> Simonside Cairns Recce - Phil Green

18th November 2007

Good turn-out on Sunday morning for what promised to be a rather cold and wet recce of the Simonside Cairns route. Paul A, Graham, John Dallinson, Chris Little, Allon, Garry Owens, Bernard, Geoff Scott and myself all gathered for around nine-thirtyish. Two degrees was the air temp on Allon's car in the car park!

The run up past the new hospital got the blood pumping and sweat flowing, and the trot up to Lordenshaws was punctuated by a short stop to gather up tail-end-Charlie me! (Sans inhalers and in cold air, wheezing like a pit pony.) Weather was drizzle/light rain and rather cold, wet feet felt it in fell shoes. The run up round the back to Spylaw was canny, not too clarty or wet; and the run round to Coquet Cairn and the short run through the woods were OK. We took a break entering the woods for a jelly baby.

The bit over the moss to Selby's Cove was, to say the least, moist! Hovercraft needed if it rains much more. Next came the burn crossing: head left of the fence at the no-barbed-wire section and then stay wide left of the fence when crossing the burn. If you don't, it's a bit deep if you don't clear it in one leap on the main path. Then the long drag up through the heather: path is rather overgrown at mo but may die back by the race.

The top of Simonside was peppered with snow and some lying in the dyke back. Nice fast run down over clarty peat (which showed the shortcomings of my Montrail short studs - Mudclaws on race day for me!) to muster in the Lordenshaws car park. Then back down from Lordenshaws with kamikaze Garry and Geoff coming zooming past Allon and me on the steep descent. We regrouped again then headed back into Rothbury, with John, Garry and Geoff zooming down again (Garry and John looking well after lay-offs for injury).

Weather was cold-wettish but not as bad as promised and all were glad to head off for a warm lunch.

Great laugh and a good run. Thanks to Paul for rallying the troops.

Phil Green

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