Sunday, 28 February 2010

High Cup Nick Fell Race

High Cup Nick is a spectacular geographical feature in The Pennines. It's surprising how many people haven't heard of it. It's near Cross Fell which you see as you drive down the M6. YC ran up it yesterday in the High Cup Nick Fell Race - a 9 miler that started and finished in Dufton. The race went straight up the valley to the head of the Nick, then returned on the Pennine Way along the northern escarpment. 145 runners took part and YC was 39th in 1 hour 21 mins. After all that effort, YC thought it prudent to replenish the lost the fluids with a glass (or two) of beer - strictly for rehydration purposes of course.

looking back down High Cup Nick; right - climbing out of the Nick

Northumberland Fell Runners at the start

more photos

and a report from an aged fellrunner on the NFR website

Monday, 22 February 2010

tea and beer

It seems to be fashionable to give something up for Lent - chocolate, alcohol etc. This strikes YC as distinctly unappealing (especially the second item). Rather it's better to do something extra for Lent - like buying fairtrade produce. This week is the start of Fairtrade Fortnight. YC recommends Clipper Earl Grey tea for readers looking for a decent drop. And whilst it's not strictly fairtrade, how about some real ale from an independent brewery - good for the local economy, and most definitely good for the soul. YC is unstinting in his quest for good real ale, considering it is duty to maintain standards in the local hostelries.

YC has been out running in the Simonside Hills today - the views over the Coquet Valley on a clear crisp day with a covering of snow were beautiful. He's had his Earl Grey tea, and it's now time for something stronger: duty calls.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Wales v Scotland - blink and you miss the finale

YC and Emma Duff followed Scotland to the Millennium Stadium on Saturday to see them take on Wales. Scotland's away form tends to hover between poor and non-existent. But on Saturday they played superbly in the first half with tries from John Barclay and Max Evans, both of which were right in front of us. The game reached an incredible finale in the last 5 minutes. Scotland's back-line was ravaged by injuries and they were down to 13 men with 2 players in the sin-bin. Wales equalised with a penalty on 79 minutes, then Shane Williams scored the winning try in extra-time to record an extraordinary 31-24 win. It was all very thrilling if you were Welsh, but just a tad disappointing for the Scottish contingent.
On the plus side, the train journey to Cardiff provided ample time for Emma to teach YC the Welsh national anthem phonetically - my hain gwlad the hadai etc - listen to it here. It's fantastic.

Monday, 8 February 2010

running and rugby

YC went for a jog on the Northumberland Coast on Saturday and reacquainted himself with some old training routes. Can readers identify the location of the photo on the left? Answers on the usual £5 note please. Hint - it's near the local landmark on the right.

On Sunday he ventured north to Murrayfield with Chris Smith to see Scotland put France to the sword (dans son reves). The reality was a fairly convincing win for France with the outsized centre Bastareaud scoring a couple of tries. YC doesn't usually drink beer, but after the delights of a vegan haggis samosa (no kidding) he felt the need to cleanse his palate with a drop of the necessary. So the Deuchars in The Last Drop and Stewart Ale in The Half Way House were subjected to some rigorous quality control: they passed.

Today YC worked off yesterday's beer with a run up Simonside from Rothbury. The snow has gone in the valleys but there is still plenty about on north facing slopes. The usual fun descent down Simonside's north-west face (photo right) still had a foot of snow on it and reduced YC to a hesitant slither.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Rev T - a man no longer in his late sixties

Rev T reached the proud old age of three score and ten on Tuesday. He celebrated with a weekend in London. On Saturday there was an excellent lunch with James & family at Wonersh. Sunday saw a visit to Emma's church in West Hampstead before a convivial lunch in The Clifton Arms with some Green Wyvern friends.

left - at Wonersh; right - an afternoon of prayer and reflection in The Clifton Arms
Matthew - I wouldn't put your Connect 4 piece there if I were you.
YC - why not?
Matthew - because you've just lost, again!

rest and recuperation in The Harp, Charing Cross - the Hophead Bitter was excellent