The Great Post Lockdown Walk

The Great Post Lockdown Walk

On Saturday, 22nd May, Tony and I joined business leaders from different industries all over the UK to walk at least 30k. The aim of #TheGreatPostWalkdownWalk was to raise money and awareness and to support emerging leadership talent through the new Ritrovo app (find out more at which will give people the opportunity to hear leadership stories and benefit from mentoring from across many industries.

My plan was to follow the Kintyre Way from Clachan to Tarbert with a couple of short diversions to make up the mileage. We had planned to do 26.2 miles as achieving that marathon distance would be a huge personal achievement- and to help highlight that you can always set audacious goals and achieve them.

Tony and I set off at 5.30am, and we were ready to set off from Clachan at 6am.

Although it was cold and very windy, the sun certainly made a big difference to my motivation! The sun was still low as we set off uphill and through woodland filled with bluebells.

Only a month ago, the underfoot conditions for this initial 10 mile section were good, but after some rain over the past two weeks, that had all changed. The ground was soft which was kind on the joints, but hard going at times as it was muddy, boggy and very wet. My feet were soaked before we reached the first mile marker!

The first milestone was reaching Loch Ciaran, which is stunning. This photo doesn’t do it justice, but it is one of my favourite spots. I thought about all of the Kierans and Kieras out there as we passed it:

Next up, we followed the rough rocky track uphill and down, meandering across country, but keeping an eye out for the sharp left turn that I know is easy to miss. We spotted it easily today however, as the marker was visible, having the heather trimmed back for the Kintyre Way Ultra a fortnight ago.

We continued climbing across heathland until we got to Lochan Fraoich, which is a really special spot, affording a first real glimpse back across to the Paps of Jura to the west, and also over to the Isle of Arran in the East. It shows the beauty of that spot when you can see both, and it was the perfect day for it.

Next up is a long, boggy section across open moorland where the wind was a challenge. The walking is quite hard going with a narrow path and very little dry ground at times, but that’s all part of the challenge. We met a man who was sitting on a hillock, where he’d been since 4.30am to watch the sunrise over Arran. It was also a joy to hear the cuckoos, and to see the sheep, and the deer.

Before we knew it, we’d reached the kissing gate and the small bridge that makes a return to heathland, all uphill for a while, but I knew it was worth the climb, as at the top we were rewarded with absolutely stunning views over to Arran.

The trail dips down along a rough track back to the main road, which took us past Claonaig ferry terminal, where the MV Catriona was just in:

We continued another two miles along the single track road, taking in the beautiful, rugged coastline which later revealed the golden beach as we approached Skipness.

We walked through the village, and passed the start of the next section of the Kintyre Way, to add on some extra mileage. We made our way along the road to Skipness Castle, passing some gorgeous wild garlic, with the scent heavy in the air.

We soon reached the stunning Skipness Castle which is a favourite spot for us. Nearby, there is Skipness smokehouse just behind it which sells amazing smoked salmon and mackerel, and Skipness Seafood Cabin is also there, but unfortunately isn’t yet reopened. If you are ever in Kintyre, it is absolutely worth a visit- I can highly recommend sitting outside in the sun with local scallops and a glass of white wine…

Anyway, we didn’t have time to explore the castle, or to climb up to its parapets to see the views to Arran, and instead we walked down to St Brendan’s Chapel to have a look at some of the ancient gravestones.

After having our sandwiches as we walked, we headed back into Skipness village to pick up the trail back to Tarbert. Be warned, the first mile out of Skipness is a long uphill climb and can be quite a challenge after the flat of the road into Skipness! I had forgotten quite how much of this section is on a rough track, with lots of water by the side of the trail, with tinkling waterfalls – I would loved to have dipped my feet into them after all of the walking!

As we reached the next section which is open fields, we sneaked a peak back to Arran as a reminder of how far we had already come:

The next section is a mix of heathland and open moorland, where the wind remained quite challenging. The underfoot conditions were nowhere near as bad as the first half, but it was very muddy in parts, especially on what should have been a grassy path.

Eventually we reached the forestry road, and I knew we were only about four miles from Tarbert. The good thing about this section is that the views of Loch Fyne get closer, and we could watch the fishing boats and the lochs out there. We could also see one of our favourite places to visit and stay, Portavadie Marina, and I could really do with an overnight stay and a spa day very soon!

