On the 4th October Charlotte and her support runners, Stephen Magee and Rob Flett started at 9am. Their first challenge was to find the source. With a grid reference on a GPS the trio dodged adders, cattle and barbed wire to determine the real source of the Water of Leith from hundreds of small springs upwelling from the side of Meolawther Hill. After drinking the water (rumoured to give you the gift of eternal youth) our intrepid runners started in earnest to follow the river downstream. The first 15 miles was hard going. Without a path the river flows through peat bog and agricultural fields. The only other human they met for 5 hours was Helen (Trust Manager), who greeted them with a support vehicle stuffed with energy-giving treats. The ground was exceptionally wet and the river was high due to persistent rain the day before. It was slow going as the terrain was rough. Rob kept getting distracted by Edinburgh Water Board Inspection hatches, Charlotte thought her days were numbered when she mistook her tail for an adder and Stephen sat in a gorse bush and got a shock from an electric fence. Perhaps the most hazardous moment is when they ran through a shooting party who must have thought they were hunt saboteurs – given Charlotte’s tail, ears and face paint.
Unperturbed they made it to Balerno by 2pm where they were greeted by a very chirpy Martin Lyall in the Mill Café brandishing a birthday cake for Stephen, which they inhaled. The second half was over much easier ground and their speed picked up. Cargo bike King (AKA Johnny Wells) escorted them along the next 5 miles between Balerno – Slateford. By this point their legs were tired and ready salted crisps and espresso energy gel was the only thing the stood between them and crippling cramp.
The sun came out and Charlotte was jollied along by intrigued children telling their parents that a lady Otter (or cat) wanted to get past. The second half only took 2 hours and they crossed the finish line in Leith at 4.45pm. To our knowledge, no other runners have attempted this run so they set the current record of running the Water of Leith river with a moving time of 7 hours 15 minutes (Not including the breaks where they scoffed lots of treats).
We would like to thank the 182 supporters who donated to the Just Giving Page and the dozens who handed in cash or cheques. We have raised over £6k. Vital funds for the river, so needed by the Edinburgh community in these troubling times. The Just Giving Page is still live for a few days if you would like to support her efforts.