Devil’s Burden 2014: view from the Vets
A team of the sick, lame and aged was eventually gathered together and we managed to get to the race and return with a fairly (or is that barely) creditable 75th out of 111 teams; beating the Cosmics Old Wifies by 6 places!
My day started at 5:00am trying not to wake the sleeping other inhabitant then a quick bowl of porridge, couple of pieces of toast then on with running base layers and off to Stonehaven over the Slug Road to reach Gary and Hannah’s far too early. I was able to spend some time there inspecting the rogues’ gallery that they have on their walls instead of wallpaper. Far more interesting.
New boy Paul arrived and we all piled into Gary’s Audi A4 estate for our trip to the Lomonds of Fife. By the time we reached the “Falklands” it was light and we were able to view the ancient houses on our joint jog with first man Bob to the delightful duck pond where 111 teams were huddled at the start. Then it was jog back to the registration and into the vehicles to transport our second leg runners, Gary and Colin to Strathmiglo where the Leg 2 changeover was in a muddy field of forlorn kale. Bob, fresh from racing round Singapore, came in a creditable 50th. From then on it was downhill (or uphill) all the way..
In the absence of Gary, who was battling against headwinds, hail and snow on Leg 2, the car was piloted by Paul who had only ever driven automatics. We made it to Kinesswood or so we thought. We waited at a churchyard graveyard which was strangely quiet as graveyards go but this turned out to be the changeover parking from several years ago! Fortunately our mistake was recoverable and we made it to the Primary School in time to meet Gary and Colin slithering down the slimy slopes of Bishop’s Hill.
Automatic Paul then bounded up said slimy slopes and the team car set off for Holl Reservoir; the Leg 4 handover. In the meantime the temperature had risen and the wind had eased. Rod, covered in several layers of warm and waterproof clothing, was surprised to see Paul hoving into sight. Rather than spend 10 minutes disrobing his Antarctic gear he set off after Richard who was more lightly clad in baggy shorts and top and looked as though he were out for a stroll. Richard was kind enough to occasionally look round then find a sheltered spot to wait for me. The biting wind on East Lomond was enough to penetrate Rod’s outer layers but not his inner ones and he finished the race several pounds lighter and slightly dehydrated. Soon the shining rooftops of Falkland were in sight as we cruised down to the finish past the old linoleum factory and on to a triumphant feast of soup, rolls, and cakes.
Richard and I found ourselves a couple of chairs in the kitchen and settled down in a handy spot next to the tea, soup and rolls to wait for the others. But they never turned up. They were in the next room! As was everybody else. After joining them for some jolly reminiscing we wrung out our sodden clothes and threw them into the cars and set off for the trip back north. I believe that the Fast Boys did quite well also.

I do hope that this article encourages our members to venture further and faster, higher and higher.
Rod Campbell – Vintage Person