Before we knew it, we had reached the cut off for Tarbert, which would take us down to the village. The sight of the Cairn was definitely cheering!

My legs were feeling really tired at this point, which was about 23 miles in and we took the descent down very carefully indeed. Tired legs plus steep sections is not a good combination! Anyway, we kept going, and finally reached our destination: Tarbert Castle. We didn’t stop to take many photos, but it’s a beautiful area to explore, with the castle, the surrounding areas of archeological significance and the amazing woodland walk filled with secret exhibits. To know more, you will have to visit!

As we descended into the village we still had a mile and a half to do, so we took a walk around the harbour just to reach our goal. The tide was out (the harbour always looks bonny with the tide in) and the thought of a sit down kept us going!

Our first stop was to celebrate: we finished our 26.2 miles right outside the Corner House pub! Woo hoo, we did it! And of course, we just had to celebrate with a beer, and it was our first visit to the Corner House since pubs were allowed to reopen a week or so ago. It was just what we needed to celebrate!

Our stats:

Distance: 26.38m

Elevation: 3,268ft

Time: 10h 17m 28s

And here is the route:

This was a wonderful experience, with participants all over the UK connecting and sharing their experiences across the weekend, sharing photos, motivation and celebratory pics when they were done! It formed a really positive group of professionals who truly embody the principles behind the project- working together, offering support and motivation, keeping each other moving forward. It was a pleasure and privilege to be part of the group!

When’s the next one? ☺️

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

My workouts this week were (almost) all reigned back in advance of the Great Post Lockdown Walk which we did on Saturday. Rather than takeover this with an outline of how that went, I’ll post separately later today.

This big headline from this past week was getting back to in person classes with Jacqui! Woo hoo!


I started off the week with a short harbour run, just to keep the legs moving. I still have my May Accumulator running, and as it’s the final Great Run online event I want to finish strong, before taking a week or so away from running.

We then had Fitness Pilates with hand weights online in the evening, and I was really glad I was able to join live.

Distance: 3m

Time: 31m 16s

Elevation: 115ft

Pace: 10.24/m


We had a post- work walk out to the West Loch, on what was a lovely evening.

Distance: 3.36m


I had a triple threat day! 🙌

I had time at lunch to get a run in, and I knew this might be my final run of the week, but I kept it short, with another venture to the West Loch.

Distance: 2.63m

Time: 30m 2s

Elevation: 180ft

Pace: 11.23/m

I was then really excited to get back to in-person classes with Jacqui. She had managed to secure the marquee at the harbour, and had two classes: a half hour Booty Blast class followed by an hour of Fitness Pilates. I had told myself that I’d take it easy and not overdo the class, but I can’t help myself and threw myself into both classes!🤷🏼‍♀️🤣


I did a short walk, just to keep the legs moving in advance of the longer walk. I was excited!


The big day…. 26.2 miles, woo hoo! More to follow on a separate post👌🏻

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

After the high point last week of the Kintyre Way Ultra, this week has been decidedly more quiet and significantly slower paced! I’m still working my way through the May Accumulator challenge, and everything is still on track for my next event, which is the Leadership Journey 26 mile walk next Saturday.


I wanted to get a recovery run done, to shake out my legs after Saturday’s escapade. I headed to the timber route and kept my pace slow, just enjoying the views and the beautiful smell of pine, rain and soil. Gorgeous!

Distance: 4m

Time: 46m 16s

Elevation: 420ft

Pace: 11.33/m

In the evening, I was able to join Jacqui’s Fitness Pilates, this week class was with prickle balls and was exactly what I needed to help with my post-race recovery. Loved it!


We went for an evening trail walk, to test out the new running poles which were delivered literally 20 minutes before the race on Saturday!🤣 I opted not to take them on Saturday, but wanted to get out to practice some technique. I think they’ll help with the 26 miles which is good news.

Only 2.88 miles, but 728ft of elevation.


A short evening run, after work. The weekend and a heavy couple of days were definitely taking their toll and I was tired for this one.

Distance: 3m

Time: 33m 24s

Elevation: 92ft

Pace: 11.07/m


A short lunchtime run, feeling a little fresher than I did the day before!

