A score to settle. Back to Bennachie today to do the same route that was cut short two weeks ago. The weather was a bit bleak, overcast with drizzle now and again. Parking at the Rowantree car park 0815, I set off on the track round to the Back o Bennachie. After half a mile I startled a grazing deer which was only about ten feet away from me. I don't know who got the biggest scare but the deer effortlessly took off into the woods, if only I could cover the ground with such power and grace! With the recent snow thawing there was a lot of water flowing down the muddy track, it wasn't long before my shoes and socks were soaked through.
I ran / walked up onto the plateau then down onto the Gordon Way, bypassing my water spring this time as the cooler temperature meant I was drinking less. Taking in the scenery going up Mill Stone Hill, I looked back over the forest covering the valley. Patches of mist rose from the trees, it looked like a serial arsonist was on the loose. I stopped briefly for a drink at the top and headed down the other side towards my nemesis from two weeks before. Taking it real easy I walked most of the descent as the rocks were wet, concentrating on giving my right foot a flat surface to land on. It was a relief to reach the road without incident, I could relax for the next road section to Pitfichie Forest and Cairn William.
The road section was almost 3 miles, then I tried to find the route into Pitfichie Forest. Before today, the only time I had run to Cairn William was a hill race a few years ago. I couldn't remember the way, and the track I suspected was the route was marked private. I decided to go up the track anyway which turned out to be correct. I then lost my way once again and ended up climbing fallen trees and squelching through bog. Although this wasn't the race route I eventually reached the base of Cairn William and almost went over my right ankle twice in 5 minutes. I needed a break and stopped here to to eat and drink before the acsent.
The track on Cairn William is mostly made for mountain bikes, it is rutted and and full of stones which meant I had to take extra care with the weak ankle. After zig zagging up the track I reached the top, the hill race directs you back down through the heather but this was something I could not risk today. I had no choice but to go back the way I came.
Back I went, over Mill Stone Hill then climbed the last hill of the day to Mither Tap. To be honest the legs were now shot, I was out of food and water, not wanting to take the detour and refill at my spring. Eventually I reached the peak and descended to Rowantree car park once more.
I was glad to get this run done without incident but I have lost confidence running offroad as I had to concentrate at all times where the right foot was landing, this can be tiresome. With less than three weeks till the Fling I really need to get some strength into the ankle and will have to start using the balance board, although I probably won't.
Mp3 of the week - podcast 12.
Sat 7 miles Sun 25 miles 5.47.23 Weekly total 55 miles.