Montrose parkrun is cancelled on 2021-05-08 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Broomfield Browsings 6, by Denis Rice

Since last year, you've had a merciful break from these chunterings. I hope your patience won't be tried too far by this resumption for 2021.

You lovely Montrose parkrunners are never far from my mind. Last week, on my daily walk, battling against wintry north east gales, I found a new sympathy for you. I had a vivid sense of a winter Saturday morning, when you're turning north into the prevailing wind, on that long concrete stretch from the first marshal station.

But, not withstanding winter, gales and, even, a drop of Bryony rain, wouldn't we all sprint at the chance, this February Saturday, to be getting together again, to re-start parkrun? Covid has taken almost a year, but now there's the gentlest glimmer of hope that it won't inflict two years of (not)parkrun on us.

Optimism for the future can be boosted by being thankful for what we have in the present. It's cheering to see how many folk have kept morale and motivation going by running and walking a regular (not)parkrun 5k. Some still use the familiar Broomfield route on occasions. It's good to have reassurance that the course survives, more or less intact, not built-upon, nor yet overwhelmed by the North Sea.

This week a Rosehill Road neighbour couldn't wait to tell me he's completed 89 (not)parkruns since Lockdown. That number may well have been exceeded by another couple of parkrun friends, who often call at my door (to check I'm still alive). And nephew, Jeremy, proudly used the website to post his (not)parkrun century from the Cayman Islands. Montrose is surely a unique parkrun location, with such a committed participant, staying in touch, from thousands of miles away. Jeremy's (not)100 stirs my sympathy for parkrunners, who, since Lockdown, are poised at 99, patiently awaiting their "real" 100.

Curlie box-set
Always, I remain grateful for Broomfield and the Links at my front door. The regular walk perks up flagging morale. Until the most recent winter blast, it has been a mile a day. Through the snow, on two sticks instead of one, half a mile was enough. With the thaw, what blessed relief to see and feel the grass underfoot again.

The Curlie pond is like a daily box-set. As we've hurtled through January, into February, every day, if not quite a drama, presents something to report. Early on, the swan couple flew in, only for reconnaissance, I thought. But they've stayed, which promises another clutch of cygnets for May. The mallard ducks have become progressively noisier and are starting to pair off already.

Even seagulls can have a problem child. One of last year's young has never left the Curlie, and continues to stalk the adults with its pathetic bleating. Last summer, the mother of that youngster was fierce in its defence, warning me off more than once. Now, months on, she can't wait to be rid of the brat.

Then there's the great Curlie mystery. Neatly-dug holes began to appear on the banks of the pond, the turf precisely cut. There were nearly twenty on the east bank and a few on the west. No activity was spotted, and Parks and Gardens were not responsible. A family enquiry on Montrose Memories produced answers, some interesting, some crazy or witty. The evidence is still there for you to see. With no conclusive verdict, the best explanation was the work of a metal detectorist. Certainly not moles in the holes.

Lockdown use of the Curlie playpark has increased the litter problem. My daily pick up of rubbish had an amusing sequel. Unknown to me, Facebook had a protest about this poor “elderly man” having to pick up younger folk's careless litter. I suspect that when parkrun resumes, our expert litter-pickers, who always did a good job, will need a spring clean of the route.

One large piece of litter, discarded, inevitably, in the pond, was an Aldi shopping trolley. Rescued by my nephew, it sheltered in my front garden for a couple of nights. Finding a phone number to arrange its collection by the store proved fruitless. Eventually, a friend (an occasional parkruuner) transported it in his car.

Local film
Parkrunner, Anthony Baxter, is my nephew who retrieved the Aldi trolley, Scavenging in the Curlie isn't his day-job - he's a film-maker. This month, his film about landscape artist, James Morrison, will be premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival, before screening on the BBC.

Until his death last year, James was a resident of Montrose. His paintings are known throughout the world, not least those of Angus and the Mearns. Many's the Saturday morning at parkrun, we marvel at the lovely light and shade of the ever-changing skies which are a feature of James Morrison's work. You'll enjoy Eye of the Storm, which will be available on from 28 February.



