▨ Jamie McHale

Trail Running Scotland Skills

An intro to trail skills in the Pentlands · March 2022
Running in the Pentlands

This weekend I joined a friend and six others on Trail Running Scotland’s “Trail Skills” course in the Pentlands, based out of Bonaly Country Park.

Over two days we learnt about navigation, equipment, warm-ups, conditioning, and on-trail skills. I want to level up my trail running, it’s something I enjoy doing, but I am often cautious when descending or on difficult terrain.

Gordon running in the woods

On Saturday we practiced warm up skills, then in the afternoon practiced navigation around the Park. The runs were fairly short, and were used to illustrate the various points we were being taught. The skills aren’t overly-complicated - but worth exploring in-person with experts. Seeing form practiced in-person is much better than on videos.

Learning descending
The team putting descending into practice on a steep hill

On Sunday we did further warm ups, learnt how to descend steep hills and then practiced footing and scanning ahead. In the afternoon we planned a 8km route through the Pentlands and ran it together as a team.

Overall it was a very enjoyable weekend. The weather was great and it was fun to be out with people sharing the same interests. It’s also good to carve out the time thinking about practice, rather than simply running and hoping to get better.

The exercise-load throughout the weekend wasn’t too heavy. It was an introductary skills programme, not a fitness class. It was pitched as “can you run a ParkRun”, and this seemed accurate.

If you are looking for a fun weekend then I’d recommend checking out their courses in the Pentlands and Aviemore.

Group running in the Pentlands
Group navigation in the Pentlands
Running downhill
Holding a map
A view over Edinburgh