Monday, 31 May 2010

Old Cheviot on the Border Ridge

YC headed out to the border ridge today. As he stood admiring the view from The Street, he spotted an old character ambling along the path. The figure looked so old and care-worn that YC thought it might be The Ancient of Days, who is said to visit each fellrunner in their hour of need. But on closer inspection, YC noted that the figure wasn't pavilioned in splendour or girded with praise (it had a bumbag instead). It turned out to be Old Cheviot, making his way leisurely from Yearning Saddle hut to Windy Gyle. OC reported that the skylarks were singing on Lamb Hill, the wheatears on the wing at Yearning Hall, and a pair of goldfinches aflight at Rowhope. And with that brief word, OC urged his aged bones into action once more, and trundled onwards to a well-earned cup of tea (or possibly something stronger).
Old Cheviot went that way...

Sunday, 30 May 2010

family celebrations

Andrew & Diane Walker hosted a most convivial family lunch at Il Forno's Restaurant, Tynemouth today. By chance, all their family were back in the north-east this weekend, so it seemed an opportune moment for a celebration. Whilst the adults caught up on family news, the children got the colouring pens into action and swapped jokes for the day such as: What do you call a deer with no eyes? No idea! YC was in his element.

left - Diane holds court
right - the children take to the floor
below - YC: what do you call a one eyed dinosaur? Sophie -doyouthinkhesaurus!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Old County Top - no "s"

YC was back for another crack at the Old County Tops Fell Race on Saturday. However after 6 years of successful completions, YC is obliged to report that all four wheels fell off the attempt to make it seven in a row. It was an incredibly hot day and YC's running partner Graham felt the strain on the summit of the first county top - Helvellyn - and threw up. After wobbling down to the road crossing at Wythburn, we had no option but to retire. Graham got a lift back to the finish at Great Langdale, whilst YC went for a trot over Steel Fell and Sergeant Man in the company of Richard (from Bowland Runners) whose partner had also retired. Nick Wild and Paul Myers got much further round the course, but in the end called it a day at Grey Friar and so also chalked up a DNF.

Hats off to all those finished in tough conditions, including John Telfer and Stewart Barrie (read John's report on the NFR website). Readers will be relieved to hear that YC did find time for some training on beer in The New Dungeon Ghyll in the evening where the Cumberland Corby Ale was on fine form.

Elite athletes apparently swear by ice baths as a restorative for tired limbs. YC doesn't possess an ice bath, but he has the next best thing - the North Sea on his doorstep. He took a quick dip this afternoon. Readers can probably guess the temperature of the water (hint - not warm).

Monday, 17 May 2010

Swimming, St James' Church, and Staerough Hill

On Saturday YC headed down to London to see his sister Emma. After a swim in Hampstead Heath ponds (distinctly chilly at 12C), some Chiswick Bitter at The Red Lion (Duke of York Street in Central London) helped to restore the tissues. On Sunday YC swelled the ranks of the newly formed St James' Church music group. Gethin (violin) had prepared the music. Claire (piano), Simon (clarinet), David (guitar), Emma (flute), and YC (bodhran) formed the rest of the group. The service went with a swing as the group knocked out numbers such as "I heard the voice of Jesus say" and "Alleluia Sing to Jesus". Perhaps the highlight was a stirring rendition of "At the name of Jesus" (to the jazzy tune of Camberwell which readers might remember from their school days) which had the congregation tapping their toes and singing lustily along.

Today YC ran around the route of The Yetholm Hill Race in The Cheviot Hills. This splendid 8 mile route is all off-road over beautiful quiet fells including Staerough Hill and The Curr. Readers looking for some armchair exercise should click on the video below to enjoy fellrunning from the comfort of their own desk.

the view from Staerough Hill over Sunnyside Hill towards The Curr

running along The Pennine Way on Steer Rig

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Buttermere Sailbeck

YC ran the Buttermere Sailbeck fellrace on Saturday. This tough Lakeland race packs 4,650 ft of climbing into its 9.5 miles. It heads over Ard Crags from Buttermere, before returning via Causey Pike and Crag Hill. There's a fantastic descent from the top of Crag Hill via Whiteless Pike back to Buttermere. The race took YC just under 2 hours to complete, including a swift 12 minute whizz from Crag Hill to the finish. All of which calls, of course, for some training on beer - it's a vital part of the fellrunner's diet.

NFR at the start

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

May Day sailing

The fine craft Stella Genesta took to the water for the Green Wyvern May Day cruise. This being the Great British spring, it blew a gale and was freezing cold on the Sunday and Monday. But the weather was fairer on Friday and Saturday, allowing for some pleasant sailing on The Waveney river. There was even the chance for the odd of half of beer when time permitted - which YC is pleased to report occurred on more than one occasion.

left - an Old Hand in charge
middle - with Mimosa's crew at the Wherry Inn, Geldeston
right - Stella at Geldeston Village Staithe

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Old Cheviot keeps readers on the straight and narrow

YC is delighted to bring you news of a venerable fell runner - Old Cheviot - who was recceing part of the Chevy Chase today. Whilst the rest of the world had returned to work to earn an honest crust, OC eschewed such matters, perfering a solitary run in The Cheviots. Parking at Langleeford in the Happy Valley, OC headed through the trees up the valley where robins, great tits, and wheatears were in full voice. Once he arrived at the wizened rowan trees, OC turned left and followed the familiar route under Comb Fell to Hedgehope.

The summit of Hedgehope was deserted and windswept. So OC moved on towards Langlee Crags - a checkpoint that has caused more than one Chevy Chaser to go astray. Indeed OC reflected that Phil Sanderson had missed it when leading the race last year. OC is always keen to keep his fellow runners on the straight and narrow (even though he himself occasionally strays from it). So for those who wonder just where the checkpoint is, click on the photo on the left. X marks the spot.

left - Langlee Crags
right - Hedgehope from Langlee Crags

Keen readers and fellrunners might wonder - what is the quickest route from Hedgehope to Langlee Crags? OC keeps such knowledge under his hat but could be tempted to divulge it. So if readers spot an aged fellrunner who is looking down on his luck, why not buy him a pint. Soon you could be sprinting to Langlee Crags before even Phil Sanderson gets there.