Friday, 31 July 2009

Dales Days

YC spent a couple of days in the Yorkshire Dales. He travelled there on the Carlisle to Settle railway line which he can recommend as a scenic trip. The weather wasn't great (it rained off and on), but this gave ample opportunity for training on beer and fish & chips - the fellrunner's version of the Atkin's diet.
Here is a photo of the impressive Ribblehead viaduct.

And for all the train enthusiasts, here are a couple of photos of the picturesque Garsdale Station - accessible from Hawes by the village bus for a bargain fare of £2.60.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

some more 2,000 footers

YC ticked off some 2,000 footers in the Lakes on Saturday. Parking at Hartsop (south of Patterdale and Ullswater), he added 6 new hills to his tally including Hartsop Dodd and Harrop Pike - a hill which is firmly off the beaten track. Despite it being a beautiful day, the only company on Harrop Pike was 3 impressive looking stags.

YC retreated to Dufton in the Eden Valley for the evening. He stayed at the YHA - he last stayed there over 20 years ago when walking The Pennine Way. YC slaked the raging fellrunner's thirst at The Stag Inn - the Hawkshead Bitter was excellent. And did readers know that the Hawkshead Brewery was founded in 2002 by the ex BBC reporter Alex Brodie? You learn something new every day.

The weather today was a tad on the mis side, so YC opted for a short run up Dufton Pike. Which of course leaves scope for some further RFT slaking tonight: it's a tough life.

on Harter Fell

Hartsop and Helvellyn range from Hartsop Dodd

Thursday, 23 July 2009

can you ford this river?

Conversation overheard today at Alnmouth:

Old Sea Dog - they say you can ford the Aln at low tide.
Even Older Sea Dog - I once saw a family try it in October 1984. They looked dubious about it, but their leader, a white-haired gentleman, assured them it would be OK.
OSD - and was it?
EOSD - no. After a soaking they retreated, only to get stuck in the clarts by Alnmouth bridge.
OSD - has the white-haired gentleman ever lived it down?
EOSD - no.

YC took the train to Alnmouth today and enjoyed a stroll up the coast to Boulmer. Here is a view of Howick Haven and Dunstanburgh Castle.

And was it this? YC spotted it on a wall near Boulmer. Any suggestions on what it is supposed to be? Answers please (preferably on a five pound note).

Monday, 20 July 2009

Kentmere Horseshoe (twice)

YC ran the Kentmere Horseshoe Fell Race on Sunday. This 11.9 miler heads over the tops of Ill Bell, High Street, and Kentmere Pike in the Lake District. Conditions were near perfect with high clouds and a cooling breeze on the tops. YC finished 43rd out of circa 250 in 1 hours 55 mins. After training on beer and fish & chips in Kendal on Sunday night, YC returned for a second look at the hills on Monday - this time at a more leisurely walk. The race contours around Yoke and Froswick, but YC "bagged" these on Monday to add them to his ever-growing list of 2,000 foot hills.

The first climb through Buck Crag

Froswick and Thornwaite Beacon from Ill Bell

more photos here

Amy's wedding

Congratulations to Amy George who married Stephen Rossiter at Holy Saviours Church on Saturday. Amy plays the violin in the music group, and so the group was out in force to support her. The hymns were "Colours of Day" and "Give me Oil in my lamp" with special arrangements by John Pearce. If the photos are not quite in crystal clear focus, maybe it is due to the celebratory glass of champagne that was enjoyed after the service.

Amy and the music group

warming up before the service

some more photos here

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Ian Watson's model railway


Time flies by when I'm a driver on the train
And I ride on the foot-plate there and back again

Those wishing to re-live their youthful Trumpton days might be interested in this newspaper account of Ian Watson's garden model railway. Ian is the son of Aunty Marg who was Granny Walker's sister, for those in the Walker/Kendall family know. There is also an excellent short video.

a handbag?

"The Importance of Being Earnest" is on at The People's Theatre, Jesmond and YC saw it last night with Katrina Pescott and Helen Ansell. As well as the immortal handbag line from Lady Bracknell, the audience were treated to some musical hall numbers between acts two and three. This included singing along to "Ta ra ra boom di ay". Naturally, YC didn't enjoy this at all as he doesn't approve of singing in public. However he can exclusively reveal that Katrina sang along with gusto and had to be restrained from leaping on to the stage to join in the actions. It's true (possibly).

of pianos and punting

YC spent a long weekend "down south". He enjoyed a walking tour of central London courtesy of Marshall Crawford. He tapped into Marshall's encyclopedic knowledge of London's public houses (check out the Pride of Spitalfields just off Brick Lane if you get the chance). YC also spotted this street piano enroute to the Millenium Bridge - the local populace were deeply grateful for a stirring rendition of "The Bonnie Maid of Fife" at 8 30 on a Saturday morning.

YC then headed to Wonersh where he stayed with his brother James and family for the weekend. The Wonersh cyclists enjoyed a couple of bike rides around the local lanes and paths, including an interesting time watching a narrow boat pass through a loch.

James, Phoebe, Matthew

watch out Lance Armstrong - the Wonersh Cyclists are in town

After that, YC headed for Cambridge where he visited Coz Cummins and spent a pleasant evening punting on The Cam.

The Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge

punting in the leisured style of a byone age - Coz and housemate Peter

Friday, 10 July 2009

Beacon Hill Fell Race

YC ran his third fell race in 6 days on Thursday night. The Beacon Hill race is held at Lordenshaw car park, near Rothbury and heads up and down the flank of Simonside a few times. It packs 1,500 feet of climbing into its 6 miles and is surprisingly rough under foot. The views over The Cheviots on a cool summer evening were excellent. YC finished 10th (there were more than 10 people running) in just under an hour. After all that running, he is now off down south to see if the southern beer is up to scratch.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race

YC wound down from the Chevy Chase with a gentle trot around the Saltwell Harriers Fell Race on Tuesday night. This 5.5 miler is held on the moors above Stanhope in County Durham. The evening showers held off, making it a pleasant night for running. Even more pleasant was the Black Sheep Bitter in The Moorcock pub afterwards.

a member of Saltwell Harriers heads for the radio mast on the first climb

Chris Little (my chauffeur for the evening) with Paul & Kay in The Moorcock.

There is a fuller account on .

There are more photos here.

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Chevy Chase

YC ran the Chevy Chase on Saturday. This is a 20 mile fell race from Wooler and climbs the two highest hills in Northumberland - Cheviot and Hedgehope. YC finished in 11th place in 3 hours 32 minutes. This was 15 mins slower than last year, which YC attributes to a combination of a hot day and boggy conditions underfoot and NOT his training on beer over the last year.

runners climb The Cheviot. Photo - Rob Stephens

descending Hedgehope. Photo - Pat Dunn

There is a more detailed report from Old Cheviot (an aged runner with whom YC has a nodding acquaintance) on .

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Embleton ice-bath

After the exertions of the Arrochar Alps, YC relaxed with a gentle jog to Dunstanburgh Castle. His legs felt rather stiff after all the climbing on Saturday. No doubt in this situation, professional runners such as Paula Radcliffe would climb into an ice-bath to reinvigorate their weary limbs. YC settled for the next best thing - a swim in the North Sea. The effect was much the same.
Dunstanburgh Castle

Embleton Beach - ice spa to the not so rich and famous