Distance: 3m

Time: 31m 54s

Elevation: 66ft

Pace: 10.36/m


I had originally planned another run, however My second covid vaccine was moved forward and so I headed out for a walk as soon as I’d had that taken care of. No photos, but 3.66 miles done, and no adverse effects from the second dose of vaccine thankfully!

This coming week I’ll still be keeping my training light, saving my energy and enthusiasm for next Saturday!🙌

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

I’m starting this week with a feeling of satisfaction and of achievement after Saturday’s Kintyre Way Ultra Relay in almost wintery weather: the word I heard over and over again to describe it was ‘brutal’ which is as accurate as you can get!

But before we get to that, here’s how the rest of the week shaped up.


The week started off incredibly wet and windy which was not the best for a bank holiday! I think that gave the Kintyre Way a good dose of watering which helped contribute to the underfoot conditions later in the week.

We had some running about to do, including a trip to Inveraray so I didn’t do much meaningful exercise. Just a couple of short walks.


A day in the office meant I packed my running gear in the off chance I could get out for a lunch run. I headed up the hill in lovely sunshine, though it was cold! I felt that the hill was a little easier than the last time I ran it so I was pleased about that.

Distance: 2.5m

Time: 30m 3s

Elevation: 289ft

Pace: 12.04/m


Another lunchtime run for me, I was trying to avoid the rain that was forecast for later in the day. In line with my plans, I kept the distance and time short and tried to keep my pace slow. The training is done, so the aim is to keep the legs and body moving without risking injury that comes with overtraining or last minute panicking.

Distance: 2.64m

Time: 30m 3s

Elevation: 325ft

Pace: 11.22/m


No pictures today, I did some active recovery walks across the day both at work and also after work. I managed a step tally of over 13,000 without too much trouble.


The day was bright and sunny, which no doubt fooled a lot into thinking we’d be treated to the same on race day! It was lovely to see the village busy up with visitors and there were plenty of runners around. I headed to the harbour just for a short shake out run, which was a pretty decent pace actually!

Distance: 3m

Time: 31m 56s

Elevation: 56ft

Pace: 10.27/m


The day arrived and with it the weather started off calm and dry. But we all knew what was coming! as we were running as a relay team, Alison, Deirdre and I had to meet and register together at Tayinloan from where Alison would get our relay underway. I was up next but not for a couple of hours.

As we arrived at Tayinloan the rain was just starting and the wind had most definitely made an appearance, it looked like we weren’t going to be blessed with the same weather as last year at all. After Deirdre and I saw Alison safely over the start line I headed home to get ready, with buff, gloves, waterproofs, long sleeved top and even my thermal running tights back out. Who would have thought I’d need those in May!

Tony drove me to the handover point in Clachan to meet Alison coming in. I was grateful for my dryrobe while I was waiting! When Alison arrived, describing her section as absolutely brutal, I just thought I’d better get my head down and get this done!

You might remember that we recce’d this part only a couple of weeks ago and the conditions underfoot were good, with only a few boggy spots. Well, that changed from the offset, with the wood trail section muddy right from the start. And that was the theme for the next couple of hours, with driving rain, big muddy or boggy underfoot conditions continuously and strong winds. Boy, was it cold! It made for hard going on the legs and on the mind!

As I emerged along the side of Loch Ciaran, I was struck by the water’s surface which had been glass like last time, but was very different today!

Next up was a trail section which is very well known to me, and is drier underfoot. At this point, at about 4 miles in, I just decided to enjoy every second of this. I met a lady who was dropping out but looked safe on her own as she was on her way to meet the medic.

As I made my way through the lovely heathland and around the lochs, there was no sign of the Isle of Jura behind me or of Arran before me- both were well and truly hidden by cloud cover today!

The next section I knew was going to be tough, as it was open moor across the highest part of this section. It is usually pretty windy and boggy and the day’s conditions just topped anything I’d experienced on this part before. The clouds dropped, visibility was poor and the rain turned to hailstones which were driven by the winds right into my face. The wind also meant that moving forward was pretty difficult! Looking back at my stats, though, I was moving at a pace over difficult terrain – lots of bogs and rocky outcrops with ankle twisting hillocks everywhere but I somehow managed 11 minute miles!

Finally I reached the kissing gate which I knew marked the uphill climb right before the descent to the road towards Claonaig. It was pretty energy sapping, but knowing that the downhill was coming helped boost the mood!

