Many thanks to Pam and Paul for organising a great run and walk on Sunday! Twenty or so Striders and guests turned up at the car park in Allensford, which somehow managed to be both icy and slushy … a sign of things to come. Paul Foster lead us along a beck to the west, coming quickly to a bridge for an early photo-shoot, and a view of a waterfall, swollen with melt-water. Then we climbed through fields, then made our way along a country lane in complete flood. Cold freezing feet all round now … luckily the rest of the route wasn’t quite so soggy. As we got onto the C2C to head back east towards Rowley, we had the choice of foot-deep snow to run in, or rutted wet tracks through the stuff – I opted for lots of knee-exercise, for the most part, which kept the feet dry, and the sweat flowing.
On now to the Hownsgill Viaduct, and great views in bright sunshine for miles. This Victorian edifice is being fitted out with anti-suicide fencing, that to my mind will not improve it’s looks one bit … and, I suspect not deter the more enterprising, get-up-and-go type of suicider anyway! Lovely snowy descent back to the River Derwent and a riverbank return to Allensford. Eight miles, but the best part of two hours running through all the snow. Many thanks, Paul – an epic run in those conditions.
Pam lead a lovely walk in the Derwent Valley at the same time as the run. Then off to the Punch Bowl at Edmondbyers for a great lunch, washed down by a choice of excellent beers.
A Sunday well-spent! Any more Sunday Run possibilities, folks?
… Pam adds:
Twenty runners/walkers turned up on a bright but chilly morning. Sadly the car park proved to be more difficult than the previous day – firm snow had transformed into slippery mounds of very skiddy stuff. But we managed and set off. The river banks were soft, slushy and slippery in parts but the main feature (hazard?) of the day was flooding – of varying depths and difficulty. At one point the bank was being submerged by the rapidly expanding river so we had to dodge around a tree to avoid it. Then there was a dash through a ‘lake’ to cross the stile in a field and finally a farm track which had become a mini stream! Various ‘river crossing’ techniques were applied while others looked on in amazement (amusement?).
However, it was a bright sunny day, the views were spectacular and we just had such a laugh. Eventually we all arrived at the Punch Bowl for an excellent lunch. ‘Man of the Match’ for me was Till who managed to run 19+ miles from Durham straight to the pub – and still arrived before the rest of us! Amazing!
I’d just like to thank everyone who braved the conditions for what was a really enjoyable day.
… and Till Sawala:
The Striders social run, combined with a Sunday lunch in Edmundbyers, looked like an excellent opportunity for a long run into previously uncharted territories.
After the thawing and freezing of the past few days had turned the soft snow cover on the railway lines into an icy obstacle course, I decided to swap the trail shoes for a pair of normal running shoes, and hit the roads instead. I left Durham heading east on the A691, through Witton Gilbert and towards Lanchester. The cycle lane turned out to be impassable, and the right side of the road littered with puddles and running water, so I kept to the left side – not recommended on a weekday, but on this Sunday morning, there was very little in the way of traffic (perhaps Andy Murray had something to do with it?). In Lanchester, I left the A road, and after a short detour, turned left onto quiet Newbiggin Lane. I crossed the railway line, only to confirm my earlier decision, and headed straight west. On the climb towards Humber Hill Lane, the going got considerably more difficult, as water was streaming down towards me. However, reaching the crest, I was more than compensated for wet feet by spectacular views of the snow covered countryside.
I turned right when I reached Longedge Lane, and right again to join the A68 towards Castleside. From here, the road descended steeply towards Allensford and the River Derwent, only to rise again equally steeply on the other side. I took the climb very slowly, navigating frequent puddles and looking out for occasional cars. Upon spotting the Derwent Reservoir in the distance, I took a left turn at Caterway Heads, onto the B6278. Another fast descent was followed by a gradual climb towards Edmundbyers, where I quickly spotted the Fruit Bowl [ Very close! Ed. ], and was soon joined by other Striders. A well-deserved pint or two, and delicious (vegetarian) lunch in great company followed. Special thanks go to Shaun, who lent me a warm fleece, to Pam who organised the event, and to Jan who gave me a lift back to Durham! For the record: 32.5 km (19.6 mi) with 486 m (1594 ft) climbed in 2:46.
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