I was invited by Ali of Run the Sights to join a running tour of some of the attractions in Edinburgh. There are different tours of between five and 11 miles to choose from and I went for the six-mile Edinburgh Magic. Here are 22 things I learned on the running tour.
1 The tours are flexible. So while Edinburgh Magic usually starts and finishes at Waverley Bridge, Ali was happy to meet me in Stockbridge because that is where I wanted to park my van.
2 Edinburgh is surprisingly hilly and I had forgotten that! The tour did not include mountain-like hills but there were lots of ups and downs, right from the start.
3 Running through the crowds on the busy streets as people headed home from work wasn’t always easy but I enjoyed running and dodging around them. Once we got out to the quieter pavements it felt wonderful to be moving at speed and ease.
4 Ali told me she would run at my pace. This is fortunate since she looks super fit and when I asked her about her running she told me she is a veteran of many running races. These days she does ultra distance. She could easily run quickly, if that is what you wanted, or she can slow to suit anyone’s pace. Ali did run at my pace.
5 As we ran we chatted and I found Ali very agreeable company.
6 By day, Ali is a civil servant. She spends her leisure time running, looking after dogs and building Running The Sights.
7 As well as the tours in Edinburgh, Ali is setting up tours in Glasgow and Dundee.
8 Running is a great pace to see the sights of Edinburgh. If we had walked we would have seen only around a third of the attractions that we managed to reach in the two hours.
9 Ali knows a lot about the history of the landmarks, memorials and attractions that we visited on the tour. She wasn’t too over zealous with her information but she knew enough to keep me interested. She has clearly done her research and is very god at recalling it.
10 I loved all of Ali’s facts and stats about different locations and landmarks (I won’t spoil these for you!)
11 When I asked her question that she didn’t know the answer to (only one, actually!) she said she would find out. She did. She emailed me after the tour to tell me the answer.
12 Although I lived in Edinburgh for many years and have visited it many time,s I learned a lot on the touristy running tour.
13 We covered the six miles easily and enjoyably. From Stockbridge we ran towards the centre of town and on to Rose Street. The route then followed a loop around the city centre visiting such highlights as St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland, Greyfriars Bobby, Cowgate, Grassmarket, Canongate, Palace of Holyrood House, the Scottish Parliament Building, Calton Hill with its amazing viewpoint, Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scott Monument.
14 We also passed a man with an owl on his shoulder as we headed down the Royal Mile.
15 On Leith walk we stopped to look at an art installation of two giant giraffes. Ali told me they are made of old Ford car parts. Someone has placed a traffic cone in the rear area of one of the giraffes. The photo shows the hilarious outcome.
16 I had worried about the climb up to Calton Hill summit but it didn’t feel too hard. Towards the top we slowed to a fast walk so we could chat a bit more and take in the amazing views.
17 I was delighted to tell Ali about the 80th anniversary of the trigs in the UK. There is a trig point at 103m on Calton hill.
18 Like everywhere in Scotland, Edinburgh has fickle weather. We started in heavy rain that soon cleared and by the end of the tour we were running in warm evening sunshine.
19 Ali wants to build an environmentally friendly business. She prefers to meet people at public transport links, such as Waverley Bridge near Waverley train station. She is thinking about an electric people carrier vehicle for her drives to reach the Pentlands tours.
20 You can spot Ali in her yellow Run the Sights t-shirt and buff. You can also purchase these items, as well as hoodies and running vests.
21 The running tours would make a great gift for people who enjoy jogging or running and seeing new places.
22 For visitors to the capital, the running tours are a great way to pack in many of the major attractions. You could then choose to return to what you fancy for a closer look around.
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