Thankfully despite the cold it’s been very dry (therefore no ice underfoot) and we were able to get out to the woods for one of my favourite long runs: Hazlehead and Countesswells.
Setting off with Ali and Derek, we were nearly a man down before we left the car park with Derek having a minor impromptu slip.
The trails were surprisingly puddle free. It’s very rare indeed that there are no puddles to jump, run through or tiptoe around. Opting for either the former or latter, I have to say I was most delighted! I hate getting my feet wet, especially at the start.
The toughest part of this run is always the start, the first mile leading very gently up, following the route of Hazlehead parkrun. The legs are just getting warmed up and it can be a bit of a slog.
As always, the chatter passed the time and before we knew it we were coming out of Hazlehead and working our way towards Countesswells. I feel sad when I see the urban sprawl that’s developing here as the new houses are built; in my opinion they spoil the views and the overall peace and tranquility of the area.
Before long we were in Countesswells. I’ve always loved this forest and adore running here. There are wide forest trails and smaller tracks aplenty. Give me this over the road any day! With so many trails and paths to pick from it’s possible to play here for ages without getting bored.
Derek stick with us towards the bottom of the forest before heading off as he’s building up strength just now.
Ali and I then continued on our way round to conquer Kingshill. This lovely hill takes you round to the back of the forest with views over to Kingswells. It had a special place on Strava where someone has aptly named it to show the love we all feel for it – not! Anyway, we did three loops of Kingshill, managing to run each one pretty steadily so we were happy.
Each loop was unique in it’s own way: the first we chugged up complaining; the second we met a melee of people at the top (including Phil, a fellow Metro man who appeared over the top of Tank Hill, much to my surprise!); the third was great as we felt pretty virtuous having already completed two laps.
There’s then the other side of the forest to run. This part always reminds me of Alan (who was running today in sunnier climes, the Gran Canaria Half), as it’s his favourite part of the run, twisting and turning through the trees with little swooping sections. It’s a real fun bit to run. It also reminds me of John (also running the GC Half) as he once performed some sort of levitational feat, attempting to remain upright having stumbled off the path and into the ditch!
We met lots of dogs here including the obligatory one that has to wander in front of you and attempt to trip you up. It failed.
Back over to Hazlehead we ran along to the ‘bus stop’ or shelter at the top of the golf course / Hazlehead parkrun route before returning to the cars. 14 miles in the bank and 2 happy runners!
At this point Ali headed off so I had to go solo to Cafe Cognito. My favourite coffee shop, it’s an absolute must following the Sunday run. Perfect!