Stay in touch

Spotting deer and squirrels in Reelig Glen

Three days to the Three Mealls Trail Race. But for today, running up Reelig Glen. I am not even trail running for 5 minutes, when I stop abruptly. There, in the bushes on my right, a loud rustling. I stare and see a deer turning and running away from me. One, two, three jumps then it stands still and big, brown eyes look at me. I hold my breath and look back.

For a couple of minutes we stand in a deadlock. Observing each other. Me with a smile on my face. I don’t think I can say that for her. Then I turn around, walk a couple of meters slowly away, to make clear I don’t mean any harm. If I can’t see her anymore between the trees I start running again. Towards Achnagairn Castle, on the outskirts of Kirkhill.

Reelig Glen

Running up Reelig Glen, outside of Kirkhill, ScotlandI pass the castle and follow my way to Reelig Glen, my goal for today. The idea is to do a slow run, with some altitude, but before I know it, I go too fast. The forest is just too beautiful to pay attention to my heart rate.

The path starts out wide, with gravel, and here and there some uneven and muddy sections. Around me are cedars, spruces and Douglas Fir trees that are well over 100 years old, with some of them 50 meters high. When I pass under them, they hide the light and it feels like I’m running before sunrise, but as soon as I’m getting higher up the hill, the light gets through, and I feel the early morning sun on my shoulders.

Drop-offs

The track keeps changing from muddy to hard, and from easy sloping to steep, with some serious drop-offs.

When I reach the top, I find a new path to take me down, where I get a good view of the gorge that has been cut by the rushing waters of the Moniack. This land belonged to the Fraser family until the Forestry Commission bought it in 1949. Most of the trees that are standing here now, were planted by James Baillie Fraser (1783-1856).

It’s a mission Sara and I gave ourselves for the land we’ve bought around our house. It’s nothing compared in size to Reelig Glen, but if we can plant a couple of trees that are this beautiful, it would make us very happy. It’s not for nothing that the locals nicknamed this Glen Fairy Glen.

Old stone bridge

Old stone bridge over the Moniack, ScotlandWhen I’m back at the parking lot where I started, I turn around and find another path up. This one leads me over an old stone bridge, totally covered with green moss.

I pass it and find a way down, back to the Moniack, where the path ends. That is to say, on this side of the river, because I see it continuing on the other side. As the river is not more than a little stream here, with some stepping stones, I carefully cross it and continue my descent on the other side. There my path is crossed by two red squirrels chasing each other. When they see me, they run up the tree in unison.

I stop, stare at them and smile. One deer, two squirrels, three hundred meters of altitude. Not bad for a start of the day.

Related Columns

Sign up for more Training Tips & Tricks

Newsletter signup

Please wait..

Yeah, you signed up! Now, you'll get the best training tips and greatest gear reviews straight in your inbox. The only thing you have to do yourself, is keep on running.

Latest posts

Resting my legs before Grand Trail du Saint-Jacques

We’re in Le Puy-en-Velay, France. Two days, 14 hours and 22 minutes from now, I’ll run Grand Trail du Saint-Jacques.

Anguita and Sperger win Bluetrail Tenerife 2024

Eva Maria Sperger (Germany) and Manuel Anguita (Spain) have won the 110 kilometres (6.250m+) Bluetrail Tenerife 2024.

Cat Simpson and Dan Lawson win South Downs Way 2024

Cat Simpson and Dan Lawson have won the South Downs Way 2024, part of the Gran Canaria World Trail Majors.

Arsénio wins Swiss Canyon Trail 2024 in new record

Marianne Hogan and Miguel Arsenio have won the Swiss Canyon Trail 2024. Arsenio did that by breaking the course record.

South Downs, Swiss Canyon, Blue Trail; a packed weekend

South Downs Way 100, Swiss Canyon Trail, UTMB Blue Trail; June 7-9 2024 is a packed trail and ultra run weekend.

The countdown for Grand Trail du Saint Jacques has started

Nine days until I will run the Grand Trail du Saint Jacques; 80 kilometres, 3.200m+. The countdown has started.
Training