When Lesley first suggested that we go up to Falkirk to watch Hannah Hobbs run in the Home International cross country, I thought she was mad. But then the idea grew on me and we worked out how we could manage it.
And it was well worth the drive and the overnight stays and coping with strange bathrooms.
The races took place on an all but perfect spring day. Far from wearing coats we could have done with suncream. And the venue - Callendar Park in Falkirk - was ideal. A good "undulating" course with just enough steep bits. (I don't know why cross country courses that aren't completely flat are always described as undulating. Sometimes, they're downright mountainous!)
Hannah kept with the leaders through the first lap and looked to be running strongly. The winner, from Ireland, was well clear, but behind her the English team was packing nicely. Coming to the finish Hannah had kept her position and pushed for the line in the style Pat Gallagher has always approved of. A fourth position at this level is not to be sneezed at and should have brought her to the attention of some important people.
Apart from the race, what did we do and learn?
Falkirk is an interesting town with the apparently world-famous Falkirk Wheel. This is a terrific piece of engineering designed to get boats from a low level canal to a much higher one. Absolutely extraordinary. I wouldn't say it was worth the journey on its own, but being up there it was unmissable.
Likewise the Kelpies. Massive stainless steel statues of horses heads rising out of water. Plenty of pictures on Google so take a look.
I also learned that the A1(M) is a road to be avoided at more or less all costs.