Raptors in the city

Out for a pre-Christmas run if your thoughts were erring towards things ‘tawny’ it would probably be port variety as opposed to the raptor especially when you reside just 4.5 miles out from the city centre.

A week before Christmas after collecting some holly with Alasdair he headed home and I headed off for a short run. Armed with my head torch I decided to be ‘naughty’ and head off into the park for my pre hill interval warm up.

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As I cut down the path at the edge of the graveyard I pulled up as my torch caught something on my peripheral vision. There sitting in the bush barely six feet away was the most beautiful tawny owl. Wow, just wow! I have never seen one in the wild, in its natural habitat and certainly would not have expected an encounter in the city; although I knew there were owls in the old graveyard as I have heard them in the past, but never got a glimpse until now. It was so beautiful and so perfect: the colours of the feathers, large dark blinking eyes, the feathery spectacles, the short but deadly beak, fluffy socks and a set of no nonsense talons.

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We blinked at each other then it took off silent, elegant and graceful, off to the older section of the graveyard (and the ‘wolery’): probably not appreciating the 700 lumens emanating from my ‘you can land planes with this’ torch.

What a privilege and all the more special for being so unexpected. I wanted to rush back home to tell Alasdair, but there was the small matter of those hill intervals to deal with first. They were attached with enthusiasm and gusto as I was still on a high.

These are the moments that enrich your running and make it so much more than pounding around the streets, parks and trails. And sometimes, being naughty is so worth it.