Broomfield Browsings 5

Virtual Party 

When the letter of 2 September came, one of the first things I thought was, “What a great party I can give to Montrose parkrunners.” The letter? It told me I’d won £900,000 in a Postcode Lottery. My scam sniffer kicked in. I knew the win was virtual and, sadly, so would the parkrun party be virtual. Tough, but you have to be a wee bit sceptical when you haven’t even bought a ticket.

Persistent scammers though: a month later, an identical letter, dated 9 October, again announced £900K winnings for me. And again I’m warned, “….this information must be kept away from public.” Well, I’ve told you guys.

Not parkrun

And if I’m sorry about no party, I’m even sorrier there’s no sign of parkrun bursting into new life through the Lockdown gloom. Thanks to our Run Director, Bryony, I’ve read the London HQ’s pages of possible protocols for restarting parkrun. I admire their wisdom and thoroughness but my morale wasn’t greatly boosted. I told Bryony, the document,with a few words changed, could have been written in the Vatican.

So what keeps me going? More than anything, it’s the many reports I get of all that you are doing to keep in trim and hold spirits high. The Triathletes are sighted, training hard at Broomfield. In town and country, Flyers and Solos are in full swing – even in the dark,with the hour changed. And I’ve picked up rumours about rather cruel homework being dished out to participants. Deprived of the real thing in London, Bryony did her own homework and completed her marathon locally.

Other individual successes are regularly recorded in the not parkrun timings. I receive these weekly, via the Cayman Islands. That gives you a feel for the far-reaching influence and appeal of the Montrose parkrun family. Locked away from Montrose this year in Cayman, nephew, Jeremy, tells me he’s notched up over forty not parkruns.

Many family and friends, who still run or walk the Broomfield parkrun route, speak of the pleasure it continues to offer through the changing seasons. It recovered reasonably quickly from the encampments of some weeks. There have been warm comments about the grave of little Charlie, one of our parkrun’s beloved mascot dogs.

Beloved Links 

Of course, it’s perfectly accurate, not fanciful, to regard Broomfield as part of our Links. And it’s the beloved Links of my native place which also keeps me going in the languish of Lockdown. Now, in November, the colours and scents of spring and summer may have gone into hibernation, but there’s still much to appreciate on my daily exercise. On benevolent days, my longest walk is not 5K, but just over a mile. The usual,shorter route, in threatening weather, is round the Curlie.

Ever fascinating, at this time of year, are the whin bushes. Compared with their extravagant brilliance in spring, they are dark and colourless. But no, not all. Suddenly, and, it seems, out of nowhere, you spot a burst of golden yellow on an isolated bush. And so, somewhere there will be whin flower throughout the winter. I’ll be disappointed if you don’t get one of these sightings on the parkrun bushes.

And the wild flowers? Thoughmost have gone,there’s a second wave – no not Covid-19 – that I’ve never noticed before. Both Dandelions and Daisies have had a second bloom, nestled much lower in the grass.

Mushroom remembrance 

On the Links, the fungi have recently come into their seasonal own – plenty of toadstools and puff balls. But, so far, not one of my favourite edible mushrooms. I picked up a good crop of these, walking the route, in parkrun’s first year. Mushroom and memory – have you ever reflected on the one reason you remember someone? From boyhood, I will never forget the man who taught me how to identify edible mushrooms of the Links. He’s long dead, and I knew little about him. I wonder, sometimes, if anyone else recalls him with such gratitude?

Eighty years on, I know I shall remember with gratitude, the fine souls I would never have met, but for parkrun.

Trumped-up party 

There’s a terrifying rumour going round that if Donald Trump loses the presidential election he’s coming to settle in Scotland. Well, let’s cash in early and get him to finance a £900K party for Montrose parkrun – before the Tax man catches up with him.



