Book review: Scottish Trail Running
Scottish Trail Running is a book that has been long overdue. With so many fabulous routes for running across Scotland, an increase in the number of off-road runners and many more cross-country and off-road running races being launched, there is a real appetite for a book that offers up “70 great runs”.
Indeed, I’d been meaning to put such a book together for about the last 10 years but the rest of my life gets in the way!
Looking through Scottish Trail Running I see runs that I am already familiar with and many that I am curious to try. The familiar runs are reassuring. It’s good to know that author Susie Allison has made some great choices. For example, in the Glasgow and Clyde section there’s the fantastic West Highland Way and Waterworks Road route. (I call the waterworks road the pipe track but I know this route very well and it’s a treat of fabulous scenery and undulating running).
The Greenock Cut is another route I’ve run and enjoyed, as is Mugdock Country Park. The route that Susie has decided to write about is a lovely one.
But there are a few surprises in this section that is close to my own home. Doughnot Hill, a six-mile hill run near Overtoun House, near Dumbarton, and Neilston Pad, a two-mile circuit around the foot of a hill. These I will try in the near future.
On a recent trip to Aviemore during which I planned a long-ish run, the book reminded me of the delightful walking tracks that are ideal for running at Loch an Eilein. Another great run is the Speyside Way Circuit of 11 miles.
There are runs from the very south of Scotland and north to Orkney, and as far west as Harris and east to north-east Aberdeenshire. The routes cross the wide spectrum of short and easy and longer and more epic. Some need good navigation skills, while others are very obvious routes.
The book also includes lots of advice about trail running and route grades. There’s a wealth of inspirational chat on the benefits of trail running. The blurb says: “This guide takes runners on a journey of discovery that starts in suburbia and crosses every kind of runnable terrain to reach remote glens and far-flung islands. Short, simple circuits close to towns will suit beginners while ultra marathons through Scotland’s wildest mountains will test even the most experienced runner.”
Author Susie lives and works in Glasgow. She is a keen wilderness runner, skier and mountaineer and she hopes to demonstrate that, with a bit of practice, a wide range of wonderful places in Scotland are accessible to all determined runners.
It’s the kind of book I will pack in my bag wherever we travel in Scotland. I love running off-road and finding new routes is always a delight. Maybe I’ll try to tick off all the runs over the next few years!
Scottish Trail Running is available in book shops and on-line. Published by Pesda Press it’s priced at £15.99. Buy by clicking on the logo below and I will get a small amount in commission: