EMF Running tour - Burns Night
Feel the Burns Night!
“Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.”

And why not add a wee run in beforehand? 

On the 25th of January, why not join us on a running tour to find out a bit more about the bards’ influence on and exploits in our fair city. 

We’ll be jogging for around 90 minutes, with frequent stops for stories, taking in the hidden sights that the city has to offer, and learning about the famous bard, his contemporaries, and other intriguing characters from the worlds’ first UNESCO City of Literature.

Come join us on January 25th at 6pm, get your ticket at emfrunningtours.com/book.

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I would run 500 miles, and I would run 500 more – 2017 Round Up
In the EMF Running Tour’s debut year, I accidently ran a marathon (if you missed it, the story is here), and this year, I’ve smashed another milestone!

1000 miles.

Yep. For someone who never intended to be a long distance runner. Now, I didn’t do this all in one go (I like having knees), but looking at the number of bookings we’ve had over the past 12 month, and doing the maths on the average tour length, I figured out that I must have run over 900 miles this year.

So I checked, and according to my old Garmin 210, I actually ran 1000 miles this year *just on tours*! Thank you to everyone who’s forced me out of bed to take the 7am tour, to those who have shared a whisky with me during the Winter Warmer, to the Trainspotting nuts and the film buffs, you’ve all been great fun and I had a blast running every single one of those 1000 miles 😉

It’s been a tremendous year for the team here at EMF Running Tours, we were granted the highest accolade possible by the Visit Scotland (blog post here here), and we were joined by hundreds of runners from all over the world, from as far away as New Zealand, to as close as my upstairs neighbour! 

Really looking forward to what 2018 has to offer. We have many plans about to get underway, so stay tuned to see what happens next 😉

RTJ

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Luxury Travel Guide Awards 2018

It’s been almost two years since we started up, and over the past couple of years, we’ve been racking up all sorts of awards here at EMF Running Tours – from our 5 Star rating from Visit Scotland, to RTJ’s “Best Partial Beard” at the Braw Beard Oils Beard and Moustache Championships…. Yep, that’s a thing…

Well, we’ve done it again!

Last year, we were awarded the Cultural Tour Operator of the year by the Luxury Travel Guide, and this year we’re continuing our streak by being awarded the title of “Unique Tour Operator Of the Year.” Being recognised by such influential international organisations is a huge compliment, and we’re very happy to shout about this new accolade!

Huge thanks to all the people who have come to join us on a tour, and to the guides and all those behind the scenes putting in so much hard work to make sure we consistantly deliver the highest possible standard of experience. If you’ve not come on a tour yet, then get yourselves booked on and come and see what all the hype is about 😉

RTJ 

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Festive Fun Tour
Festive Fun Tour
HO HO HO!

It’s Christmas time here again in Edinburgh, and what better way to celebrate than with a Yule Jog! Jog…. Log… Get it?

Come join our guides on a gentle jog through the city on Thursday December 21st at 8pm, seeing it all lit up from high up, and finishing up in the Christmas Markets with a cup of hot mulled wine!

We’ll be jogging for around 60 minutes, stopping for plenty of yuletide stories along the way! The the distance will depend on group ability level, but it’ll be somewhere between 5-7km, with frequent stops for stories, so no need to worry about not being able to catch your breath! There will be plenty of stories about the history of Edinburgh, and the history of Christmas itself- from the old pagan Yuletide to the origins of SinterKlaas himself 😉

And what festive feast would be complete without a cup of mulled wine? Our tour will finish in the Christmas markets for a cup of spiced, hot wine, surrounded by all the excitement of the market atmosphere.

To book tickets, head over to our BOOKING page and select the 8pm tour on Thursday the 21st of December, and we’ll see you then!

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Ancient Stories

Edinburgh, the “Festival City” of Scotland, is home to some of the most impressive and well known festivals in Britain, but there’s not just the famous ones in August to see…

The Celts, some of the earliest settlers in what is now Scotland, had a series of festivals throughout their calendar, and 30 years ago, we started celebrating them again here in the city.

Partly to revive old traditions, and partly to protest Margaret Thatcher, a group of performers snuck up Calton Hill and put on a show. They had such a good time that they did it again, and again, and again, and now, Beltane Fire Festival, is one of the biggest fire festivals in the whole world. Every year, around 300 performers gather on Calton Hill, in all manner of fantastic costumes that they’ve made for themselves (or sometimes just body paint and their pants) to celebrate the new life that summer brings to the earth, the May Queen reviving the Green Man, his elaborate dance to entice her, to bring about the new season.

Two of our guides have been involved in the Beltane community since almost the day they arrived in Edinburgh, and this year was a very special one for RTJ. In April, for Beltane, he was part of Photopoint, the official event photography team: 

“It was really wonderful to be asked to be part of PhotoPoint [the photography group] on the 30th anniversary, having previously lead drum crews, acrobatic groups, and performed with the fire group, it was great to be on the other side of the lens for a change!”

Then, as the seasons started to change into winter, again the city is set alight; for the past 15 years every halloween night the city has been host to Samhuinn Fire Festival.

What started as a fundraiser for the Beltane Fire Festival in April eventually grew and grew into a huge spectacular, with hundreds of performers winding their way down the royal mile to a huge stage setup. This year saw around 9000 people come to witness the biggest Samhuinn ever, with fire everywhere, acrobatics, and enough drums to blast out even the hardiest of ear drums! Some of the drums were on fire as well… Because… Well, why not.

RTJ, who has been involved with the Beltane Fire Society for over 7 years now, was one of the Blue’s for this years festival.

