Why Walk If You Can Run?

That is something I tell myself every now and then when I’m aiming to bag a hill or generally just have an objective in the outdoors. I look at the map guess what the ground underfoot would be like. Very boggy or very steep in too many places makes a route surely a walk.

The weather is another factor. If it’s a very wet day and I really have to do this, I rather walk. At least if the route is longer than 10k.

Today was such a day, where all signs pointed to “run”. Low cloud and later rain made today a good day to do a low level walk from my list of recce walks. Bad weather is said to happen occasionally in Scotland and dragging a group up a hill in driving rain with zero views is challenging. Especially for more than one day in a row and not all of them super keen munro baggers.

So I drove to Acharn near Kenmore on Loch Tay in the morning, a wee little village that has a short circular walk around some waterfalls, but my route would take me a bit further out into the countryside. A 4×4 vehicle track for most of the way and a bit of grass sounded just perfect to ditch the walking boots and put my trail runners on.

The sheltered ascent along the river was actually steep enough to have me walk, haha. But I walked with a purpose and soon after dropping out of the trees I could actually speed up into a comfortable trot.

Falls of Acharn

Another climb too steep to run followed, but I didn’t mind. It wasn’t raining and I was looking forward to running down all of this later. Views down to Loch Tay and Kenmore got better every minute with a backdrop of vague hills, whilst ahead an almost Dartmoor-esk scenery unfolded once I had cleared a group of trees.

Stone circle with a view
I got this.
Easy running on a nice track

The gradient was more or less level now, so I could finally make some distance after having climbed 400m altogether. Down to the Acharn burn which needed to be crossed. No obvious stepping stones so I simply splashed through. That’s trail running, haha. Then up the other side and down back into Acharn.

Two hours after I had started I was back at the car. 11k and 470m elevation gain. I had not rushed it and rather enjoyed it. Lovely little walk/run it had been. And I had not met a single person.

Headed over to Aberfeldy for cream tea, petrol and topping up my first aid kit and lunch food. Then back to Arrochar. Nice short day today and my heels are certainly happy with that. Running was okay, walking uphill just painful, but at least I wasn’t making it any worse and for once the patch on my bad right heel had stayed in place. Finally!

So far the plan is two more munros tomorrow, weather looks decent until mid-afternoon. Hope my heels recover more over night, I’ll certainly have to wear my lighter boots tomorrow and hope the path is not too technical.

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