Broomfield Browsing’s 4

Hello parkrunners, we know you enjoy reading Denis's browsing, so here is his latest edition

The Route

It’s good to report that in Lockdown, our unique parkrun route is intact. It hasn’t been obliterated by ambitious developers, nor inundated by North Sea erosion, nor totally blocked off by travelling folk. The Run Directors and many of you are keeping a regular watch, and recording your (not)parkrun times. In the last few weeks I’ve had welcome, personal visitors from Stroud, Market Harborough and Sheffield. All of them parkrunners, they were frustrated that, on this visit, they couldn’t join in our regular Saturday gatherings. Additional frustration for son, Dominic, is that he can’t boast his (not)parkruns on the Montrose web-site – his resident route is in Sheffield. He’s irked that cousin, Jeremy, resident in far-away Cayman, had the sense to register with Montrose parkrun and has clocked up twenty notruns.

The Links

Over the fence from parkrun, my daily exercise continues on the Links. Now that golfers are back in full-swing, I’ve to respect their rights – and to be alert for their (mis)guided missiles overhead. But there’s no end to the enjoyment of the Links fauna and flora. Sometimes when I’m walking, the skills of the Spitfire pilots are recalled by the aerobatics of the low-flying swallows. They swoop and turn, close and around me, snatching a meal of the insects disturbed from the grass by my steps. Now and again, I’ve seen and heard larks. Alas,they seem much fewer than in former years. I’m missing grasshoppers too. In childhood they were seen and heard all over the Links. This year I’ve not met one.

My working life was almost all in Adult and Continuing Education. I can’t forget the octogenarian in one of my classes robustly debating capital punishment against her classmates – policemen and Tories. So I’m happy that the Links continues my learning about wild flowers which began, eighty years ago, in the Wee Academy. I’ve come across three specimens I couldn’t identify and had to consult the books. They are Tormentil withits bright,yellow, four-petals; HerbRobert, of pink flower and variegated leaves; and, also pink, Cross-Leaved Heath or Bog Heather. But it’s been good seeing old friends again: the delicate wee blue of Hare Bell is in profusion; and occasional Honeysuckle is clambering the flowerless whin bushes to grace them with colour and seductive perfume.

parkrun Dogs

Montrose parkrun is blessed with a number of participant dogs, of various shapes and sizes (a bit like their owners?). At the risk of a savage mauling by pets and owners I would nominate three special mascots from our first three years. They are: majestic greyhound, Loki Walker; enthusiastic Border Terrier, Lola Kinghorn; and lovable wee Yorkie,Charlie Scott. Unhappily, I’ve just received news of the death of Charlie – Andy Scott’s dear little companion, just short of twelve years. When, and if, parekrun resumes, he will be greatly missed padding around at the start and finish. Wendy Arthur tells me that Charlie did manage to complete parkrun a couple of times on his short legs. Understandably, he hitched a lift part of the way on the 2nd birthday run. Andy is hoping to provide a memorial which will mark his pet’s link with parkrun in some useful way.

Dark Secret

In Montrose, the biggest memorial to a dog is, at the harbour, for the celebrated Norwegian St Bernard, Bamse. Linked with that canine hero, I revealed a dark family secret the other day. Relieved, by having my first Lockdown haircut, under the mask, my tongue was loosened in the George Street barber’s chair. Bamse came up in the chat and I mumbled, “My dad had to put Bamse down, on the quayside.” There was a stunned silence and the scissors stopped clicking over both customers. I explained quickly that the dog had been ill. To lighten the mood, I said there was rumour recently of a Bamse film, and I was going to audition to play the role of my father, the Vet.


Talking of films, one of Montrose’s parkrunners is much in the news these days. He is Anthony Baxter, director of “You’ve Been Trumped Too” which has just been released on both sides of the Atlantic. What makes the release special is that the film was made to go out before the USA 2016 election which made Trump the President. but legal and insurance threats got in the way. It’s now showing in time to be seen before this year’s presidential vote. It demonstrates Trump’s treatment of people who get in his way – like 92 year old Molly Forbes and her son and neighbours in Aberdeenshire. Anthony’s film can be viewed on iTunes, where it has topped the download chart. You’ve probably overtaken Anthony on parkrun – tall, bald, good-looking, but not as fit or fast as you. In 2011, he rumbled Trump in Scotland long before most of us, with his first film, “You’ve Been Trumped”. I take pride and joy in Anthony, if not in his parkrun PB – he’s my late sister’s son. These days, with virus, and poisoned politics, you’re allowed a wee bit of pride and joy.



