Category Archives: Social Run

The Beer Belly Fun Run, Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pam Kirkup

Very Jolly Hockey Sticks!At first I thought this a ridiculous concept – run 5 x 1K laps around a pub, drink a half of beer after each lap plus a disgusting “snack” or canapé – I’m a Celebrity style – and then down a pint after the final lap. Apparently, such events occur all over the country – mainly as a fun way of raising funds for charity. And this is exactly what the Beer Belly Run was all about.

The Grey Horse pub in Consett has been supporting the fundraising for Parkinson’s UK, organised by Ian Pratt of Blackhill Bounders since early this year after a local teacher was diagnosed with the condition. This was the latest event and Paul & I decided to enter – and run in fancy dress which was “positively encouraged” on the entry form.

We turned up at the pub yesterday – a St Trinian’s schoolgirl and a pirate – for the 3pm start. There were 3 Elvis impersonators running, a gangster and his moll, Batman and a fat bloke dressed as a baby to mention just a few of the costumes. There were also quite a few Blackhill Bounders who clearly meant business! Some of them had disappeared for a half hour warm up session – and then there was the “pre-race stretching”. A mystery to most of the spectators! Paul striking a dignified pose

So we set off at a leisurely pace – Paul & I were running together! Hampered by a hockey stick and a boater that kept blowing off, I think I slowed things down a bit but then it wasn’t really about the time. First lap done and the half to down and the “snack” to face – drivers (me) and “schoolgirls” (also me) were excused the half pint – not the snack – but had to do a 10 second penalty. Well, by the time Paul had drunk his half the 10 seconds were well over! And so it continued until we finished and the landlady gave me a well-earned glass of wine. The fasted male was a Blackhill Bounder in 21 minutes, his wife was fastest female and oddly enough the fastest team was also the ‘warming up’ brigade from Blackhill Bounders. There are no ‘results’ or times but it was a great afternoon. £757 was raised for Parkinson’s on the day. The Rag Pickers band played to entertain the troops all afternoon and they were fantastic – they even did a lap playing their instruments.

Ian Pratt tells me that Blackhill Bounders might put out a challenge to Elvet Striders for next year’s team event … so if you’re interested in a really good day out you might consider getting a team together. Five runners to run 1 leg each!

Howgills Barn Weekend, nr Sedbergh, Saturday, March 29, 2014

Shaun Roberts

Yes, that is Angela in that thing.Many thanks to Nigel for once again organising a great weekend in the Howgills! And this time he organised some decent weather as well, which really helped. The north-east may have been lost under sea-frets from the east, but the Howgills were warm, dry and even sunny. The barn was all very civilised, and there was good food and crack on the Friday night. On the Saturday a decent group headed off to the west for the day, and seventeen miles of hills, including Randygill Top, Yarlside, Cautley Spout and The Calf, whilst three walkers had it just slightly easier, on a good day out.

The Howgills!

The new choice of pub, the Dalesman in Sedbergh was a good one, with great food and a good selection of beers: many thanks to Angela and Mike for driving the lot of us over there.

Lunch stop in an artwork by Andrew Goldsworthy

More good crack after that, then Sunday brought a now-traditional climb through the ‘Clouds’ (i.e. limestone pavements) and on up to Wild Boar Fell in balmy conditions. After a rest on the beach at Sand Tarn, we reached the top, with earily atmospheric views across the Mallerstang valley, through cloud and sun. Then down the hillside for bacon, eggs and beans, helpfully cooked by Mandy this time, standing in for our usual chef, this year sadly elsewhere. Great stuff … so many thanks, Nigel, for once again doing the honours.

Here are a few more of his excellent photos for a taste of proceedings … see link below for the full set.

Still snow up here.Setting off up Yarlside. Life's a beach.Scene at High White Scar.

August Annual Club Run and BBQ, Waldridge Fell, Wednesday, August 7, 2013

David Shipman

As part of the continuing fantastic summer weather, the club run took place in beautiful sunshine, which lasted until the end of the night, so things couldn’t have been better for the crowd of sweaty runners, charred meat, smoked veg and fruit eaters, friends, family and dogs who stood chatting around the BBQs until after 10 p.m. The run followed a meandering route for an hour, taking in a mixture of clear paths, head-high ferns, viscious nettles and brambles, a few hard hills, several bridges and two cooldowns paddling across streams. Because of the heavy rain on Monday several sections were overgrown, very green and lush.

Mandy waits for her enormous corn cob.

As ever, folk new to the fell were amazed it is there and said they never knew about it, some veterans of several such runs still said they didn’t have a clue where we were or where we went to. Susan and Geoff said it should be listed for extra Harrier League training sessions.

A fine array of burnt offerings ...

After the run a sumptuous supper of great variety was produced. Alister won the prize for eating the most burgers, Danny definitely ate the most food, Jules had the fattest sausage, Mike the stumpiest carrot and Mandy the biggest corn cob. Most impressive veggie delight had to be Carolin’s kebabs. As ever, Angela drank the most tea.

