Open5 – Opening Round
I’ve been planning to compete in as many of this year’s Haglofs Open5 events as possible or practical. The first of the events was last weekend, 4th November, and was held in the Pentland Hills just south of Edinburgh.
I’d never visited the Pentlands, hardly knew they existed beyond the inevitable drive-by sighting of the Dry Ski Slope from the Edinburgh By-Pass at 70mph. Early research with the OS map didn’t reveal much more than a small group of gently rolling hills with obvious tourist centers scattered around its edges. So with a hotel booked for the Saturday night in Penicuik, another drive-by-knowledge-only name, I planned to get there early and do some “recce”.
This is November and by the time I get there, the drive from Newcastle to Edinburgh is always much longer that anyone ever expects, it was already getting dark. Rather than finding the hotel I drove to the venue a few miles further on, parked the car and went for a walk. I wasn’t really looking for any of the control points but I wasn’t surprised to find one at the top of the nearest and most obvious hill from the car-park. The climb up to this vantage point was pretty muddy and steep – food for thought for tomorrow. The views in the orange and golden glow of the sunset – both north over towards Edinburgh Castle and to the south over the Pentlands themselves – were quite stunning. Everything augured well for a cold fine start to tomorrow.
The hotel is back the way I came and it’s a chance to time the return drive for tomorrow morning. The hotel itself is busy with a wedding party of some sort but everyone’s friendly and the food turns out to be pretty good. According to the manager there’s someone else staying who’s competing too.
Up early for breakfast, porridge, what else? this is Scotland.