National Running Day in Glencoe

Fair warning- this post is extremely picture-heavy. Hopefully you're the sort of person who appreciates a verifiable overload of mountains. If not, this ain't the post for you. 

Early this week I was up north at Glencoe for work. The surrounds for the event were absolutely sensational- we were boxed in by mountains at all sides. The minute we arrived I felt like I was constantly looking out the window, despite the conference being incredibly interesting. I love Glasgow, but places like this make me feel like I can breathe better. 


Pap of Glencoe
There are graves on the islands, anyone have any idea why?! 
There was still a fair amount of snow on the far peaks
On the first day of the work event I sadly had no time to run, but a colleague and I hiked up a nearby quarry to explore a little. This was only about a 20 minute hike but allowed me to at least get some fresh air in the lungs! The paths were a little sketchy (lots of loose shale) but the views were incredible. I love the geometric rock formations you get in quarries- they confuse the eye, there always seems to be 3 or 4 possible points of perspective. We did think about going further across up top, but there were some supremely difficult sections and we were 80ft or so up. Considering quarry rock is often unstable, and I was wearing heeled boots, we decided against risking it. 

The colours at this time of year are so vibrant- lush greenery, purple heather, orange-brown bushes and bright yellow flowers on dark purple-grey quarry rock, beside aqua-coloured water. 



We ended up over the top side of this

The quarry lake

And the view from the top over to the other side
Finally, on the morning I was leaving, I managed a run. Good thing too as that was National Running Day! I took the path that looped from Ballachulish, where our hotel was, up and over the hillside into Brocket Woods. The first section rose steeply from the opposite side of the quarry from where we had been before (the side you see in the above photo), into the woods above it. I actually found the woods quite intimidating- I always feel watched and I feel simultaneously invigorated and isolated in the blanket silence that pine forests can create. 

I guess the best way to get around it is to think that I definitely am being watched, by the many creatures for whom those forests are home. The wildcats, birds, and the deer I saw which scared me (saw a sudden flash of white in my periphery and jumped a mile- it was his bum), are thinking, "What is this creature crashing through my home?". That said, coming across two abandoned structures didn't help my attack of the creeps much. 



There were lots of waterfalls with the snow melt coming off.

When the path began curving back downhill, the trees on either side of the soft forest trail began to feel more like natures red carpet than like a scary place. It helped that the forest thins in that section, so the light was breaking through. I reached the road below brocket woods, and an unused archery range, then turned back to do the path all over again! The second rep was a lot less nerve wracking, and I felt much more at home. 

As I raced downhill towards the quarry again to finish, I noticed an offshoot path that I hadn't spotted running uphill past it on my first crossing. I decided to go check it out before concluding my adventure, and I'm glad I did. What I received was a panorama view of Loch Leven below, and a look at the wisest rock in Scotland. It wasn't elevated like a monument or anything, just placed on the ground, very much a part of the landscape. I had a moment up here that I get a lot when in the hills, when I simultaneously feel like laughing and screaming at the same time. Being so alive you want to jump out of your own skin.

Look at the colours!


The quarry side we were up previously, although you cant see it, there is a cliff on this side too. The pap peeks out.
I finished the run with almost 5km on the watch, and a reasonable amount of up and down. Later that day we had to leave on a bus, and, although I was gutted to leave, the views on the way back were also spectacular. I will leave you with some of those fantastic images (fantastic because of the mountains, not my camera phone photography!). 


   

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Have you ever been to Glencoe or the Scottish Highlands?

How do you feel about the woods?

12 Comments:

  1. Wow looks beautiful!! I'm jealous. I was born in Glasgow but only lived there for 2 weeks...never been back to Scotland but really want to at some point.

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    1. You should! If you do, let me know and I can give you some recommendations :)

      Thanks for reading!

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  2. I love a picture heavy post when the pictures are this gorgeous! What a beautiful place.

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  3. Beautiful shots. I need to do more exploring in that part of the world :)

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  4. Looks amazing! What gorgeous photographs! Glad I'm not the only one freaked out by woods. I also get this in certain country lanes near my parents' house too - very strong feeling of being watched! Freaky!

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    1. Yeah the creepy house ruins did not help. I was a little unnerved, particularly on the first loop. Luckily, it must have just been deer!

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  5. pic 12 is my favourite, great looking trail

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    1. Thanks PB! It was gorgeous there :)

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  6. "The wildcats, birds, and the deer I saw which scared me..."
    Hold the phone - you saw a wildcat? Plural?! They are so incredibly rare - if you see one you have to report it! http://www.scottishwildcats.co.uk/ I'd give anything to see one in the wild.

    [apologies for tardiness - just catching up on blogs at the moment]

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    1. Sorry Rhona, that was just poor wording- I meant to reflect all these creatures hiding probably saw ME. I only saw the birds and deer. Apologies for confusion!

      I too would love to see a wildcat- they're beautiful and rare. I did see marmots in Switzerland though, which are quite hard to spot but nowhere near as rare!

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