Monthly Archives: September 2015

Islay Marathon week and road trip.

Caledonia blared out from my IPhone 04:30 on Friday where had the week gone?

I had made sure of an easy week with the only  runs an interval set a cooper test and my Jog Scotland session and the only biking I had done had been to deliver Mums on the run flyers to local nurseries.  Weds I had spent with Carol and we had finally managed to get around most of the tapestry in Kirkcaldy museum before closing time.

Back to 04:30!  After a wash and breakfast I gathered everything together and set off with my heavily laden Giant for Kirkcaldy station and the first of three trains in my journey to Ardrossan Harbour for the first ferry.  The 05:53 was on time and I arrived in Edinburgh with 15 mins to spare before the train for Glasgow Queen Street alighting at GQS I made my way to Glasgow Central for the Ardrossan Harbour train. 

 So far so good my timetable had been fine and all the trains had been on time too.  Now to get tickets and board the ferry.  The ferry was very busy with at least 30 cyclists waiting to board behind the cars.  Most of the cyclists were doing the 5 Ferries cycle route a very popular 1 day ride with Scottish club cyclists and one which I had done twice.  However today I got off the ferry after a very pleasent crossing and turned right heading north for a lumpy 14 miles to the hamlet and ferryport of Lochranza.  On the 5 ferries and indeed on my trip this is where things can go terribly wrong if you miss a ferry or if the ferry does not run.  However I got to Lochranza with enough time to relax in the sun with a smoked venison sanwich from the sandwich shack.  The Lochranza to Cloanaig ferry docked and this time cyclists were on first about 8 of us this time.  Once docked I headed across the peninsula to Kennacraig and my third and final ferry first I had to cycle 5 miles a nice easy pace with over an hour to cover the distance.  There isn’t much to see on this stretch of road so I did not hang around thinking it would be better to wait in the sunshine at the ferryport rather than on the bike!  This trip was over 2 hours to Port Ellen a significant portion of which I spent on the deck in the sunshine.  Scotland is an amazing country and I was seeing some of the best sights it had to offer.   


 The ferry arrived at Port Ellen we all disembarked and I headed off on :”the high road” to Port Charlotte YH my home for the next 3 nights.  This was the longest cycle of the day about 19 miles and with the sun starting to go down the sky was an amazing colour.  The route I was following was almost the whole of the marathon route so that let me know the kind of run I was in for!

I arrived at the YH at almost 8pm 14 hours, 3 train rides, 3 ferries and 3 bike sections after I left Kirkcaldy. Sunday’s marathon doesn’t seem like a bad proposition after that!! 


The hostel was an old distillery building and it had been converted by the SYHA into an amazing hostel.  It had everything one needs, comfy bunks, hot showers and large teapots.  When I booked in I was told that there was another 3 cyclists there from Fife and lo and behold there were 3 members of the Fife and Kinross CTC on Islay for a wee cycle break.  After spending some time with them I headed for bed and a good nights sleep.  Luckily my room mates were also early bedders so a good nights rest was had.  I took advantage of the breakfast on offer at the hostel and then headed out to registration in Bowmore.   

 After registration I had time for a cuppa and a scone and a walk round Bowmore.  At 5:30 there was a pasta party in the High school unfortunately it was not very well attended but the food was excellent and I ate more than my fill so much so that when a lift was offered I took it!

The race report is covered in A-Z of marathons.

On the return trip I was able to have a bit of a long lie as I did not have to start cycling until 07:15 on Monday to cover the miles to Port Ellen and get aboard the first ferry.  Much duller and cooler than Friday the rain, which had been forecast to hit at 09:30 had obv not seen the forecast and the heavens opened at 8.  By the time I reached Port Ellen I was soaked through and cold and stiff.   On the ferry from Port Ellen there were another 3 cyclists headed to Kennacraig with 2 travelling onwards to Ardrossan.   I arrived at Claonaig just as the ferry was raising its ramp luckily it was the ferry earlier than I had planned to get so I spent an hour relaxing in the sun with my book till the rain returned and forced me to take shelter!  The ferry returned right on time but had difficulty unloading a bus and in the end the passengers had to get out so the bus could get away from the water lapping at its wheels and power up the landing ramp. 

 This all meant that the ferry left 30 mins late!  There was however contingency in my travel plans so although I did had to get a move on to Brodick I made the ferry ok and connected with an earlier train this continued all the way home and I made it back to Kirkcaldy about 50 mins earlier than I had planned.  Time for a bath and bed!!



Islay marathon week.

One week to go till Islay and the excitement builds.  I am really looking forward to the race and am making sure that I am prepared for it.  I   Idecided to try a weekly diary of this trip rather than the normal road trip blog and see how I get on with it.

Monday:  A nice long lie with no running at all.  I did do some cycling but only around the North of Kirkcaldy delivering flyers.  I went to yoga in the evening and had an early bed.

Tuesday:  Early rise and a fartlek session on the beach.  It was a great morning.  After the run I headed to Pete West for a massage.  This man has a knack of finding knots!! I spent most of the afternoon painting my summerhouse and starting to get things together for the weekend.  I headed out for a tri club meeting then to Carols where I spent the night.

Wednesday:  Another long lie. Spent the day with Carol we had a test drive of a Fiesta, visited Toni and went for a look at the tapestry in the museum.  I then headed to the track where I met GTC or 1 of them and we did a cooper test.  I was pleased with the result as I was 370 m up on my last test!

Thursday: Packing stretches and Jog Scotland.  Hardly slept a wink.

A catch up

It’s been quiet a while since I have posted and a lot has happened.  August has just flown past and it hasn’t because I have been sunning myself at home or abroad it has just melted away and now we are into September with my “I” marathon a week and a day away!

In no particular order-The Fringe a show with Phil Jupitus in the Scottish Potrait Gallery.  First time I have seen him but I really enjoyed the show.

Carol and I spent a day at the Botanics a really good day and something we have been meaning to do for ages.  I am not a gardener but I like looking at gardens and the Botanics is really special.  Needless to say we will be going back.  We also visited a garden centre we had not been to before after a recc from a friend it scored on a number of fronts-different selectionof plants at reasonable prices, well laid out with loads of stuff but no clutter, good BLT’s and a great cup of tea!  Lastly its on one of my cycle routes.

I spent a weekend at the Ullapool YH with the Glenrothes Hillwalkers Club and bagged 6 munros making my total now 206 from 284.  I also discovered that in Sept 2017 it will be 20 years since I bagged my first.  I have another weekend coming up at Mar Lodge Braemar and hopefully I will bag my final 2 Cairngorm munros while I am there.

Training has been consistent with a race and a couple of Park runs.  The biking has been going esp well and I have completed my MBLA route cards and shall be chasing up my assessment in the meanwhile I have been experimenting with routes I can take clients on.  I have been looking at road and off road routes and have discovered trails that I had not been on myself.

My Jog Scotland group has not seen much growth but I did have a newbie this week after I had put an add up on our local radio stations web site.  In two weeks time I shall be going on a Mums on the Run course so I have been distributing leaflets to nurseries and putting them up in stores in the hope that I can attract some new blood.