Harvey, our Border Terrier, and I went for our pre-lunch run today.
We sped down the 400-stretch of road from the croft gate to the first bend. It always takes the dog that far to moderate his pace from “manic sprint” to “fast run”.
The next 200 metres to the forestry field saw us settle into fast run. We jumped the mud, jogged through the approach to the field gate and let ourselves into the field.
Another 250 metres of easy trail running on the flat brought us to the first challenge: a 320m sprint up a 12 per cent grade. As usual, Harvey reached the top first, stopped, looked around as if to say “what’s holding you up?” and went for a sniff around while he waited for me.
Once over the crest, we jogged down the 100 metre slope to the rear field gate and let ourselves out onto the trail extending to the south-east. It’s a slow 120m jog here thanks to the long grass and concealed rabbit holes.
We were now at the bottom of the 300m ascent of Dunnideer: a 16 per cent grade overall although some parts of the trail are more like 20 per cent.
As always, Harvey shot ahead to investigate the rabbit holes hidden beneath the scrub while I paused to take a few deep breaths and focus myself.
And ran. Ran hard. Ran like the Cù Sìth was on my tail.
At the top, Harvey was sitting, panting lightly, head tilted quizzically to one side. He looked as if he’d waited for days.
Turned and ran down the hill. Actually, harder than running up it.
Jogged back along the rabbit track, into the forest field and along the 110m of back fence.
Picked the pace up for the short rise and long fall of the 400m stretch back to the road. I was sweating hard now, my breath was forced and my legs were starting to feel the effects of the run.
I put Harvey back on the lead and started the road run back to the house, pushing hard again.
The first 250m is reasonably flat. Not bad. We hit the final stretch, a 130m long rise back to the croft. Tough.
I was pushing harder still, with Harvey happily trotting alongside, when a small hatchback car eased alongside me.
Two women of the genus “Ponderus stupendia” shouted at me through the open passenger side window.
“What are you doing to that poor dog?”
“You’re so cruel to that poor little dog.”
“Making him run like that. Oh the poor thing.”
The ranting and raving continued. I was heartless and should be reported for cruelty.
I kept running, Harvey kept running. I was tempted to let rip, but, to be frank my instinctive response was rude and I needed my breath.
Harvey and I peeled off to the left, they accelerated off to the right. At the back door of the house, I leaned into the wall to do my stretches and recover.
There was a growl from behind me, then I felt a bat from a paw. Harvey had his “rat rope” and wanted to play “kill the rope”. At speed.
Who does nobody comment about how cruel the dog is to poor old Two-Legs?
- Boys tackle their first trail (stoneheadcroft.com)
- The Ultimate Outdoor Companion: Choose Your Adventure (outsideonline.com)
- These routes are made for walking (independent.co.uk)