Colin’s ‘Leaving Do’ Social Run, Nr. Blanchland, Saturday, April 20, 2013

6 miles

Shaun Roberts

Colin explains that this is a 'leat' (also lete or leet, or millstream) - an artificial watercourse or aqueduct dug into the ground, especially one supplying water to a watermill or its mill pond, or as here for the delivery of water for mineral washing and other purposes. OK? Onwards ...

Many thanks to Colin and Elfie for organising a lovely run and walk from their house on Saturday! A couple of dozen Striders arrived on their doorstep on a beautiful sunny afternoon for gorgeous trips round lovely local bits of the North Pennines – great to be out running in the sunshine for once – and a first from Colin’s place, I have to add. Afterwards, we were supplied with a great spread, including sandwiches, cakes and cheesecake … all very welcome. We took the opportunity to pass on a thank-you gift of a crate of Durham Brewery ales as a token of appreciation for Colin’s hard work over the years on this very website – he will be sorely missed, though we hope he’ll still be available on the end of an email should extreme need arises. 😉

Once again, heartfelt gratitude from me and all the club! So long, and thanks for all the fish …

Come back Colin! All is forgiven ...

Howgills Barn Weekend, nr Sedbergh, Saturday, March 9, 2013

Shaun Roberts

Many thanks to Nigel for once again organising a great weekend in the Howgills!

The Howgills!

The barn was as good as last time, as was the crack and the food on the Friday night. We had two running groups heading off onto the fells in epic snowy and windy conditions on the Saturday, plus walkers doing their own thing – also Jan doing the Dentdale Run. After the best part of five hours on the hills, we were ready for a spot of leisurely rugby-watching in the pub in Ravenstonedale, with good beer and food and more crack back in the barn. Sunday brought a bitter chill to the wind, but amazingly by five past nine we were all outside again and heading out for the top of Great Boar Fell. More snow and ice, also great views, before the weather closed in and we legged it back down the hillside for bacon, sausage, eggs, toast … all of which were very welcome. Great stuff … so many thanks once again, Nigel, for making this all happen.

Here are a few of Nigel’s excellent photos (see link below) for a taste of proceedings …

We're not going out in that weather, are we? Oh yes we are, says Geoff, demob-happy at the prospect of imminent retirement.

Laura, Rachel and Susan following Dave up into the mist.Quite a bit of snow around.
Dave and Rachel heading up Wild Boar Fell.The rush down for a bacon sandwich.

If anyone has any idea how these wild horses ended up in the Howgills, please get in touch!

Pam’s Sunday Social Run, Allensford, Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shaun, Pam and Till

Photo-shoot in the Derwent Valley.

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.

Waterfall swollen with meltwater.This stuff was *cold*.

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:

Kim out and about on her new hips! 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.

No end of melt-water about ... 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.

Santa’s Present Run, North Pennines, Sunday, December 9, 2012

Santa Claus

Ho ho ho Elvet Striders,

A few weeks ago I got a letter from a not-so-little boy who is a member of your club. Here’s what it said:

Dear Father Christmas,Each summer a wonderful running club from Consett called Blackhill Bounders organise a free race called the Snods 6. They also put on a feast of free food. They always invite my club, Elvet Striders, to come along and enjoy the race, the food and the craic. It’s a great evening out and is much appreciated by all Striders. I hope that you can arrange for Blackhill Bounders to get a present this year to thank them for their generosity. And, I have an idea…

Every year a little before Christmas Blackhill Bounders deck a lone tree up near Bolts Law in the North Pennines. It would be great if you could leave a present under the tree for them this year. I’ve heard that they are decking the tree on the 9th of December this year. I know it’s a little early for deliveries and you’re probably very busy but if you could do this for me I promise to be a good boy… next year.

Thank you.

How could I resist a trip to the snowy North Pennines? But what gift would suit some runners who’d just run the 6 miles over the moors from Edmundbyers? Home made mince pies! I set the elves onto baking some fresh mince pies while I planned a nice 5K run. I certainly wasn’t going to break my North Pole parkrun PB – but the trick there is that I use the International Date Line to my advantage. Talk about negative splits, I manage a negative PB every time!

As the 9th dawned there had been a little bit of a thaw overnight taking away the snowy beauty but it would certainly make the running a little easier. I parked the sleigh in my usual spot atop one of the old smelting chimneys near Bolts Law. I still love to come down a chimney given half a chance, not enough chimney opportunities these days and these chimneys are magnificent. I made sure to put Donner and Blitzen in charge of parking again this year. The one year I let Rudolph park he spent so much time admiring his own nose we ended up taking the top stones off the chimney, to this day the locals think it was a light aircraft that damaged the chimney – don’t tell them Striders!

Lone tree with presentWith the sleigh tethered – the winds up there were quite high – I dropped down the chimney and set out to the lone tree. I left the carefully wrapped pies wedged under the tree – where else! – so I do hope the Bounders found them. Then it was a quick run up Bolts Law, not bad for a chubby old fella, and back round to the sleigh before the Blackhill Bounders turned up. A few minutes later I was back at the North Pole with a hot coffee waiting for me courtesy of the chief Elf.

Merry Christmas Blackhill Bounders!

Merry Christmas Elvet Striders!

Merry Christmas everybody!

Ho ho ho!