Monday, 28 February 2011

a trip to Murrayfield

Scotland played Ireland at Murrayfield yesterday. Sunshine and light winds made for good conditions and an exciting game. Scotland (as is their wont) were always behind. Ireland scored 3 converted tries, with Scotland keeping in touch through kicks from Chris Paterson & Dan Parks. Despite a late rally by Scotland, Ireland held out to win 21-18.

Richie Gray had a storming game for Scotland - with his blonde hair he was very noticeable. Another very blonde (some might say white) haired gentleman had brought his boots to the game and was hoping for a late call-up to the subs' bench. In the end Andy Robinson decided that Rev T's services were not required and so he took his place in the stand instead. But with Scotland now facing England at Twickenham next, Rev T will be polishing his boots just in case. You never know....

left - at the game, Mr & Mrs Rev T, Chris Smith, YC
right - faithful Scottish supporters Rita & Lesley

left - Dan Parks lines up another penalty
right - Ronan O'Gara re-starts for Ireland

Friday, 25 February 2011

NZ photos and Avalanche Peak Race detailed report

YC's photos from his New Zealand trip are here

and a more detailed report on the Avalanche Peak Race on the NFR website is here .

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Avalanche Peak Race

left - runners approach the summit of Avalanche Peak
right - leaving the summit

left - following the ridge, the summit of AP is upper left
right - at the finish

YNZC ran the Avalanche Peak Challenge on Saturday. This 22k mountain race is held at Arthurs Pass, NZ. It climbs 1,100 metres to the summit of Avalanche Peak (1,833 metres), heads along a spectacular ridge, then descends a scree run into the remote Crow Valley. After following a trail of sorts down the Crow River, it ends with an extremely stony run out along the Waimakariri River to the finish at the Bealey Hotel. YNZC managed all this in 3 hours 17 mins and finished 27th out of approx 170 runners. After the race, there was time for a couple of post race beers and chat with fellow competitors.

Addendum - Your Correspondent is now back in the UK. In case any readers were wondering, he flew out of Christchurch 24 hours before the earthquake that struck on Monday. So he was very fortunate indeed not to be caught up in it. Many of the runners at Avalanche Peak were based in Christchurch. So the news is sad and rather sobering.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Sunshine at Liverpool Hut

left - Liverpool Hut; right - all good trampers wear Ron Hills

left - trampers at Liverpool Hut; right - Mount Aspiring from the hut

above - solitude for an early morning walk out of the Matukituki

YNZC's last tramp for this sojourn in New Zealand has been to Liverpool Hut in the Matukituki Valley. This hut must rank of one of the most scenic in NZ - you can see Mount Aspiring from the comfort of your sleeping bag in the hunt. After 10 days of at times variable weather, high pressure is now firmly in control. It's currently wall to wall sunshine in Wanaka, and the swimming in the lake is beautiful. YNZC is bearing up under the strain...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Cascade Saddle tramping

beer at the finish
from the left - Liz, Richard, Lewis, Milton and Ruth

left - Dart Glacier from Cascade Saddle
right - Mount Aspiring from Pylon

Cascade Saddle must be one of the most scenic spots in New Zealand. YNZC was fortunate to climb it in perfect weather. The views of Mount Aspiring and the Dart Glacier were quite stunning. YNZC walked out via the Dart River which was also beautiful. En-route he met a couple of trampers from the north-east (Liz from Newcastle and Richard from Middlesbrough), and Milton & Ruth from Dunedin who provided beer at the finish and a lift to Queenstown (thanks guys). YNZC is now back in Wanaka where he is considering his next tramp (likely to be in Aspiring National Park) and slaking the raging tramper's thirst (naturally).

Monday, 7 February 2011

in the Kai Bar

The Kai Bar in Wanaka sells "award winning local ale on tap". Whilst it's not real ale, the Cardrona Gold is very quaffable, and YNZC has been sampling the odd half or two in the pleasant company of two Aussies. It emerged that they are keen on Monty Python. But to avoid any confusion, readers should note that their names aren't Bruce; rather they are Chris (on the left) and Pete.

After several days of unsettled weather, the next few days are set fine. So YNZC is off up the Matukituki valley today to tramp Cascade Saddle and the Dart River track.

Roy's Peak

YNZC got some fellrunning training in today with a trip up Roy's Peak. This hill sits above Wanaka and looks a simple climb. In reality it packs in 4,000 ft of ascent which certainly keeps the limbs in trim. There wasn't much view from the top as the cloud was down, so instead here is a view of Lake Wanaka taken from the hill. Not being a hardened runner like John Telfer, YNZC was (fairly) abstemious last night. However with the raging runner's thirst now worked up, readers should note that YNZC has just had his tea...

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Gillespie Pass Tramp

left - Mt Awful seen from the approach to Gillespie Pass
right - Crucible Lake

left - jet boating on the Wilkin
right - trampers cross Crucible Stream before the rain arrives

YNZC has been tramping the Wilkin/Young circuit at Makarora. Heavy rainfall meant that the rivers were uncrossable and a jet boat ride necessary to access the tramp. The weather was unpredictable with some heavy rain, but fortunately YNZC managed to avoid the worst of it, only taking one half hour soaking. He visited Crucible Lake and climbed Gillespie Pass (1629 metres). He also learned how quickly NZ rivers can rise - 2 Israeli trampers got caught out by the heavy rain, couldn't cross the river back to the hut, and spent a wet night in the bush waiting for the river to drop.

He is now back in Wanaka where he attended St Columba's Church this morning. The congregation was very welcoming, and he enjoyed giving the hymns full welly including Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken (tune - German National Anthem). YNZC has also been slaking the raging tramper's thirst with some Cardrona Gold at the Kai Bar in company with Chris & Peter from Victoria, Aus. As one reader of BN has commented, "there's a regular pattern developing after each of your tramps..."