One of the benefits of Christmas is going to see family and to get out of the city for a while. And that means not running in the city! Any run that includes a prolonged period on Great Western Road is a joy killer. We left Glasgow on Christmas Eve and headed for Ardrishaig.

Ardrishaig is great for runs along the Crinan Canal where you can build up your distance or use the uninterrupted canal bank (provided the wind hasn’t blown over any trees) for interval and fartlek sessions.

It can get a bit boring though, which makes the the forestry trails and some of the national cycle route 78 all the more appealing. I’ve ventured up to these trails a couple of times before and been unsure of my bearings. This time I took my phone so I could check the GPS and general direction I was heading in. I managed to keep myself pretty sorted for my directions, which gave me a good 8 mile loop. My route involved a lot of climbing, although stopping to take photos and check where I was every now and again gave me a wee recovery period. The trail took me through forests and clearings and gave me great views over the loch and surrounding areas. No cars, hardly a soul to be seen and that feeling of having no real clue where you are is brilliant.

View over Ardrishaig

It was only when I was coming back that I took a tumble. The speed careering back down and the slippy underfoot path had me doing a great slide tackle. Thankfully my head missed any boulders!

So, my top tip would be, “Go exploring”. It’s great trying somewhere else, just be sure to check weather conditions before heading out, let someone know where you’re roughly going and estimated time back, and take your phone to check where you are on the map.

Just as I thought I was reaching the end of the trail and ready to join up with where I started, I hit a dead end so think wice before you copy my route below.