Erskine Bridge Cross, 28 April 2001

A report from the Westerlands CCC website, possibly by Dave Calder, re-posted here for posterity. I think this was my first "long run" (apart from crazily running the Canterbury Marathon as a 16-year old schoolboy!) after starting to do a bit of fell running in 2000.

Five hardy souls braved balmy sunshine and a gentle breeze on Saturday April 28th to tackle the Erskine Bridge Cross, an annual Christian Aid charity event. The course was similar in many respects to Manny’s notorious 12-Trig Trog, apart from the heather and the peat… and the mud, bogs, forestry and hills. Er – and the bracken and gorse and burns and grass.

In fact it was a 3-hour trudge across the Erskine Bridge and back, and back again, and back agai… you get the picture. The idea was to complete as many 1.25 mile crossings as possible within the 3 hours (although the somewhat lenient time-keeping allowed Crispin to collect his final stamp after 3 hours and 10 minutes!).

Despite the lack of imagination involved in the course design, the event was made interesting by the support and smart-arsed comments from the throngs of walkers – several hundred in all, and by the guy with the microphone reminding the assembled multitude that a world-record holder was in their midst every time Charlie lumbered past.

The views from the top of the bridge were surprisingly lovely, the water glistening hundreds of feet below in the sun. Wonderful air-clarity allowed occasional glimpses as far west as Nova Scotia, and to the east one could almost see Bishopriggs.

Apart from pit-stops (Crispin with his bowels and Charlie with his hair), all five ran strongly for the full three hours, except Archie who stuck to his word and pulled up after two hours and spent the last hour frightening small children and completing a couple of crossings at a pace befitting a man of his advanced years. The deceptive hill that had to be tackled in both directions was a real bugger, and all five Westies reported a marked slackening in pace in the last hour as the heat, the unrelenting pounding of the road and the cruel absence of the promised cakes took their toll.

Final tallies were as follows:

Damon 20 crossings 25 miles

Crispin 20 crossings 25 miles

Charlie 18 crossings 22.5 miles

John D 16 crossings 20 miles

Archie 14 crossings 17.5 miles

Dave Calder bottled out, recording a humiliating zero crossings and zero miles, then hastily decided that the event would not, after all, count in the Winter League