Hill running is fun. Hill running in Scotland is even more so – the landscape is stunning, the gradients are friendly without lacking in challenge, the temperatures are amenable year-around, and there are some truly wild places to be explored. Running (as opposed to walking) Scottish hills brings two major advantages: the ability to cover distances in a single day that otherwise would require multi-day expeditions, and significantly reducing the impact of the dreaded midge (which, as it turns out, is a slow creature too lazy to give chase).
Yet, as a runner of moderate abilities, I have found that resources for non-competitive off road running in Scotland are scarce, and those out there often tend to focus on runs of more epic proportions. Devising new runs is, of course, part of the fun of exploring – pouring over the maps, measuring distances, estimating climbs, guessing likely runnable lines, and, often, getting it wrong.
This blog is about my ventures into the Scottish hills. It initially started as very simple route descriptions, of mostly runs that shy of ‘ultra’ distances and can be accomplished in less than a day (in the conventional sense rather than that of 24h challenges!), these posts are tagged with the #runslessepic tag. However, with time the blog has become more reflective, for ultimately my running is not about covering distances, but about experiencing nature.
The route descriptions intentionally do not include maps – they are meant merely as a possible starting point for proper route planning. Many of these runs venture onto remote ground, outwith the reach of mobile phone signals. Invariably some degree of navigation using a map will be required, and there really is no substitute for careful preparation and a paper map.
For anyone needing help to get started with independent running in Scotland's remote locations, I now also offer commercial guiding services -- see runslessepic.scot.