I've got a training plan leading up to the Double Cateran. I had to jump onto it three weeks in, this meant the first long run was 20 miles back to back with 12.
A Christmas visit to the folks was perfect for a 20 mile run around the outskirts of Aberdeen.
I've blogged part of this route before, this time I ran it anti clockwise.
Aberdeen seemed to escape bad weather the rest of the country experienced. Friday turned out to be fine for running, cloudy with patchy rain. Food for this run was two orange chocolate club biscuits, when will I learn.
A mile downhill to the Police Station in Bucksburn I then ran up the Howes Road which is closed to traffic.
Various trees were blown over lately, some leaning precarious like the one above. Needless to say, I sprinted under this tree.
The Comex pond and waterfall, this was in full spate.
I turned off the Howes Road onto tracks leading to Sheddocksley. Masts on Brimmond hill can be seen, my destination.
I came across a squirrel, being grey it was the wrong colour. I tried to photograph it but ended up with a picture of tree branches.
From Sheddocksley I followed the track towards Kingswells. The track was waterlogged and muddy where the Hokas only just managed to find grip.
From Kingswells I ran cross country using farm tracks.
I had to run through two farms, the one above usually has barking and growling caged dogs. I sprinted through this farm as fast as possible.
I passed Newhills Church before joining some roads to reach Brimmond.
This stretch of road is the unofficial Aberdeen bypass, a horrible bit to run on with fast traffic and a steep bank on the right hand side, nowhere to get out of the way if there's two way traffic passing.
The back road to Brimmond, this, leads to the car park.
There were only a couple of cars in the car park, not too many people on the hill. Just how I like it.
Through the gate for some hill work.
Some views from the top, it was surprisingly clear, Aberdeen can be seen in the distance.
Coming back down, my next destination can be seen, Elrick Hill.
Elrick starts off with steps, then it's not to far to the top.
My next destination can be seen from the top, Kirkhill Forest.
Copper coloured pine needle trails, absolutely beautiful.
I crossed the A96 to get to the other half of the forest.
A lot of cars parked here, it was time to run past dog walkers.
I followed the forest road up until a left turn for a more secluded track.
The colours were amazing, even for December.
Once back on the forest road I took a right turn for the view point, Toppie Tower.
It was a bit exposed with a stiff breeze here so a few quick snaps and I was on my way.
From the tower my next destination was Dyce, skirting the airport before reaching the river Don.
Some rain showers combined with wind meant I was getting cold, I put on my Montane jacket here.
Running off the hill I came across a Buzzard, perched on a fence post. As usual, by the time I faffed around with the iphone it flew off. The bright orange jacket I was wearing didn't help.
I exited Kirkhill Forest at Overton Garage and ran past the airport landing lights.
This road is very busy during the working week but all was quite today.
Into the industrial estate, this is where I do my lunch time runs.
This was a shortcut that took me to the Buchan Line.
Helicopters regularly approach the airport along the Buchan Line, directly overhead.
There's an underpass which takes me to the river Don
I disturb a Heron which flies to the opposite bank. The camera is struggling in the failing light.
Guillemot's and Swans are spotted on the river.
The end of the trail took me out at another Industrial Estate. It was a two mile run through Stoneywood and Bucksburn to complete the trip.
That's the higher mile running started, it will be back to back weekend runs from now on. I also used a Garmin sat nav for the first time on this run. I'll do a future posting on this once I get to grips with it.