Hill running

This is probably a bit of a stupid ask from someone who grew up in the countryside but....

I'm running in the Speed of Light event during the Edinburgh festival this year (anyone else doing it? It involves donning a Tron light suit and running up and around Arthur's Seat in the dark in synchronisation - awesome!). Now I've only ever run on roads and the odd trail but sensibly enough the organisers suggest getting in some hill running training during the day and a few trials at night time. I'm not a member of a club and none of friends run so I've noone really to ask about local routes. Does anyone know any good runs close to Glasgow? I thought the start of the west highland way might be a good start but I'm not sure where else to try. And I wasn't sure about access.....I don't want to go upsetting farmers etc!

Also how do you go about finding routes - is it a case of looking at those OS pathfinder maps or is there an online resource? Finally, would you recommend getting specific hill shoes rather than trail shoes?

Any advice would be very welcome as quite frankly the thought of attempting to run up a hill is a little daunting!


  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭
    I keep banging on about bike hike but it's really good for this sort of thing...you can toggle between two maps on the same page, one is a google map and the other is OS, so you can see footpaths and plot your route.

    On the OS map you don't need massive navigational skill to see the steeper hills just look for contour lines close together, the closer they are, the steeper the hill, find a footpath and you're away.

    Tbh I would go over to Edinburgh and run up the course, it's not that far?
  • Thanks Mr P I'd forgotten that site existed, I'll take a look and see if I can find somewhere local. I will go through to Edinburgh a couple of times to check out the route but I'd also like to find some local places so that I can make it a part of my weekly training. You never know I may even end up enjoying myself and abandon road running! 

  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    Yup BikeHike or a good old fashioned paper OS map. I have the OS maps on my pc. You can find out if there's any open acess land around you, though in Scotland you have some daft bugger legislation with right to roam.

  • I've always presumed that being in Scotland I can go anywhere I like as long as I don't cause harm, other than secured places or army bases etc. The right to roam legislation hasn't changed that has it?


  • Yes, in Scotland you can go pretty much anywhere you like, subject to common sense and basic good manners, which means always leaving gates the same way you find them and walking round the edges of fields rather than straight through the middle unless there is an obvious well-worn path. It also means apologising and retreating graciously if a farmer asks you to leave, even if you think you should have a right of access. Bad manners include going through fields with livestock, especially if they have young or you have a dog, and going through crop fields. 'Crops' here includes fields that are full of what looks like long grass as that is often silage that farmers grow to feed to their cows through the winter.

    But if you're near Glasgow there are enough hilly offroad places to run that you shouldn't have to worry about access to farmland. Near Paisley is the Gleniffer Braes and Muirshiel country park, just past Castlemilk is the Cathkin Braes, north west there's Mugdock, the Kilpatrick hills and like you say the start of the WHW, not too sure what's runnable east of Glasgow but that's just cause I've never looked. Further out, Ben A'an and the Cobbler would be great for running with well marked paths on both.


  • I didn't know of that BikeHike site - it looks good. You can also get OS Maps free online on Bing Maps by choosing "Ordnance Survey Map" from the map layer drop down and zooming in/out to OS scale.

    Eg http://binged.it/MKbuNT

  • I didn't know you could do that with Bing!

    Growing up in ther middle of nowhere I at least know my countryside manners. If it wasn't instilled by my parents then being chased across a field by a herd of cows certainly taught me a lesson or two!

    Thanks for the advice on places to go Runs-with-dogs. The cathkin braes isn't too far from my office so I might try an early evening run up there one night.

  • The Campsies, just go up Craw Road to Fintry from Lennoxtown to the car park & run from across the road up the hill there. Spectacular views but take care that the weather does not change suddenly.

    Cathkin Braes car park is near the golf club but not very safe as it is very close to the houses  on the north side so many hooligans are out.

    Kilpatricks are the same, do not leave your car on a quiet road, leave it either in Dumbarton, Bowling or Old Kilpatrick.

    The Whangie on the Strathendrick Road about 4 miles out of Bearsden, is good for a start, well worn paths as is Ben Lomond in Rowardennan, not far from Drymen.




  • Thank you so much for the advice, I really do appreciate it. The whangie(?!?) sounds like it would be a good option to try this weekend. I was through in Edinburgh this evening for work so took my stuff and ran round Arthur's seat. I didn't make it to the top but I did make it up and along the ridge next to the main hill (it must have a name but I'm not sure what). I kept having to walk sections as my heart rate was soaring a bit too high but I had fun, it is lovely being able to run in amongst the green stuff for a change.
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    The Kilpatrick hills and Mugdock park are good shouts. The Hellrunner trail races used to be held up at Mugdock.


    That link lists some well know hill walking routes, nothing to stop you running them though!

  • Salisbury crags.....I knew that, honest. Oh deary dear.

    Cheers eggy, I've only ever explored the reservoir part at mugdoch but perhaps it's time to take one of the other paths. I'm not sure when I got so wary about following routes without being able to visualise the corresponding satellite image but it's time to put a stop to it. Thanks for the link too. I'm going to have a busy weekend planning all my new routes.
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭
    Mugdock has some well walked hiking paths and trails up towards the queens view. There's a few small car parks around there, so if you drive its easy to park up and just head off following one of the trails. It's a popular spot, but best in dry conditions unless you want to risk losing a shoe in the mud.
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