Broomfield Browsings 3

Sharp-eyed Montrose parkrunners- which means most of you- spotted a happy little misprint in Browsings 2. After a chilly, childhood North Sea dook, my Mum gave me a chitterybite, not a chatterybite. However, the wrong word nicely pictures a shivering laddie trying to speak.

I've had a welcome boost for the geriatric memory. I was sure that, somewhere, I had a photo of the pre-war café which would have been an asset for our après parkrun coffee. Alleluia, I found it. It appeared, 27 years ago, in Gable Ender, the weekly column I wrote for the Montrose Review, when it really was a local newspaper. Called Half Way House, the café was run by the Canale family. The wee lass, with feet just touching the ground, still lives in town. Two Review readers, in October 1993, told me that the café was close to the 12th tee of the Medal course- so handy for parkrun. It was a bit too handy for golfers, retiring for refreshment and causing irritation by holding up play.

Broomfield cafe

If only the Lockdown on parkrun could resume in time, we could have a special RAF Battle of Britain run. Already there's a media build-up to the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain- perhaps the finest hour of the Royal Air Force. From mid-August to mid-September 1940, the planned Nazi invasion of Britain was kept at bay, and finally thwarted by the outnumbered pilots of Fighter Command. Some of "The Few", as they were known, gained their training and experience at Broomfield, where we now enjoy our parkrun route.

There's also an RAF connection with the well-established, but highly unofficial Fordoun parkrun (virtual RD, Bryony Walker). As part of their flying training at Montrose, the young pilots had to familiarise themselves with satellite airfields, for "circuits and bumps". This was the jargon for practice in landing and taking-off in different locations and conditions. RAF Fordoun was one of these locations. Another was RAF Stracathro. On the right side of the road from Dun to Stracathro, remains of that aerodrome's buildings still stand. RAF Edzell, on the Lang Stracht, was a more permanent station, with other roles.

I've a personal memory of RAF Fordoun. During the war our home, Golf Lodge, was home-from-home to several service-men. One of these was an RAF Wireless Operator from Nottingham. His off-duty was spent at our hearth and on our piano. To a little boy, he was a hero. When he was posted to Fordoun it felt to me, like the back of beyond. His next posting certainly was- to the Middle East. To my parents he gifted a silver Spitfire ornament which is now in the Air Museum at Broomfield.

For night flying there wasn't too much illumination to guide the pilots. It was common to refer to the runway as the flare path. A few weeks back, when the whin flower was at its glowing best, hiking on the Links felt like walking up a flare path. Now the walls of bushes are all dark, almost black, with only a rare remaining burst of broom flower. But underfoot, the wild flowers colour my way- Bird's Foot Trefoil, Bedstraw, Rest Harrow, Sorrel, Purslane, Cat's Ear and Yellow Flag Iris. This isin't a show-off of my sketchy botanical knowledge. It's a celebration of Montrose primary school education eighty years ago. From P3 to P7, each year, we had to collect, press and present 15 named wild flowers. By age eleven, that was 75 specimens brought to our attention. To this day, I'm grateful to the likes of Miss Murray, Miss Finlayson, Miss Wilson and Miss "Croaker" Craik.

From Miss Finlayson's class one afternoon, we had to rush to the air raid shelter when the town was bombed. Sent home after the all-clear, we discovered a bungalow in Bents Road had been demolished. Later we learned that the owners, Mr and Mrs Clark, had been killed. On that and many occasions, it was reassuring to have the RAF at Broomfield.



Happy 3rd Birthday to us!

It's our birthday week!



This Saturday marks the 3rd Birthday of Montrose parkrun. Seeing as we can't celebrate in our usual Montrose parkrun fashion we would like to see as many of you as possible complete a not Montrose parkrun. Run a birthday 5k anywhere and anytime you like this week (and more than once if you want!), sign into your parkrun profile and log your not parkrun result. We know how much you all love a selfie too so feel free to post your birthday selfies on our Facebook page. Fancy dress optional!

Log into your parkrun profile here to submit your not parkrun time.

Let's see how many people we can get on the results table this week!

We hope you are all keeping safe and well (and active!)

The Montrose parkrun team x

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