Last weeks page in my running diary was an absolute blank. Not a single mile recorded. Nothing. Nil. Zilch. If I'd kept a 'walking' diary it wouldn't have registered much more than 12 miles either, 2 miles up and down the riverbank looking for kingfishers, a 5 mile circuit of Mossy Mere photographing gulls and oystercatchers, plus a couple of strolls down town for shopping.
|Goosander on River Wharfe (Click to enlarge pictures)|
Easy walks don't count. I don't class them as exercise. They don't triple the heart rate like running does.
They uses to do, in mountaineering days, on 11 coast to coast backpacking jaunts across Scotland carrying heavy loads, Munro bagging, high level traverses of the Swiss Alps, or even circuits of Yorkshire's Three Peaks.
|Walking the Munros - Meall Buidhe in Knoydart (Courtesy Stuart Scott)|
Many British walks/scrambles, like the Aonach Eagach in Glencoe, Cuillin Ridge on Skye or Snowdon Horseshoe are in wild, potentially dangerous areas that raise the adrenalin levels and make for long exciting days in the hills.
|Getting high on adrenalin - Blaven, Skye (Courtesy Stuart Scott)|
I loved that type of walking, and a good old banter over a pint, or two, in the pub at night.
|Beginning the Cuillin Ridge traverse - 22 summits in a day (Courtesy Stuart Scott)|
A traverse of the Cuillin Ridge with mountaineering partner, John Mortimer, was probably one of the most exciting days of my life. We left the campsite in Glenbrittle at 6am,, traversed the whole of the ridge in 11 hours and were in the Sligachan Inn celebrating our achievement before closing time. A braw day, as they say in Scotland. (Finlay Wild subsequently ran the entire ridge in just under 3 hours!).
|My type of walking - winter day on Seana Braigh (Courtesy Stuart Scott)|
By the time I took up running, aged 54, it was too late to attempt fast traverses though I ran many of the 283 Scottish Munros to eventually become the 2,699th 'Compleatist' in 2002.
|On a run up Ben Hope - looking towards Ben Loyal|
(Courtesy Stuart Scott)
Reaching the tender age of 80 marked another milestone insomuch as I decided enough was enough. No longer would I subject my body to rigorous training routines to stay competitive. Hill reps, cruise intervals and the like were beginning to hurt like hell and would more likely destroy my body rather than do it any good. I'm no Ed Whitlock or Faujit Singh. There are other things in life besides running.
|Soloing Tower Gap on a climb up Ben Nevis (Courtesy Stuart Scott)|
Between 80 and 85 I raced a few times, using up inbuilt reserves, until racing fitness dwindled to a point where I no longer felt competitive. That's it, I said, from now on I'll continue running slowly and enjoyably, purely for fun, fitness and my love of the great outdoors. And so I have.
|M80 Rankings from 2014|
Imagine my surprise the other day when I happened across something I hadn't seen before, some rankings from 2014 I didn't know existed. A friend had persuaded me to do a couple of Championship races as a parting gesture and I complied, just for fun! Little did I realise I'd feature in the British, European and World rankings for that year.
It's taken me three more years to learn the meaning of the word Serendipity!