No race in 2022. Hopefully returning in 2023: TBD….
As I enjoy running in the hills so much I thought I’d organise a hill race so I could share this with others! And what better way to do so than a CAAC race in my local hills, the Pentlands.
The Pentlands, being such a great place for running, already has it’s fair share of races, from the famously long Pentland Skyline and extremely popular Carnethy 5 to several mid-week Bog and Burn series races; but I wanted something a little different, covering new ground, so I have created a route in the much less trodden and remoter western end of the hill range.
While training for the LAMM a couple of years ago I regularly ran round the hills above Baddinsgill reservoir, and have grown to know and love these hills really well. Far fewer people venture out here, and it’s common to not see another soul all day while out running over the tops. However access is easy from both West Linton and Little Vantage and there are reasonable hill tracks over almost all the hills making for decent running. The views, both north and east to the people studded main Pentland ridges, and to the south and west across Midlothian to the Borders and the Southern Uplands are excellent.
The start is at the end of the public road at Baddinsgill Farm, which is approximately 2.5 miles up Medwyn Road from West Linton which is itself about 16 miles from Edinburgh along the A702.
Parking is limited in the area, so please share cars when possible. There are a few lay-bys along the final mile of the road for total of perhaps 4-5 cars, and space for perhaps 6 cars outside the logging station at end of the public road about 20m from the start area. There is also parking at the larger level area about 1 mile before the start next to the filter station. This is about 15 minutes walk from the start/finish area. (All these areas are marked on the map below)
There are no specific changing or toilet facilities at the start area, so please come prepared to race.
Enter on EntryCentral. Declaration, where you will be issued with your race number, is at the start area from 10.30am. Entries will be taken on the day but as places are limited to 100, your advised to entry online asap. This also greatly helps with simplifying organisation.
Now in its 8th year of running, the race is being held under SHR race rules and is categorised as a BM race.
The route is on faint hill tracks and sheep trods of some description pretty much all the way round (with the exception of the area around Wolf Crags between West Cairn and Byrehope Mount), making up much of the natural skyline of a circuit of the hills around Baddinsgill Reservoir. The ground covered is often soft, and largely over grass, heather or mossy terrain. It is 10.2 miles with 650m of height gain as measured using a garmin watch. There are 9 waypoints, all unchecked and unmarked, although there are 4 marshalled points. See the map below.
The start is at the junction of the Old Drove Road and the road leading to Baddinsgill house. From there is 1/4 mile of tarmac through the grounds to a gate (first waypoint, with a marshal) leading off right of the road to the open hillside. A well worn track leads up hillside towards Faw Mount. Before the summit of Faw Mount, near an enclosure (second waypoint, with a marshal), the track trends diagonally across the slope to the east crossing several wet areas, before becoming a broad obvious track running parallel to the fence line that rises to the summit of Mount Maw and trig point on the summit (third waypoint). This broad track continues along the ridge again, parallel to the fence line, over more wet ground in places, passing Grain Heads, and onwards towards the summit of the Mount. The views east from here are excellent. Before the summit of the Mount the fence line bends sharply left (forth waypoint) beginning a descent over rough heather to very boggy ground around Deer Hope. Once across the boggy ground a long stone wall/fence line runs up and across the west side of Weather Law (avoiding the flat summit area) before another rough heather descent to Henshaw Mouth and more boggy ground. The wall continues on its step ascent of the south shoulder of East Cairn. After a false summit and another small climb the summit ridge of East Cairn is reached. On the north side of the stone wall is a good, though often boggy, track running west all the way to the large stone cairn of the summit (fifth waypoint). From here care is need to pick the correct track that quickly steepens as it descents over rough heather and rocky ground to the Cauldstone Slap and the crossing of the Drove Road (sixth waypoint, half way, with a marshal, and escape route for those retiring). Crossing the style a often very wet track runs parallel to a fence and wall line west all the way up the big drag to the summit of West Cairn and its cairn and trig point next to a fence corner (seventh waypoint). A fainter track continues beside the fence line along the summit ridge of West Cairn before eventually turning south towards the large open heather covered moor of Wolf Crags. Here the track begins to peter out and the best line through the heather must be found before crossing the burns round Wolf Crags. Another long climb, picking the best route were possible reaches the fore summit of Byrehope Mount where a better, though still soft, track, running parallel to a fence line crossing more wet ground, eventually reaches the almost flat summit area and a bend in the fence line (eighth waypoint) with a marshal. It’s not far to the finish and all down hill from here! A fast descent east continuing to follow the wall line towards a large gap in the trees (ninth waypoint) with a marshal signals the last few hundreds to go. The track through the gap in the trees heads south east through grass and ferns to an open gate at the top of Glen Ely woods, where a narrow and muddy paths leads quickly down to the gate by the road marking the finish and glory!
Did I mention the ground is usually soft and wet?! 🙂
This is a hill race, with all that entails. It is not a trail or cross country race.
Over 18s only.
The route is not marked and there is no support out on the course.
Full body waterproof cover and map/compass are compulsory. There may be kit checks.
Rough terrain so fells shoes required.
You should be happy running in the hills and over rough and unmarked terrain and be prepared to be self reliant. You must know how to use your required map and compass. The area between West Cairn and Byrehope Mount, crossing through Wolf Crags can be a particular navigational challenge as it is open, with few if any tracks or features, and in poor visibility care should be taken to choose the correct line.
If you find others injured, distressed or in need of help please stop and assist even at expense of your own race.
If you withdraw or retire from the race you must let the race organiser know as soon as possible.
There is an escape point half way round the course where the Drove road is crossed that leads back to the start/finish area.
If you take longer than 90 minutes to reach the Drove Road crossing you will be asked by a marshal to withdraw from the race.
There are no suitable sources of drinking water on the route of the race. Water and bananas will be provided at the finish.
1st, 2nd, 3rd senior man (18-39) + 1st, 2nd, 3rd in every 10 year age bracket over 40
1st, 2nd, 3rd senior woman (18-39) 1st, 2nd, 3rd in every 10 year age bracket over 40
Each prizes will be award at the finish shortly after people finish, to avoid people having to hang around in potential bad weather for too long. In previous years prize presentations have take place at 3:00pm in the Gordon Arms in West Linton. It’s got a lovely bar, also serving food, with an outdoor beer garden, not far from the start/end. It’s a great place for everyone to relax their weary legs while recounting tales of their race adventure. The marshals are likely to be found there after the race enjoying a well earned meal and drink.
Record (M): 1:22:27 Peter Hodkinson (2017)
Record (F): 1:42:29 Charlotte Morgan (2014)
Full results from the previous races can be found at here.
Printable PDF map: Baddinsgill Round Map
Full result are available here and assuming a decent mobile data signal will be updated as people finish.