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Kyles Ten Miles - the runner's view

Kyles Ten Miles - the runner's view
Andrew Almond lives and works in London. He visited Argyll’s Secret Coast for the first time to run the Kyles Ten Miles. He tells us about the run and the other highlights of his trip.

It took a spirited group of enthusiastic but naive Londoners nine hours to reach Argyll’s Secret Coast in anticipation of the start of the fifth annual Kyles 10 Miles run. Nine hours is a long time. To put that into some kind of perspective, in nine hours you could fly to Nepal or watch Titanic three times (we chose not to).

Having signed up to the run in early July with the every intention of fulfilling a detailed “training schedule” - which never materialised thanks to a combination of weak will, summer holidays and excessive workloads - we nonetheless arrived in Tighnabruaich on Friday evening in high spirits.

Starting bang on the 1200, over 100 runners, of all ages and abilities, embarked on what is perhaps that most scenic and breathtaking runs in the UK. This was so much more than your standard road race, as participants were able to drink in the stunning views as we ran around Ardlamont Peninsula.

A special mention should go to race winner Broc Drury who completed the race in an extraordinary one hour and also to all of those non-runners who facilitated the event and ensured that everything proceeded as smoothly as it did.

Following the run, and a brief doze, we made our way to the ceilidh that was being hosted at the Kames Hall. Complete with live band, excellent buffet and a terrifying group of over-zealous shinty girls, the ceilidh brought down the curtain on a triumphant day for the local community of Tighnabruaich and the wider area.

One of the primary aims of the Kyles 10 Miles is to attract visitors to Argyll’s Secret Coast and more generally raise awareness of what the area has to offer. Over the four days of our visit, we were lucky enough to genuinely acquaint ourselves with the wider community, in addition to taking part in the Kyles run. Specific highlights included, but are not limited to,:
• A boat ride around the Burnt Islands and back along the Bute shore in The Morag courtesy of Donald Clark
• A delightful meal in the Lodge at Portavadie, Loch Fyne.
• Sampling the delights of a mid-morning scone before our departure in The Barn in Millhouse.
• Innumerable local visits to Duncan’s Village Store, where we were treated to impeccable service and access to a veritable smorgasbord of locally produced goods.

Participating in the Kyles run didn’t just highlight the inimitable beauty of Argyll’s Secret Coast, it sold all those that visited from afar a whole new way of life. It’s a way of life where people walk into the Kames Hotel and recognise everyone on both sides of the bar; a way of life in which visitors are not looked upon with cynicism and suspicion, but greeted with warmth and hospitality. And it’s a way of life that couldn’t be farther removed from the rat race that my fellow Londoners and I find ourselves in.

I for one will be back next year, if not before, and next time I cannot promise that I will leave.

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