“The Blues are the keepers of the ritual; the guardians of the story, if you like. Anyone who knows me, or has ever been on a tour with me, will know how importnat stories are to me, so being one of the group in charge of making sure that the festival has a coherent story was a very exciting prospect for me! It’s also a huge honour, no one gets to apply to be Blue, you are chosen, and it’s a real mark of respect and indicative of how highly you are regarded within the community to be chosen as a Blue. It’s sort of like tribal elder meets artistic director, really!

The story of Samhuinn follows the Cailleach, the mother goddess, who witnesses the Summer and Winter Kings as they battle for supremacy over the seasons. The inevitability of the winter victory, the sadness at the loss of summer, and the celebration of family, closeness, and the ensuing party as winter revels in its victory, are all part of the massive event we wove together for the thousands of people who came to witness a truly amazing event.”

If you’d like to learn more about the festival, check out the Beltane Fire Society website, or feel free to email RTJ to get a bit more info about the Blue perspective info@emfrunningtours.com and check out some of the photos and the ace video that the clever photopoint guys put together at the Beltane FaceBook page!

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Group Tours Now Available
Group tours are here!

Looking for something a bit different to do with your day? Or maybe you are on the hunt for something unique for your stag/hen weekend? Corporate challenge? Birthday? You name it, we can do a tour to fit the theme! 😀

Get in touch via the website here to talk to us about your group requirements. We can cater for groups of up to 45, but will never send out a group with more than 15:1 with the guides, as we firmly believe that for the whole group to enjoy themselves, you need to kepe the group small and intimate.

Looking forward to welcoming you to our fair city!

RTJ

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Gunpowder, Treason, and Hill reps….
Ooooh, it was a chilly evening on the 5th of November, when a few intrepid runners braved the winds to come out and watch the fireworks with us on our very special Bonfire Night Tour.

The route was a pretty hilly 7k throught the old town, heading up the royal mile, ducking in and out of the closes and graveyards en route, with stories of 17th century Edinburgh, and the events leading up to Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators being captured and executed… With a headful of stories, and a handful of sparklers, we watched the fireworks form the top of Calton Hill, and it was lovely to see such a big final hurrah from Meadowbank Stadium, which is closing for renovations at the beginning of next month…

There was a great documentary about what might have happened if Guy Fawkes had succeded HERE which is well worth watching if you’re curious!

RTJ

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Queensferry Crossing Experience
The fabulous, world record breaking Queensferry Crossing opened this month, spanning almost two miles over the Firth of Forth, to the north of our glorious city, and RTJ was there to be a part of the once in a lifetime opporunity that 50,000 lucky people had, of walking over the bridge ahead of its official opening ceremony.

“Over the first weekend of September, I was lucky enough to be a part of the team delivering the Queensferry Crossing Experience to some 50,000 people who were successful in the ballot. Hearing that over 250,000 people applied to cross the bridge was no surprise, as it has no public footpath and this was going to be the one chance people were going to have to get to walk on it.

One of the utterly delightful things about the whole weekend was hearing people’s stories – why they were there, and what it meant to them. I spoke to all manner of people, from retired world leaders, to excited children, and everyone had a story to tell. I spoke to one of the volunteers who was a retired engineer that had worked on the original road bridge; I helped three generations of the same family make their way over in honour of their recently deceased patriarch, I escorted a very special visitor who’s ill health very nearly prevented her making it to the event, and I shuffled about a hundred hungry volunteers to their lunch breaks!

It truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have been a part of it. 50,000 people can say that they were part of something tremendously special, and will have a memory to cherish for the rest of their lives. Well done to all involved, and huge well done to the organisers for putting on such a beautiful event!”

More of RTJ’s pictures from the day will be popping up on his Facebook page at Armandary Photography in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out there to see his perspective of the event!

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5 Stars!
“At this point, I’m obliged to tell you that I’m here on behalf of visit Scotland, and have been assessing the tour,”

Just a small amount of panic sets in at hearing these words… It’s my second tour of the day, and my brain starts racing. Did I give it my all? Was it as good as all the other tours I’ve delivered? I know that I enjoyed the run, the pace was good, the chat was fun, the stories were fluid, relevant, and entertaining, but was it good enough?

Then the waiting game, that horrid period of time when you’re anticipating the worst, as your brain tells you everything you could have done, should have done, shouldn’t have done, and every possible outcome.

The report comes in.

An overall rating of 92%, giving us a 5 Star rating from visit Scotland, the national tourism board.

92%

5 Star

We are now counted among the best tour companies in the entire country, and not just in our field, in the whole Scottish tourist industry. Words cannot adequately describe how excited I am about this! The excitement comes two-fold as well, because yes, I am super excited that it’s us that have been the first running tour to be recognised by the governing body for tourism in Scotland, but it is also a huge step for getting running tours recognised globally as a concept. Come along and see for yourselves why we’ve earned out 5 star rating! 😉

RTJ

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EMF 2017
EMF 2017

What a fantastic weekend we had; 30,000 runners descended upon the city for the events, and many of them came along for a tour to get a feel of the place they were visiting. We had guest from all over the world come out with us, from Uraguay to Australia, Hong Kong to Toronto, and between the three guides we put in around 50 miles over the weekend!

We saw a lot of new faces, with around 50 keen explorers joining us, and as a nice surprise, we actually had a lovely couple come along who had joined us last year, and had had such a lovely time that they wanted to go again!

With Nick on board to help, I managed to get away with not doing another accidental marathon this year! I did, however, end up running 18 miles on the hottest day of the year… I drank enough water to rehydrate a dying camel, and still felt really, REALLY weird that evening… We’re no built for the heat up here, and having inherited my grandad’s wonderfully pasty Lanarkshire skin, I’m not in the sun more than 5 seconds before I burn to a crisp!

Huge congratulations to everyone who took part in the EMF weekend events, it was a scorcher of a weekend, and everyone did a fantastic job- runners, race crew, and guides alike 😉

RTJ

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