 8am on a drizzly misty morning and i was scared. Paah, i was fine today. There's a tiny section that's very foresty then you get on the main forest path and i love this bit. It showed 0.87 of a mile on my garmin through the woods and half way along one huge fallen tree and one giant spiders web made out of wood attached to the trees, it must be 6ft by 6ft then the other trees are dotted about 6 or 7 ft up with wooden plaques and if you have an over active imagination these look a tad satanic but i think kids probably made them. I say probably!!
You've seen a few of those posts i mentioned with blue and white arrows, you'll now come to the end of the forest and IGNORE the last post pointing you right. You now have to go through the gate in front of you instead and turn left. Again i'll mark it clearly.
Now folks you'll either love or hate me for this section. It's 2 miles of big dipper tarmac, mainly dips as in the gradient is very steep and your calves may seize and your thighs may scream or you'll love the 2 mile downhill tarmac with a tiny bit of flat here and there. Check out the views down to Blairgowrie here, it's pretty cool. You're staying right on that road into Blairgowrie all the way down, you come to a junction near the bottom but keep going straight but look left and right then left again into the carpark for the Blairgowire checkpoint and smiley faced marshalls.
Wow i've war and peaced a just less than 5.5 mile section but as i said that's not Cateran signed but i promise you'll be fine and i'll mark it well and no-one got lost last year.
Mud - bit gutted not very much to tell the truth
Dead animals - well a bunch of feathers and entrails but the baby lamb born thing was just fantastic
How many times i fell - 0
How many walkers passed - not 1, not a single person
How many times i was chased by animals - it was very uneventful in the wild animal front for a change
Just to say i am loving these little recce runs, makes me realise how much i love this route and it's quietness and i do know i'm doing it in small sections for this dear diary but i've enjoyed it when i did the long stuff on it too. I do hope you lift your head in the race and have a look about, it's worth it i promise.
Until the next time folks and remember "Look aboot ye".