Dean Castle Country Park – the Joyful Kilmarnock Blues plus a quarter Cowell

The day was bright and sunny so the blog I won’t delay…

We continued with our recent theme of “new to us“ parkruns again today by visiting Dean Castle Country Park parkrun. Try saying that with mouthful of Pedigree Chum!

I was rudely awakened at 7:45am when his alarm went off. What does one need to do to get a long lie at the weekend I thought. Oh good I’m being dragged out early in the cold again. But this is the time of year when my Australian labradoodle woolly coat comes into its own so more the fool him. But can you believe he forgot my parkun dogs buff? Funnily enough he remembered his own. So selfish.

After trailing it for a few weeks we decided it was time to finally take the road trip down to Kilmarnock. We had a good drive down the A77 though I was very confused when we started following a sign for Moscow. Maybe the human is an international spy after all and that explains his overseas “work” trips…

We arrived once again super early. We had a nice wee chat with some of the core team and volunteers who were setting up, I got a nice bit of attention and a few pats then we went exploring. When one of the locals told us to enjoy the hills and that they were “short and punchy” we knew it was going to be quite a tough morning’s work.

This parkrun is set in a fantastic historic country park which has a castle. Yes the clue is in the name. Unfortunately (though it will be fabulous when it’s done) the castle is going through some restoration and refurbishment work so it’s closed to the public and covered in scaffolding so the camera couldn’t really do it justice.

Crumble fact of the week: Dean Castle dates from at least the 14th Century. Built by the ambitious, influential and well-travelled Boyd family, the Lords of Kilmarnock, the buildings and estate continued to be lived in and developed until the mid-1700s. The castle was originally called Kilmarnock Castle.

It was great to see a really healthy turnout. 143 today including a lot of juniors and a lot of first-timers (19) so this parkrun really seems to have captured the attention of the locals.

It’s for sure one of the more challenging parkruns we have done and quite a contrast with the University of Stirling last week. The hills were indeed short and punchy and quite frequent and you got to do them all twice. Bonus! This certainly made for a great workout though not a fast time. A sub 27 rather than sub 25 target this week.

There was a nice little wildlife park in the middle of the course. I wanted to go and chase the goats and sheep but unfortunately he had other ideas and I was on the lead so I had to keep on running. On the second lap the sheep started shouting at me which I thought was very baaaaaaad form.

No famous faces this week but we did see fellow tourist Shefali again. It was nice to speak to her and she takes a great photograph even if I’m biased because I’m in it.

There were also fewer dogs this week. I think I only counted three or four. In spite of the hills I was delighted to be the first four-legged runner this week. We came in with a respectable time of 26:49.

We were definitely amongst the best core teams and marshals that we’ve come across. They were all super friendly and I got a few nice comments as I ran round. There was even a doggy marshal. Not only did they have sweeties for the humans at the scanning area but they had dog treats. Amazing! The only other place I have seen that is Queen’s Park. And guess who went back for second helpings? Just call me Oliver Crumble.

It was a little bit mushy and muddy in places at the start/finish area so the jury was out for a while on whether they were going to bath me again today but the upside of a longer drive is that my paws had dried in by the time I got home so I’m off the hook.

I think that’s enough tourism for a little while now that the human has completed his quarter Cowell.

Stay tuned to see which of the Glasgow parkruns I hit over the next few weeks. Think Springburn and Drumchapel are due a visit. We’re also due a volunteer stint. Much as we love our tourism being out the house for three hours every single week for a half-hour run is a bit of a chore though I think maybe it’s the human just trying to avoid doing the gardening or housework at home. I know his game!

So another big paws up from me for Dean Castle Country Park parkun. Well worth a visit. You’ll love it.

Crumble out x

Ready for action
Hiding in the leaves exploring the gardens
The angel watching over the de Walden graves
Dean Castle – the only angle without scaffolding
Spaceman – part of the Iluminight experience
Pre-run briefing from the awesome RD Margo
We did it! (Thanks Shefali for the pic)
Those “short and punchy” hills
And chill 💤
Action shot – thanks RD Margo

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