I thought I’d check out what where the expression, “awa’ the Crow Road” came from before Davie and I headed for the Tour of the Campsies; ‘Crows take your soul to the hereafter it’s thought in many cultures and superstition.’

And on that cheery note we headed for Lennoxtown but not before I’d remembered the gear for a race report, it’s a while since I’ve done one; notepad, pencil, camera, start sheet – kindly emailed to us by organiser, Robbie Martin. 

As Robbie’s ‘rider info’ explained; 

The start line will be marked on the ground and there will be no shuvver

One foot must be on the ground.’ 

A great word, wish I’d invented it.

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

Nathalie Jones of Glasgow Triathlon Club was first off with the girls forming an orderly queue, just past the bus stop, behind her as their time approached.

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood
Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

The Crow Road car park; where it was a bit chilly, the only time we’d feel a nip in the air on this glorious morning – and first man to catch our eye was #12, Craig Paterson [Edinburgh Road Club], looking the part and getting the gear round nicely, he’d eventually stop the clock with a 1:05:39 ride.

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

Before the race we asked Harry Tweed – a man who knows about these matters – who we should be keeping an eye out for.

His first choice was #30 Murray Lawson of Craig Grieve’s, Spokes Race Team, Murray you may remember was fastest up the East Lomond last year in the Hill Climb Championship but didn’t get the title.

Hiss 58:34 gave him fifth place today BUT he unshipped a chain and lost upwards of 30 seconds, finishing with oily paws.

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

To avoid the dreaded ‘all your pictures look the same’ syndrome and remind ourselves of the race route we headed off after Murray went through, stopping up on the moors where we snapped #39, Becky Storrie [Synergy Cycles], looking composed and who would run out best lady on the day and new female course record holder with 1:04:12.

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

We’d forgotten how fast and technical the descent off the moor is with some tricky corners and gnarly surfaces but the views are spectacular, here #44 Corin Haliday [Torvelo Racing] bombs down towards Fintry. Unfortunately when passing through Killearn Corin punctured and posted a DNF.

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

Fintry saw #49, Hamish Creber [Ryan’s Bike Surgery – Thomson Homes] fly past en route an eventual fourth spot with 58:32.

Fintry is a nice spot, we liked the calm and the dappled sunlight at the old Kirk and graveyard with just the swish of tubs and discs to disturb the Sabbath calm.

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

Drive on – it rolls and turns with more gnarly bits, we stopped atop a drag, beside a ‘prawn farm’ – and we all thought they came from the Isle of May.

Aaron King [Spokes Race Team] was on top of the gear; 11th place on 1:00:20 was the time keeper’s verdict. 

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

Harry picked the winner when he mentioned Cameron Richardson [Road Club Cumbernauld & Kilsyth] he was off #67 with 56:03 as his time. 

Unfortunately his passage past us coincided with Davie answering the call of nature and an artic arriving at the prawn farm, the camera had to get set aside and the seat in Davie’s car adjusted to let me get the Mini moved to calm the agitato artic driver – so forgive me if the rushed pic isn’t the best.

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

Cameron was world junior duathlon champion at the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Penticton, Canada in 2017 and confirmed Harry’s tip that the Cumbernauld man had been going well in training.

His 56:03 whilst rapid was shy of Mark Atkinson’s 2000 ride of 54:15 which according to the spread sheet of Campsies results kindly supplied to us by Tommy Banks is course record. 

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

Off six minutes behind Cameron was AG2R feeder team rider, Scottish 10 mile TT record holder for his age group and Spokes rider, Oscar Onley, another of Harry’s tips, 13 seconds shy of Cameron’s time with 56:16 for an excellent second place.

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

Next stop Kilearn and we thought we’d won a watch with the coffee shop but; ‘cafetiere only.’

All those nice coffee houses in Edinburgh have spoiled me and I can’t drink that stuff – it’s what I imagine chain lube tastes like?

Tour of the Campsies
Photo©Ed Hood

Down on the rolling Blanefield Road the traffic count was much higher than up in the hills and taking snaps was a risky business but we managed a decent shot of Ben Dixon [Royal Navy & Marines CA] who finished with a 1:03:21.

Photo©Ed Hood

The left hander on the home stretch back to Lennoxtown was busy but a good spot for taking pictures, #83 Chris Oneill here showing off those nice Nightingale colours which stand the test of time with no change for change sake required – 1:05:19 for Chris.

Photo©Ed Hood

trainSharp Development Team rider, Louie Urquhart-Dixon was wearing a natty Assos skinsuit which helped him to a 1:03:13 ride – you’d never have got away with that outfit back in the 70’s my boy.

Photo©Ed Hood
Photo©Ed Hood

Daniel Kain [Spokes] #107 was also on Harry’s list of favourites, he took seventh place with a 59:09 ride under Davie’s watchful eye.

Photo©Ed Hood

Harry had been telling us of Andy Brown’s [Velocity 44] #112 big mileage training but ninth was as good as it got for him with 59:27. 

Photo©Ed Hood

We’d expected to see #119 Douglas Watson next but whilst it was a GTR-Return To Life, white skinsuit, the man inside it was 2018 and ’19 Campsies winner #120, Chris Smart en route third spot with 56:20; 17 seconds back on winner, Richardson and four seconds behind second placed, Onley.

Photo©Ed Hood

Aforementioned Mr. Watson appeared after Chris and would finish sixth with 58:35.

In these post-Covid days there’s not result board or home baking but it’s just good to see racing come back to life.

Cameron Richardson’s name on the winner’s list joins that of some of Scotland’s best riders of recent times, including, Robert Millar, John Clark, Davie Whitehall, Sandy Gilchrist and Jason McIntyre.

Just a shame there’ll be no opportunity for him to add his name to the Tour de Trossachs role of honour. 

But as Harry says; ‘there’s a changing of the guard in Scottish racing with three Spokes junior riders in the first seven and four in the top 11.’