It was disappointing that the cloud cover was so intense that there wasn’t even a glimpse of Arran, but I just recalled the glorious views from a couple of weeks ago instead.

I was fortunate to only pass one vehicle on the road, and when I reached the turn off for Skipness it was with mixed feelings that I headed back off the road and uphill again. In previous years the route was continuous road to Skipness which I know is mentally tough and hard on the legs. So I tried to keep that in mind as I climbed once again up a steep-ish track and along an unfamiliar trail I’ve never run before. I could see a runner ahead and tried to keep her in my sights, which really helped with the motivation!

After another mile or so we were dipping back down and there we were, at the handover point where I wished Deirdre good luck and told her to just enjoy it.

The hills, mud, rain, wind, cold and hail were certainly challenging but I absolutely loved it!

I had parked my car in Skipness the night before, so walked to collect it, and after a pretty muddy shower I felt a bit more human again!

Before I knew it we were heading down to the finish line to cheer Deirdre over and to celebrate our achievement!

And, we managed to take over 12 minutes off our time from last year- woo hoo! In glorious sunshine (but wind) last year we ran it in 7h 40m 18s, this year even in that weather we achieved 7h 28m 2s🙌

Distance: 12.1m

Time: 2h 47m 52s

Elevation: 1,516ft

Pace: 13.53/m

I just loved it!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

Over the past week, I’ve wound down my running quite a bit. No, I haven’t exactly been tapering, not for 10 miles, but I have been trying to learn lessons from last experience, not taking small risks of injury and trying to avoid over training. I know only too well the temptation of getting in more- more distance, more speed, more hills. But at this late stage and with the KWU relay less than a week away the work is all done. And the best thing to do is to play safe, relax, trust your training and look forward to the big day!


I had already decided to run no further than 5k on any day over the next couple of weeks. So, to start the week, I took an early lunch break and made the most of that decision by doing a regular three miles around the harbour.

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 35s

Elevation: 49ft

Pace: 10.52/m


We had time for an evening stroll, again around the harbour. I did consider heading to a trail but we opted instead to just enjoy the views (and to fit in a visit to the shop!)

Distance: 3m


Mid week brought some wet weather with it, which was a change from the sun we’ve been used to! I did manage to avoid a deluge, and it made for big skies.

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 46s

Elevation: 46ft

Pace: 10.55/m


I spent the day in the office, and so had the opportunity at lunchtime to go for a trail walk, it was such a perfect day for it.

As I was walking and not running I started to climb up to Dun Mor, but stopped myself and turned back, realising that there was no point in taking a stupid risk with another scramble that I could easily enjoy another day!

Distance: 3.18m

Time: 58m 14s

Elevation: 364ft


On the last day of April I finished my April accumulator with run 16/16to the West Loch and back. Slow and steady, trying to keep the heart rate low.

Distance: 2.65m

Time: 30m 5s

Elevation: 95ft

Pace: 11.21/s


Today I started the last of the Great Run Solo Accumulators, and this challenge is to have 15 runs PLUS complete four weekly steps. This week’s step is ‘Back on Track’, to celebrate tracks reopening we were challenged to run a mile as fast as you can.

Now, taking into account that I have the Kintyre Way Ultra Relay this week I was obviously not going to push too hard and risk injury. Neither did I want to leave it until later in the week to complete it, so I headed to the harbour, where the walkway is fast and flat- it’s probably as close to a track as we’d get in the village!

I did a half mile warm up, a mile as fast as I could comfortably hold without being stupid and so I wasn’t pushing myself too much, followed by a half mile cool down.

Turns out that my mile pace was 9.30/m – I’m pretty happy with that!

Distance: 2m

Time: 20m 58s

Elevation: 46ft

Pace: 10.28/m

The plan for the rest of the week is to keep running, but keep the distances short and to keep making smart choices to avoid injury! I’m really looking forward to Saturday. The weather forecast isn’t too encouraging, but it’s a bit too far away to be sure of that.

This training cycle has been a lot of fun, helped along by the Great Run Solo challenges, so I’m not sure why I’m going to do and how I’ll stay on track with no future races booked and no online challenges. At least we have the Leadership Journey 26 mile walk at the end of May. More about that soon!

Have a good week, all.