Since 11 January, Stornoway has had its own parkrun. This is a 5k run, which takes place every Saturday in Lews Castle Grounds, starting at 9.30am at Cuddy Point. It’s completely free.
Participants just need to register on the parkrun website (www.parkrun.org.uk) and print out their barcode.
Known as Lews Castle parkrun (in line with parkrun’s policy of naming events after the park where they take place), the event is open to anyone from the age of 4 (under-11s must run with their parent/carer). Babies in buggies and dogs on short leads are also welcome.
There’s no need to be able to run 5k. Everyone is welcome at parkrun, including people who would like to walk the course. There are marshals along the route and a tailwalker (sometimes accompanied by a tailwalking dog!) to make sure that everyone is safe and has a good time.
The route starts just beyond the gates at Cuddy Point and goes along the Shore Road, up the Creed path to the Japanese garden, then around the base of Gallows Hill, along to the lower end of the Creed and along the Shore Road to finish back at Cuddy Point. It’s very scenic, with great views on a clear day and the benefit of wildlife such as herons along the way.
A massive 130 people took part in the first event on 11 January, coming from all over Lewis and Harris. Fifteen people came from the mainland, most of them especially for the run. Lots of people were quite new to running and some walked the course. And 11 people made the event possible by volunteering. Over 200 people took part in the first three events.
Lews Castle is now one of 698 parkruns across the UK and beyond. There are over two million people registered and over 300,000 take part every week. For islanders visiting the mainland, there are lots of choices for other parkruns to attend, from city centre events to country parks. And visitors to Lewis will be able to join in our parkrun.
The Lews Castle parkrun was made possible by generous donations from the following: Ward Priority Fund donations from all eight Councillors in Steornabagh A Deas and Steornabagh A Tuath wards, RJ McLeod, the Scottish Salmon Company, and Tesco Bags for Life. A fundraising quiz and donations from The Stornoway Trust and Stornoway Rugby Club raised money for a permanent defibrillator for the Castle Grounds, as this is a requirement for every parkrun. The defibrillator will be installed shortly in the Woodlands Centre.
Mairi Maciver, event director for Lews Castle parkrun, said: "I’m so glad that there’s now a parkrun in Stornoway. The Castle Grounds is a fantastic place to run and walk. I am sure that this will encourage lots of people to be more active. parkrun is open to all and I think that it will be of great benefit to both residents and visitors.”
Iain Maciver, Factor for The Stornoway Trust, said: “The Trust is delighted to host the parkrun in the Castle Grounds and hope that it will encourage more people to use the park to keep fit.”
For more information about Lews Castle parkrun, please visit: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/lewscastle/