The Gordon Way is 11.5 miles long starting at The Bennachie Centre and ending at Suie Car Park. My milage today is 17 miles so I plan to run out for about 8.5 miles and return, I'll leave the full run for later in my training programme. I drive to the trail listening to the bad news about Whitney Houston and for some reason don't feel 100 percent. I'm no stranger to the Bennachie hill range and have crossed the Gordon Way path on many runs but today is the first time I will follow it. The lower slopes are popular with dog walkers and quite a few runners are returning as I make my way up. These runners have a lack of mud on their shoes and are not carrying fluids so they have not been where I am heading. It takes me a while to get into stride and two miles later I have cleared the forest find myself alone on the hills. The view from here to the snow peaked mountains of Lochnagar is spectacular. To the left of me is the Don valley and a hidden gem known as The Lords Throat where I had the pleasure of staying back in the 1990's. The fields are bright green either side of the blue river Don and to me this place is just as beautiful as Deeside.
The path narrows to a muddy rut, filled with ice covered puddles. I am first on this section as all the ice is intact. I do my best to avoid getting my feet wet as there is a long way to go and I don't want blisters. On the way back I will run straight through the mud and puddles. I cross a stile and somehow take a wrong turn. I know this due to the lack of trail markers but I'm not too bothered as I will come accross the trail again. I decend from the hill and run along a forest track passing a couple of elevated platforms where I come to the conclusion they must be shooting platforms. I pick up the trail again and decend into a meadow which is warmed by the sun, it feels like summer. I eventually reach a stile and the trail stops here on the edge of a fast country road. The trail must continue after the road but I'm not sure if its left or right. I don't want to do road running and have no hi viz so decide this is the point to turn back despite only being 7 miles in.
I decide to make the miles up to 17 back at the car park and scoff a banana on the way up hill. On the return leg frozen puddles have been melted by the sun and softened the trail to mush, it feels like running on soft sand. This takes extra effort and I begin to wish I'd taken more than just a banana as my energy is depleted. My hamstrings also suffer with the soft ground but soon its downhill all the way back to the car park. I reach the car park after 14 miles and despite my mind saying that will do, I force myself to do the extra 3 miles on the lower slopes of Bennachie.
Four weeks in and happy to be here, although todays run proves I must do most of my long runs on the hills. Mp3 of the week? It has to be "Run" by Leona Lewis.
Sat 8.23 miles 1.14.32 Sun 16.97 miles 3.24.28 Weekly total 41 miles.