The thought of getting up at 5am to go running has often appealed to me. And it has more often appalled me! With two young kids, sacrificing any opportunity to sleep seems churlish. Yet, this week I took the plunge, getting up at 5am twice.
On my first foray I was rewarded with the rising sun and stunning views over the Trossachs. It was a shot of energy straight into my system and it felt like I was the only one awake, sneaking into an elite club open only to those who dare to depart from their cosy beds at unearthly hours. The serenity, clarity and stillness was amazing.
The slog up to the top of Dumgoyne was its usual; short, sharp and steep. But with 15mins of hard effort, the landscape opens out and the reward is certainly worth it. On a par, though, is the thrilling, fast descent back down, much of it on tight, technical trail, before an ankle-breaking stretch of short grass and gouged out foot holes. Keeping your speed in check on this part is the most difficult element.
My second 5am start this week saw the weather return to being a bit more ‘Scottish’ – i.e. dreich!
I headed up Dumgoyne again (the cloud was so low there was no visible sign of its existence), although this time I was soaked before I left the treeline and by the time I turned onto the summit approach the wind was blowing cold water right across my face.
From the top I decided to go exploring, heading over to Canny Face top, then over to Dumfoyn. I was making up my route as I went and was pretty tired by the time I summited Dumfoyn. Imagine my shock when my subconscious deliberately took me off the path and back up the other side of Dumgoyne?! Once I began towards the base of the scree slope, I couldn’t back out and had to see it through, but it was a very slow climb up, the strength in my legs having already been sapped.
It was great, though, to re-summit Dumgoyne 45minutes later, despite the fact the view was still nowhere to be seen!
I then descended the track down, but with jelly legs and my trail shoes displaying their usual lack of traction on wet grass and mud, it was a slow affair; the confidence between me and my shoes having stayed at the summit! (I wear Salomon Sense trail shoes, which are the best trail shoes I’ve ever known… but; they’re awful on steep, wet, muddy Scottish hills!)
By the time I returned to the car I’d been out 1hr15 and had climbed over 2,000ft. Not bad for getting back into fitness and trailrunning and it set me up perfectly for a bowl of hot porridge and a nice cup of Yorkshire Tea.
So, all I can say about 5am rises: why isn’t everyone doing it??