Monday, 31 January 2011

on Iron Hill

YNZC has arrived in Wanaka. Here he has been for an early morning run up Iron Hill. Competition to be the first runner to the top was intense. YNZC dug in with true northern grit and just managed to pip the elderly dog walker to the top. Later today he will refresh the raging runner's thirst with some Cadrona Gold from the Kai Cafe. Not wishing to appear partisan, he may also call into The Trout to sample the ale there too. He is unstinting in his ale quality control duties.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

ale, aching limbs, and amen

left - on Mt Travers summit
right - looking down on Upper Travers Hut from Mt Travers

left - the view from Angelus hut
right - trampers head along the Roberts Ridge

YNZC has just returned from a week's tramping in the Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand. He was blessed with perfect weather for the whole week - blue skies, good visibility, and generally gentle winds. The highlight of the trip was climbing Mt Travers - at 2,338 metres the views over the surrounding hills were stunning. After a week of walking, YNZC will be attending Nelson Cathedral for evensong tonight, before slaking the raging tramper's thirst with a well-earned beer. It's been a whole week without beer, so the first one shouldn't touch the sides. As YNZC's brother James comments - it's a case of "ale, aching limbs, and amen".

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Back in New Zealand

Your International Correspondent is back in New Zealand for a month. He flew in on Saturday to Christchurch. There he slaked the raging flyer's thirst at the Twisted Hop with some excellent Goldings Bitter (real ale being at a premium in NZ), went for a jog round the Botanical Gardens, and took in part of the Sunday service at the Cathedral. He is now in Nelson, courtesy of Air New Zealand and Karen whom he sat next to on the flight and kindly gave him a lift into town. Tonight YIC will go to evening worship at Nelson Cathedral, before heading off to the Nelson Lakes tomorrow for 6 days tramping. He might even find time for a half of beer - it's a tough life.

Monday, 17 January 2011

birthday celebrations

There was a double birthday celebration for Granny Pat last weekend. First off was a trip to Wonersh to babysit for Matthew & Phoebe whilst James & Katies were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary in St Anton which was the place of their engagment. Here she was assisted admirably in the domestic duties by Rev T - though readers won't be wholly surprised to learn that he was better at the wine-monitoring duties than working the washing machine. On her return to Tynemouth, she enjoyed dinner in The Grand Hotel with Rev T & YC.

left - birthday celebrations
right - Matthew gives Emma a lesson on how to work the Wii board. Readers might note Emma looks slightly puzzled. She is in good company. YC doesn't know what a Wii board is.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Simonside Cairns Race

YC ran the Simonside Cairns Race today. This 11 miler starts in Rothbury and does a circuit of Simonside, finishing with an enjoyable run along the ridge and down through Lordenshaws car park. The snow and ice had finally gone, and the weather was surprisingly mild. YC ran most of the way in company with Graham Walton and Tim McCall, and finished 22nd out of 102 in just under 100 minutes. There was a sizeable Scottish contingent at the race and they provided both the male and female winners - Alasdair Anthony (Ochills) and Emma O'Shea (Deeside). In case readers are wondering, YC has now had his tea...[beer next!]

left - runners at the start
right - Les Turnbull, Stewart Barrie & Graham Walton at the finish

Heading for home on the Simonside ridge. Photo by Will Horsley

PS YC thought he was doing well to run the Cairns race today, until he heard from John Telfer and Stewart Barrie. They had warmed up for the race with 20 miles around the Old Crown Round yesterday: Skiddaw, Blencathra, and several other tops in appalling weather. Here they are celebrating their round in Hesket Newmarket. They've had their tea...

Monday, 10 January 2011

Boulmer Today

YC enjoyed a run up the Northumberland Coast today. Parking at Boulmer (see above), he inspected the waders on the beach: bar-tailed godwits, ringed plovers, and turnstones were on display. After that he headed to Howick Dene where a jay, roe deer, and heron could be seen. Running on north to Dunstanburgh, he bumped into the Percy Hunt who were having a merry time on the crags behind the castle. He watched them for a while, before heading back to Boulmer.

In the evening he put the finishing touches to his New Year Resolutions, namely:
1 Race on the fells/countryside not the roads
2 Drink real ale not keg beer whilst in the UK
3 Be thankful for your health, count your blessings, and generally enter eulogise mode a la Rev T

YC last had a pint of keg beer in October (and is still in therapy recovering from the trauma). Not wishing to fall into this trap again, he repaired to the Tynemouth Lodge armed with The Times crossword. After satisfying resolution 2 with a couple of pints of the necessary and completion of the said crossword, resolution 3 was easily attained.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Hillforts & Headaches

YC saw the New Year in with an uphill only run at Rothbury. The Hillforts & Headaches Race starts at the Newcastle Hotel, passes through Lordenshaws car park, and finishes on Beacon Hill (the first hill on the Simonside ridge). It's only 3 miles. But of course, there's then a 3 mile jog downhill again to the finish. With a record 76 in the field, YC didn't trouble the leading runners - Phil Sanderson won at a canter followed by Lee Bennett. YC crossed the line in approx 28 mins. However all that running has given him a thirst. As Rev T would say - "I've had my tea..."

left - the elite runners discuss tactics at the start. Paul Hainsworth, Geoff & Susan Davis and Keith Cooper
right - Rob Stephens at the finish
below - summit marshals Peter Reed & Paul Appleby wrap up warm against the chill at the finish.