Neil Featherby: A bit of blue sky(e) thinking on holiday in Scotland

Steph Jones Neil Featherby Isle of Skye

Steph Jones chasing Neil Featherby around the scenic and undulating trails on the Isle of Skye. - Credit: Neil Featherby

A breath of fresh air certainly does you good, just as I found out during my recent 10 days away travelling (and running) through Scotland. 

Our holiday began with a day on the border in Berwick Upon Tweed with a run on the beach to mark my 41 years of having ran at least once every single day during that time as mentioned in my column last week. 

However, we then travelled from one side of the country to the other for a couple of days in Oban before then heading further north via Fort William to the Isle of Skye. 

 After what had been a stifling few days in Norfolk, the air in Scotland really was so much more cleaner and fresher. We even saw heavy rain which I have to say was lovely when out in it. 

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What with being asthmatic my breathing was so much better. I even joked to friends back home saying I could read the dials on my watch what with my eyesight these days being pretty rubbish too.  

Whilst running along the beaches and trails of Berwick and Oban were fantastic, my favourite runs were on the Isle of Skye where I found this awesome trail which had twists and turns with lots of climbs through the pine forests before opening up to some superb views across the island and to the mainland. 

I said to Steph who was puffing and panting chasing me around the trail that I only wish I’d have discovered such a place for training 30 years ago whilst also trying to convince her that it was all good for her London Marathon training. 

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Steph also wanted to visit a particular waterfall which ran down from a mountain at the top end of the island, but when we arrived after an amazing journey what with the scenery and rugged terrain, the parking up area was heaving with so many people already walking up and down the long trail.  

“You can do it with your mum and dad (who were also with us) while I stay with the huskies,” I said.  

“What about if me and you run it?” Steph replied. 

That was a deal done as far as I was concerned and whilst the hundreds of people of all nationalities were looking at us especially me the old guy as though we were mad, I absolutely loved it.  

“Where are you going?” Steph shouted when we got to the top of the waterfall as I didn’t want to stop. However, back down we ran which was equally as good especially when jumping over the rocks and boulders before the long climb back up to the car park. 

The last couple of days in Scotland were spent with long time great friends Hammy and Jane Cox who I have been visiting in Inverkip for over 30 years where I will never get fed up running around the hills and down by the waterside close to their home. Hammy was, in his day, a Scotland and GB international athlete with a marathon PB of 2 hours 16 mins. 

Anyway – and to the point, after posting my column last week on Run Anglia, one of the comments asked me if there were ever times during my 41-year unbroken running streak when I didn’t want to go out and run.  

My answer to that was – yes, several times. In fact, lots of times going right back to when I was at my peak. Even my huskies don’t always want to run and whilst they are also not the running machines, they used to be; their inherent nature still tells them to do it.  

Nevertheless, be it for them or me, our time away in Scotland really was just like a breath of fresh air.