Cambus Canters is an informal series of 6 time trials held each year from April to September with the aims of encouraging individual training and progress and of identifying the most improved Deeside Runner of the year.
Cambus Canters has been running since 2000. Initially following a “normal” race format this was adjusted in 2003 to a handicap format, which has been followed every year since.
The format of Cambus Canters is obvious to those of us who have taken part regularly, but for the uninitiated a brief explanation of how Cambus works follows below.
It is a series of six 4.2 Km time trials run over the same course on the first Thursday of each month from April to September. However in 2020 the first three months were cancelled on account of Covid-19 and for the final three months of the year Cambus proceeded on a virtual basis. Due to its popularity the virtual format has continued to operate since alongside the traditional first Thursday of each month. Results from both formats are combined at the end of each month and these combined results are used for allocating the months finishing positions and points in the series results table.
Based on running history, the handicapper gives new Cambus runners a predicted time and associated start time. Runners then set themselves off on a staggered basis according to their assigned start times (slowest first). If everybody were to run precisely to their predicted time they would all cross the line together. In practice the runner making the biggest improvement on their predicted time will cross the line first, followed by the runner with the second best improvement and so on. Points are awarded on finishing order. If you run faster than predicted, this becomes your new handicap for next month.
First home is awarded 50 points, second gets 49 and so on. The overall winner at the end of the season is the runner with the highest score calculated from their best 4 results out of the six possible runs.
The most improved Deeside Runner also gets a very nice Capercaillie trophy to look after for 12 months.
The traditional route (but see update for 2022 in blue below) follows footpaths and land rover tracks and crosses a small stream and 3 foot bridges through the Cambus O’May woods. In places it can be rocky, it can be muddy and there are some exposed roots and a few steep slopes. It can be slippy underfoot particularly in adverse weather conditions and on the bridges. Runners participate at their own risk and should be familiar with the course, its route and its navigation and if participating for the first time are recommended to reconnoitre it in advance. Permanent Forestry Commission yellow markers are present along the route (see below), but no extra markers are set out by Deeside Runners on the night.
The Cambus Canters route starts from the Forestry Commission car park at Cambus O’May (on the north side of the A93 about 2.5 miles east of Ballater – near to the Courie Courie Bakery and Cafe) and follows the permanent yellow way marked “Pine Tree Trail” in a clockwise direction. A fixed map of the trail can be found in the car park. Further information on the location of the car park and the “Pine Tree Trail” can be found on the Forestry Commission site at http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/visit/cambus-omay and a description and simple map can be found on the walkhighlands site which refers to the route as the “Pinewood Trail”.
In 2022 storms brought many trees down onto the yellow trail and Cambus Canters was unfortunately cancelled for the first month – April. So a lovely new “Cambus Canters 2022 route” was set up instead and this is being used for the 2022 series from May onwards. See the route map below. The 2022 course isn’t all new. It starts and finishes in the same places that the old course started and finished. It follows the same yellow trail paths in part, but also includes two new sections of path which were not part of the original course. In total it is a little longer at about 4.5km, includes a bit more climb, has more twists and bends and it also avoids the long fast “land rover track” descent which formed part of the original course.
First runner off at 7:00pm, or shortly thereafter.
For 2019 & later results see the images below the list of links to the 2018 and earlier Cambus Results. The latest Thursday evening Cambus results are also usually displayed during the current month.