Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
Earlier posts can be found on Adventures of a Lone Bass Player, where this blog began life. Recent entries can be found here.
Exploring The Peffery Way
by Russell Turner - 20:54 on 24 March 2023
Ultra training continues slow but steady. Week 5 ended on Tuesday with a 15k long run which found me doing another loop incorporating the big climb up to Millbuie. It seemed easier the last time I did it, so I’ll blame the recent Inverness HM.
Week 6 began today with what should have been 10k, but as I’d heard the Peffery Way between Dingwall and Strathpeffer was almost complete decided to try that out instead. Much is on a former railway line; I thought I’d earned a flat run.
One slight drawback was that I didn’t know where in Dingwall it began. I knew it was off Mill Street, but despite driving up and down after visiting Tesco yesterday I was no wiser. The parking there is rubbish anyway. Which meant starting in either Strathpeffer or at Fodderty, halfway along, which is what I chose: there’s plenty of parking at the cemetery and a useful fingerpost directing walkers towards the path, half a kilometre away.
So part one of the exploration saw me turn east when I joined the Peffery Way and head to Dingwall, trying to keep to a modest pace. The path was well surfaced and nothing held me up apart from a couple of dog-walkers and their friendly charges – not until I reached the gate at the end of the path and had to negotiate a few hundred metres of muddy quagmire beyond it to discover exactly where on Mill Street it emerged. Surfacing work will begin in May, it seems.
Part two was to be an easy 5:1 run/walk to Strathpeffer to mimic a possible RTTS strategy. The scenery was fine, the weather cool but dry, and all was well until I’d passed the halfway point and found the path ended at a substantial corrugated iron and wire barricade. However, the route continued beyond it, as muddy cycle tracks and boot prints testified. I found the easiest way over the obstruction and followed the track with caution, mud eventually giving way to grass which still bore the ripples of long-gone railway sleepers.
Around 4-500m after that was another mud-surrounded barricade, beyond which the constructed path resumed. Clearly, negotiations are not going well with a local farmer. Between there and the old railway station at Strathpeffer, where the Way ends, were a couple of gates, a few large muddy puddles where the route is already in need of maintenance, and more dog-walkers, all with friendly dogs. There’ll be no fast times on the Peffery Way.
I took a break at the old station long enough to read the tourist information board about the route, then turned around and set off again. I might have stopped for tea and cake but had neglected to bring money. All gates, barricades and muddy patches were traversed without me falling over and I returned to Fodderty after 89mins and 8.24 miles (13.26km). I’d expected a much more straightforward run but what I got was probably better preparation for an ultra.
Tomorrow I’ll limit myself to 5k ahead of Tuesday’s next long run: 18k and back up the big hill. It has to be done.
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