parkrun tourism: Holyrood

parkrun #315 location#85

Reason for visit: en route to St Andrews Scottish Country Dance summer school

I’m sure other parkrun tourists do the same when booking accommodation – have the parkrun events page open on one browser, with a map searching for BnBs on another, trying to find a close match. When I’d booked my Edinburgh Air BnB a few months back, I’d thought it was close to Portobello. But when I arrived it was going to be a bit of a journey to get there, and anyway, the new kid on the block had started just 3 weeks previously in Holyrood. And it was a simpler option.

Must get me one of these! You can decide whether I mean the tartan skort or the big dog.

Access:

The course takes place in Holyrood park, which is very close (walking distance) to the city centre and the foot of Royal Mile. A number of buses have stops nearby, all set out on the event’s course page. Buses take contactless payments, and I found the range and frequency of routes to be very user friendly.

Course:

The course is just one lap, starting and finishing near the same point close to St Margaret’s Loch. It is all on tarmac roads. The first 2 km is a steady uphill climb, before it levels off round the far side of the hill, and then a glorious 2 km downhill. You could be quite canny about your racing line here if chasing a PB – stick close the the inner side of the circuit, but take the shorter straight line when the path curves.

The views are nothing short of spectacular, and there was even a swirl of the bagpipes to be heard carried on the morning breeze.

Watch out for other users, particularly cyclists.

Crowd:

As a newcomer, situated in a capital city, this is going to be a big attraction for tourists. The inaugural attracted over 500, and there were 400 and something when I visited at their event number 4.

Despite this I saw no other cow cowls, and even though I was wearing a WMN top, I got no “Dolly or Bev?” “Arbitrary!” exchanges.

Good range of ages and run times, and plenty of dogs.

Gear:

Zippy run belt held my phone, keys, and emergency fiver.

I wore my grey “is it fancy dress” WMN top, and grey skirty capri pants. Cow cowl, headband and sunglasses. Saucony trainers – road shoes are fine for here, tarmac surface all the way.

Time:

I’m nursing a problem heel at the minute, and walked the uphill section, but was quite impressed with my time of 43-06, which was faster than I’d done Crystal Palace in a few weeks ago.

After:

I had a lovely cappuccino and croissant in the Holyrood Cafe, which has lovely clean loos, and a fresh water station. There is also a cafe in the Holyrood government building nearby.

Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:

I was running without music, listening to the birdsong, and that bagpipe air drifting across from the town.

And the rest:

It was great to be back at Summer School after the Covid-pause, though my heel wasn’t improved by all that hopping and the long walks between venues.

All my parkruns:

Link NI (and other) parkruns: summary list

parkrunDANCER

I was inspired by a member of parkrun tourists UK, who had enjoyed an ice cream after each parkrun, often a cornetto.  And who posted photos, often with the hashtag #parkruncornetto.  Even though his mates teased him about this being a “thing”!

And so he decided to run a series of parkruns that would spell out “parkruncornetto”.  And when he had accomplaished this, his mates presented him with a T shirt suitably emblazoned with “#parkruncornetto – it’s a thing!”

Heading into summer 2017, I knew I was visiting Scotland, and the United States.  So I looked at the parkruns I might be able to visit during those trips, as well as some near events that had missing letters of my alphabet.  This gave me Edinburgh,  Crissy Field (in San Fran) and Navan.  With a bit of creative thinking I could see that I could spell, using other locally available letters, DANCER.  I’ve been a dancer all my life, with a core of ballet, but also incorporating tap, salsa, and line dancing, and most recently have thrown my devotion to Sottish Country Dancing, where I’m hoping to become a qualified teacher.

Sooooooo…offf we went. In order to have the word read correctly on event history, they have to be run in reverse order.  So first up was local run Rostrevor!  I’d run it before at Christmas time, but didn’t manage to beat my previous time.  But I did meet a guy who asked “Were you on a double decker bus 30 years ago?” who turned out to be  BBC film maker who interviewed me and Ronan….

Loved Edinburgh, took the slow coach bus down from St Andrews along the Fife coast, just magical.  My E for Emily girl, who I found in the new runners briefing, went on to be second lady!

I found the waiting, the gap bewteen letters, to be enoormously frustrating.  I did a bit of volunteering at my home run, Wallace, but getting out of the routine of Saturday means parkrun was discombobulating.

Off to the States for our super dooper trip that we’d been planning for years, including running Crissy Field parkrun in San Fran.  Which I learned, 2 days before, had been cancelled!  aaargh, but hey ho, and I could re-schedule…..

Back in NI, I’d toyed with running my NENYD at Castleblayney, but a Saturday dancing lunchtime committment and a callout from Carrickferus for a VI guide changed my plans, and I was delighted to accompany Pete putting into practice my Guide Dogs training.

Navan was as planned, and had a realy great time running with them.

I knew I’d be in London to see my son working on Evitia – had originally planned Dulwich but that had to be changed to the only A in London – Ally Pally!

And oh my goodness, the last bit of the jigsaw – D and my nearest one is Dundalk!

Dundalk…Done Dancer!