Sunday, 28 June 2009

Arrochar Alps Hill Race

YC ran the Arrochar Alps Hill Race on Saturday. It packs 4 Munros and 8,000 ft of climbing into its 15 miles. Cloud cover at 2,000 feet made for tricky navigation on the tops. Indeed YC went for a bit of wander on Ben Vane and lost about 20 mins in the process, after which he took it canny. This was (of course) a ploy to keep him fresh for the Chevy Chase next week. He took over 5 hours to finish the race, after which he is most definitely due a Deuchars.

Team NFR at the start of the race

steep climbing up Ben Vorlich

with Peter Simpson (his fellow wanderer on Ben Vane) at the finish

more photos

more detailed report on the NFR website

Friday, 26 June 2009

sailing on Stella Genesta

YC has just returned from an excellent 10 days cruise on the fine craft Stella Genesta. You can read all about it on the marvellous Stella blog here.

sailing over Breydon to Berney

more photos

Rory's baptism

YC was delighted to attend Rory Atwell's baptism at St Mary's Church, Wendover. Rory was christened during the main morning service which went with a swing thanks to a lively music group. The musical highlight was singing "Will your anchor hold" which Chris had requested. Just as at Chris and Jane's wedding, the assembled Duff clan gave this hymn the full treatment and sang it with gusto.
Chris says a few words at the lunchtime party while Jane and Rory look on.
The Duff family enjoying a quiet meal the night before at The Red Lion, Wendover.

spot the difference

Can astute readers spot the difference between these 2 photos? Why are Michael and Euan looking so glum in the first photo, but Michael so cheery in the second? Hint - look at how full the beer glasses are.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

fellrunning from the comfort of your own home

YC enjoyed a gentle run around the Windy Gyle fell race route today. He parked at Barrowburn in the Coquet Valley and headed up to Windy Gyle before running along the Border Ridge and descending via The Street. He is delighted to report that there is now a tea-room in Barrowburn Farm, where he enjoyed soup & tea afterwards and a chat to the local farmer.

Click on the link above (with the sound on) to enjoy fellrunning without even having to leave your own home.

Barrowburn Farm and Coquet Valley

The Cheviot from Windy Gyle

leap and sing in all I do

On Tuesday YC accompanied Rev T to his monthly service at Holmlea old folks' home. YC provided some guitar accompaniment to the hymns which included "Amazing Grace" and "Running Over". YC had heard rumours that Rev T might have been installed on the waiting list for Holmlea. But these were dispelled when Rev T gave a spirited rendition of the last hymn "One more step along the road I go". The hymn includes the line "leap and sing in all I do". Rev T didn't hold back, literally jumping for joy as he sang this line. There's life in the old dog yet.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

the last year

For those who have not been following the must-read blog that is Birtley News (shame on you), here is a selection of what you have been missing over the last year.

Your Correspondent has taken a year off work. The fun started last August with YC's last day at work for a while. Work even supplied YC with his own commemorative edition of Birtley News - click on the photo below for a detailed look.

After a couple of months in the UK including a 40th birthday celebration (he is getting old...), YC became Your International Correspondent. The first leg of the journey was to Singapore where he visited Richard Cox, before 3 months in Australia. There he walked the Cape to Cape Track in Western Australia and visited Peter Miller and family in Canberra. Next he moved on to Tasmania for lots of walking including the Overland Track. He stayed with Rick & Kiz and family who were very hospitable.

After Christmas and New Year back at Canberra, YC moved on to New Zealand where he spent 3 months exploring the South and North Islands. Lots of tramping (NZ phrase for hiking, not hanging out with the local vagrants) was on the menu. YC stayed at numerous backcountry huts and climbed lots of hills. Here he is on Mt Ruapehu which was his highpoint for the trip at 2,672 metres.

After NZ, he returned to the UK via America where he stayed in Boston with Ross and Elizabeth Pope. He is not due to return to work until 1 October. So he spends his time walking, running, sailing, and drinking beer. It's a tough life.

You can follow his progress on this blog and look at the photos on flickr. YC bets you can't wait.

Monday, 8 June 2009

LAMM 2009

YC completed the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon (LAMM) with Paul Hainsworth over the weekend. The event was held at Kintail which is near Kyle of Lochalsh in the north-west of Scotland. Despite a poor forecast, the weather was generally pretty good with high cloud, a cooling breeze and some sunshine. Competitors have to be self-sufficent for 2 days carrying tents, sleeping bags and food. The venue for the event is only announced 2 days beforehand, and you get the course (a series of checkpoints) when you start the race. It's like a combination of fellrunning, orienteering and walking. YC and Paul completed the A course (a mere 54 km and 3,800 metres of climbing) in 13.5 hours to finish 19th out of 35 teams. All of which justified a beer and pub meal in Glasgow with Paul's son on the way home - a grand way to round off a great weekend.

on the summit of Beinn Fhada - our Munro for the weekend

descending to the Beinn Fhada ridge

the wake up call at the midrace camp - Mairi's Wedding and Dark Island got us going at 5 am

There are more photos here and a detailed account on the NFR website here.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Railways and Sunsets

YC has returned from 3 enjoyable days in the Lake District. He took the train to Ravenglass where he caught the Eskdale narrow gauge railway to Boot. The train was pulled by a steam engine (River Irt) and wound its way through beautiful scenery, passing several trains en-route. It was Thomas the Tank engine heaven.

From Boot, he walked to Wasdale where he stayed at the YHA. The next day he ticked off some new 2,000 footers including Seatallen and Yewbarrow North Top, before bivvying on the Glaramara ridge. He descended via Rosthwaite Fell before catching the open-topped Borrowdale bus to Keswick in glorious sunshine: all great fun.

River Irt and train at Boot

River Esk passes by


the view from the bivvy - sunset over Great Gable

There are some more photos here.