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Every snow blockade has its silver lining

Written by Fiona December 22 2009

So I had hiked the gorgeous Ben Ledi (879m, near Callander) in snowy but not treacherous conditions. I had spent some time feeling a little wind blown towards the summit of the hill. I’d lost the feeling in my hands for some 20 mins after trying to sip tea from a flask and eat a sandwich.

I’d also slipped a little crazily back down the mountain on my waterproofed trousered bum (amazing fun) and I had considered popping on the borrowed crampons to the borrowed winter walking boots to see if that would make the going a little easier.

I’d then returned to the car beneath bright blue skies and headed back in the car with two walking pals towards Glasgow.

And, yes, we did see some snow on the roads and a few piled up snow clouds hovering over the hills in the distance.

But I never for a second imagined I would not be able to make it back to my own close-to-the-big-city front door that evening!

I can’t recall a time in the last four years when a drive into Bearsden (it’s a Glasgow suburb for goodness sakes!) has seemed so remote and snow swept as on Sunday at teatime.

As it turned out it was impossible for me, in my non-4WD Ford Focus, to reach the outskirts of Bearsden via either of the normal routes and, indeed, after trying all ways I finally gave up and abandoned my car at the Tickled Trout pub some three miles from my home.

Having planned to walk home from there I was lucky enough to be picked up by a group driving a 4WD, who then kindly took me home. Even in their car it was not an easy drive and the snow-covered, icy road was littered with abandoned cars and lorries.

Being car-less overnight was fine, but come the next morning I realised I’d need the car for various meetings including lunch with pals and a supermarket run.

So I decided to go cross-country by foot to reach my car. Setting off I wore my trusty Inov-8 off-road trainers, a pair of warming and wick away Skins leggings and a wind-protecting Gore running jacket, plus the Nike beanie and gloves (see previous blog). (Buy all these from one of my fave running shops, Achilles Heel in Glasgow or on-line.)

I’d worried that the going underfoot would be dangerously slippy – and that that I’d look a little stupid trying to run while everyone else was still carefully negotiating still icy and snow-covered roads and pavements.

But it turned out to be one of the nicest few miles of running I’ve done all year. I took the pace right back to easy and enjoyable (I didn’t want to risk a silly injury from sliding over on my bum). I also spent much of my time taking in my surroundings, including the beautiful snow-covered countryside and the icy-looking but oh-so-clear River Allander. And because very few people were out for a walk or a run, it was just so wonderfully peaceful.

The air smelt fresh and my short run left me feeling completely warmed through and mentally high.

Normally when it’s snowy and potentially icy I’d give myself the day off from exercise (and certainly I’d not normally run the day after climbing a mountain for recovery purposes) but I’m now glad that I had to abandon my car just a few miles from home.

As I suggest in the blog title, it does seem that this particular cloud had a silver lining.

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