(parkrun #143 – tourist run #26 )
(…with a wee bit of dramatic licence along the way)
Getting to parkruns which you have never done before can be a bit stressful. If you’ve had to travel some distance that morning to arrive at your chosen venue, then there are the usual known-unknowns:
- will we get there in time?
- where can we park, (is there a charge)?
- are there toilets nearby for the obligatory PpP ?
Well, we thought that we had those all taped this time. We had reached Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, (the next stop on our Tring diaspora tourist trail) on parkrun eve (or “Friday” as some still call it). We had rented an apartment near Inverness about a further 30 minutes north of here. Not too far away, although the highland village that we were staying in was called Farr (No, really). Anyway, this meant that we were able to do a quick reconnoitre during the parkrun eve afternoon. We had located the out-of-town industrial estate where the parkrun event website recommended us to park (sensitively) and we also spotted the post parkrun café (Route 7 Cafe & Flying Sausage BBQ Hut) where the usual facilities would be on offer to café patrons, plus the food and drink, (more on that later).
So, as we continued our journey to our holiday apartment, parkrun planning boxes ticked, we were looking forward to returning to Aviemore the following morning. That evening, parkrun synchronicity turned up trumps when I spotted a freshly posted vlog from Nicola runs all about her recent freedom run at…Aviemore! Tomorrow we were going to be in for a treat. (Was it really going to be as good as we were expecting?)
Fast forward to the following morning and Team Bishop rock up to the appointed place just before the appointed hour or, in this case, just before half-past-the hour (parkruns in Scotland start at 9:30am). We park the car and follow the hi-viz heroes away from the rendezvous point by the café, past a lock-up for the local coach company then, just as the Speyside Way path begins at a wooded area, we congregate in expectation of the abridged run briefing.
A brief briefing over, we follow the RD further into the wood, down a slope, through a tunnel and out into Caledonian Narnia complete with Triffid-like structures. From here on in, our adventure in the Highlands takes on a magical twist!
A brief pause at the start line before the off…
Then off through the woods, along the sun-dappled path….(definitely a “road shoes course” in all weathers – except perhaps in snow). Oh look! Some marshalls-in-disguise are cheering on the front runners 😉 as they pass.
Then out onto the heather-clad moor as the track winds its way towards the turn-around point. Stunning views indeed, on a sunny parkrun day morning. Scotch Mist? No! – Scotch Bliss!
And then…unexpectedly a steam train enters the scene (was that a time tunnel we went through earlier?)
Never been sadder to reach the turn-around point at 2.5k. We wanted to stay out here for the whole day!
It’s mostly flat all the way back, looking out for the deceptively Yorkshire-flat bit before the finish funnel. Thanks for the warning, Nicola Forwood!(Nicola runs).
Run-done, barcodes and position tokens scanned, we lingered a while near the finish funnel and espied these marvellous examples of stone art (or should that be “rock festival” 😉 )
Certainly Aviemore parkrun had been magical, with a view more than expected. And very nice it was too! And very nice were the volunteers. One of whom told us of the nearby Loch an Eilein (loch of the island). “Thanks Marshall”, thank you indeed! We spent a great afternoon walking round this loch.
Oh and one last unexpected pleasure awaited us at the Route 7 Café afterwards…A bacon AND HAGGIS buttie. (Better than a deep fried MarsBar* 😉 ) * Other confectionery is available.
Till the next time…its stay safe and Slàinte Mhath Alba !