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  • Johnnie

Sunset run on the beach in winter

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Woke to an absolutely stunning morning. Not a cloud in the sky. A slight easterly breeze. The bay was like a millpond again, except for the fact that the water was turquoise and the shoreline glistening white shell sand.

We just could not resist the opportunity to spend all day outside in the sunshine and so we postponed our other plans for the day and did just that. Lots of lapwings today in larger numbers than usual. Also saw redshank, curlew, grey heron sitting on the rocks enjoying the sun, starlings, knot, corn bunting, two great northern divers (also known as "loons"), oystercatchers and ringed plover.

The Atlantic Ocean was flat calm again and the only sounds were of birds calling, cows occasionally moo'ing and the gentle lapping of the waves breaking on the shore. St Kilda was visible all day again and the cliffs of Hirta especially prominant at times with the angle of the light. At sunset, St Kilda looked wonderful with the pink and orange sky behind it.

Set off on a 5km run along the beach shortly before sunset. The absolutely perfect running terrain around low tide on the firm flat sand never ceases to amaze me. For students of running technique (like me) the footprints on the sand give the best feedback about your technique, as recommended by superstar running coach and author of "Chi Running" Danny Dreyer. The sand is so perfect that only the tread part of the shoe sole imprints on the sand. According to Danny, if a runners technique is good then all parts of the footprint penetrate the sand by exactly the same amount leaving a perfect print of the tread. I was pleased with my footprints today and I always improve my running form a little more whenever I am here.

I have never met Danny Dreyer and yet I owe him so much. His books taught me how to run for miles without ever getting injured. I chanced upon his book and started running for the first time in 2007. I was well into my 40's and I started with a 2 minute run twice a week and built up from there. I can honestly say that I have never had an injury or even an aching muscle from running to date. Dan's the man.

For me, there is nowhere on earth that I have enjoyed running more than Balranald in North Uist. That which the Chinese call "Chi", the invisible, unmeasurable, life giving energy force that unites body, mind and spirit is always here in abundance.


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