Sunday, 22 May 2011

Old County Tops 2011

"rehydration in the Old Dungeon Ghyll with John & Scott"

YC was back for his annual crack at the Old County Tops Fell Race yesterday. This epic 37 miler is held in Great Langdale (Lake District) and takes in the high points of the old counties of Westmorland (Helvellyn), Cumberland (Scafell Pike) and Lancashire (Coniston Old Man). The race was made doubly difficult by YC feeling unwell throughout: a sore stomach and nausea made eating sufficient food nigh on impossible. 37 miles becomes even longer when you tackle it on a twix, a couple of pieces of malt loaf, and a few wine gums.

YC didn’t feel great from the off. After ticking off Helvellyn, the rot set in on the climb up Wythburn and around to Angle Tarn. YC hit a low point at Esk Hause (about half way round), but then recovered for the climb over Scafell Pike and the run down Mosedale to the checkpoint at Cockleybeck. Endless supplies of butties and cake were on offer there, but YC had to content himself with a cup of tea and pushed straight on for the climb up the back of Grey Friar.

He took stock just below the col and decided he could make it out to Coniston Old Man, despite the forecast wind and rain arriving with a vengeance. So he hobbled on and finally made it back to Great Langdale in just over 10 hours.

The race is run in pairs. YC was running with Scott Gibson. As hopes of a fast time evaporated and the priority changed simply to finishing, Scott was endlessly supportive and cajoled YC round with wine gums and good cheer. He even waited patiently 30 minutes from the finish when YC had to sit down for 5 minutes in a vain effort to get his act together.

YC was duly sick at the end – and then miraculously began to feel a bit better. He even managed a half of bitter (which is not code for several pints) in the Old Dungeon Ghyll later on.

Graham Walton & Dave Gunning were the first NFR pair home. Paul Myers and Nick Wild weren’t far behind, and John Telfer & Simon were pleased to crack 10 hours. YC was pleased just to finish. When Graham asked him – “did you enjoy that?” – he gave the honest answer “not really”. But as the pain of the day fades and the satisfaction of finishing increases, YC will wear his T-shirt with pride and can say for certain – he’ll be back next year.

Monday, 16 May 2011

It's all go...

In a packed weekend, YC can report that:

1 James "details" Duff can still recite the heights of Cheviot and Hedgehope, and correctly identified Old Cheviot's route last weekend as the Chevy Chase. James doesn't usually drink beer, but will make an exception on this occasion and accept Old Cheviot's proffered pint.

2 Pat Duff has been visiting Gill & Brian Jackson in Teddington. They enjoyed a convivial lunch with cousin Ruth Walker in her allotment (see photo of Gill, Brian & Ruth above). YC notes that in addition to the usual vegetables etc, the allotment also appears to produce wine. Are Walker Wines about to take the licensing world by storm?

3 YC was over in the Lake District for a training run with Scott Gibson. Despite zero visibility and rain/wind, they managed to recce a couple of the fellrace routes over Scafell Pike.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Fellrunning with Old Cheviot

Old Cheviot parked by the white metalled bridge and headed up the side valley. It was 8 30 am and the early rain was just clearing. As he past the restored shepherd's cottage, he was running in splendid isolation with just the skylarks for company. He reached his highpoint half an hour later. The Fell Runners Association has decided in their wisdom to classify races in metric measurements, but readers will be reassured to know that OC remains firmly rooted in the past and so still thinks of the summit as 2676 ft high.

Turning hard left at the summit, he stirred his aged bones into action for the steep descent, before picking his way to the next hill at 2343 feet. After another steep downhill section, he enjoyed the run along the broad ridge past some crags and a corner until his path brought him full circle to his starting point.

Can any reader guess the route of OC's fellrun? A glass of the finest (served in a strictly imperial pint measure) will be awarded to the first correct answer.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Easter & May Day sailing

YC has spent 10 days sailing on the fine crafts Mimosa & Stella Genesta on The Norfolk Broads. This was his first sail of the year. Haunts visited included Thorpe St Andrew & Loddon on Mimosa, and Berney & Oulton on Stella. The wind picked up significantly over the week, and by the Green Wyvern May Day cruise Stella was sailing with 3 reefs and a storm jib - something not seen for several years. Readers will be surprised to learn that YC sampled the odd half of beer (as the weather was warm at times). The award for the best beer goes to the Adnams at The Three Horseshoes (North Cove) by a short head (boom boom).

left - Andy & Lois sailing up Reedham Street on Easter Saturday
right - reefing on the lower Yare in chillier conditions

left - the May Day fleet at Oulton Broad
right - a party for the Royal Wedding (the Buckingham Palace invitations got lost in the post) complete with tacky bunting

left - Mimosa leaves the Berney with 2 reefs down
right - an Old Hand in his element, flying the F40 signal for Dick & Jan Farrar's ruby wedding

a rare sight - Stella with 3 reefs down approaching The Beauchamp.
photo from Lois.

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