I used to think that the reason we live in Comrie -apart from the fact that when we were buying our first house we could only afford a shoebox in Edinburgh – was because Comrie is in such a great central location. It takes about an hour to reach Edinburgh or Glasgow to get our city fix – required a couple of times a year – and it’s only an hour and a half to the Cairngorms an less to the top of Glencoe, to get our mountain fix – required regularly.
Perhaps that used to be the case, but not so now. Comrie has a hold on me. Its amazing glens, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, trails and wildlife are stunning. These are the real reason we live here and are unlikely to ever leave. Because we can step out of our back door, not even need to cross a road, and be walking up our beautiful glen in minutes.
We have now lived in Comrie for 12 years, and have spent that time exploring the glens, hills and rivers in between. After both of our children were born I spent many hours walking on our local trails to maintain my fitness, first pushing our Mountain Buggy, then carrying a papoose, and eventually with a child in each… Some time ago now, I discovered a passion for hill-running. I have always been a hillwalker but it was not until arriving in Comrie that I had ever thought about trying to actually run up one. We can run up our local Munro, Ben Chonzie, from our back door and be back home within 3.5 hours. I have been running and exploring from my house for years and am still finding new routes; in fact I ran on new trails with two friends just this week. The possibilities are endless.
One of our favourite family activities is cycling, and Comrie is as great for cycling as it is for running. We often ride off-road to reach the bike trails at Comrie Croft, or head out along the cycle path to St Fillans. There are amazing wild routes over the hills where you wouldn’t imagine a bike could go, yet with a bit of local knowledge – gained from years of hill-running – possibilities become apparent. Comrie is literally on the edge of the Scottish Highlands and road-cycling opportunities are stunning. Leave the house and turn right and you are immediately into highland scenery straight out of a movie. Turn left and you encounter the gentler, but no less beautiful lowland terrain of Strathearn.
When the lochs start to warm up, and depending on how brave we are feeling, there is a group of us who go wild-swimming in Loch Earn, just 6 miles away. We generally manage to have our first swim in late April, and are sometimes still swimming in October, often with icicles hanging from our noses! My crazy daughter seems to have inherited a love for swimming outside. Any chance she gets she wants to strip off and jump into the river. One of her 8th birthday birthday wishes was to go wild swimming! We are very lucky. Including Loch Earn there must be at least 4 fantastic wild swimming spots around Comrie. There’s also one up Glen Artney where you can jump off high rocks into the water. The Strathearn Harriers -our local running club – have a New Year’s Day tradition, to run up to the Melville monument and then jump into the river at the “wee cauldron” afterwards. Instant hangover cure!!