Every year the St Andrews cross country team ventures to the Highlands for an end of term celebratory away trip. I am so incredibly fortunate that I got to be a part of this tradition, and it was wonderful to escape “The Bubble” for a weekend of adventures and quality companionship.

We stayed in the quaint hamlet of Newtonmore, which we ran around on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, early in the run I hit a bit of loose stones and rolled the ankle that I had injured las semester. Needless to say, that made the remainder of the run a bit uncomfortable. I was so embarrassed that I slowed everyone down, and I was ashamed that I could not simply tough it out and keep up with the group. Though everyone was patient and concerned, I strongly dislike people fussing over me.

However, my injury was not too severe as to keep me hostel-bound for the afternoon hike. We journeyed about an hour to the west according to Roger’s, the team’s resident Sacagawea, recommendation. Here we spent about three hours hiking up mountains and journeying to ruined forts. Once we reached the fort, we had a small picnic overlooking the pictured loch. Words cannot describe how peaceful it was, lunching with some really unique and friendly people in such a beautiful place. 

Saturday evening wound down with some delicious home cooked food, board games, and general chit-chat. The next morning we vacated the Newtonmore hostel and made our way back to St Andrews, stopping briefly in Pitlochry for a wee run. Unfortunately, my ankle was too weak to run with my usual group, so I stayed back with Ruth, the team captain, Rhiannon, who had kindly helped me with my earlier injury, and Roger, my fellow injury-prone runner, for a nice jaunt around the river that moseyed through the town. After a brief rest in the cafe with scones and tea, everyone made it back to St Andrews refreshed and ready to begin preparing for exams.

Though I had some minor misfortune, I still had a wonderful time on this trip. I am so thankful that I am part of a club brimming with just as much wanderlust as myself. I absolutely love my cross country team, and getting to spend some quality time with them without the stress of classes and deadlines was lovely. I think some of my favorite memories from this trip include our rousing round of Richard Gere (I still maintain that Cecil Beaton is a well-known historical figure), Roger’s compass and hand drawn map that took us five miles out of our way on Saturday’s run, and the baby sheep that joined us when we jaunted through the fields. Though I am excited to return home for the summer, it is bittersweet to think that I will have to spend three months without these people I have grown so close with. This weekend was truly a memorable one, and I am already looking forward to the next adventure.

Originally written 28 April 2013

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