> favourite training runs

Border Ridge, Upper Coquetdale

My favourite training run is along the Border Ridge in upper Coquetdale. It's quiet, airy, and on a good day the views are spectacular. Park at the National Park site at Barrowburn (GR 866 104) a few miles above Alwinton. The run is circular with a section on the road — so knock this off first by heading up the valley for a couple of miles to Carlcroft, a small farm nestling behind some trees. Take the bike-track up Carlcroft Hill. As the bike-track swings right near the top of the hill, look out for a stile on the left behind some wire meshing. Here the path could best be described as "indistinct". So follow your nose past an old corrugated iron shelter, before dropping down to the ruins of Yearning Hall. You are likely to be running in splendid isolation with only the skylarks and possibly a heron in the Blind Burn for company. From Yearning Hall, a good track leads half left to the mountain rescue hut at Yearning Saddle on the Border Ridge. Sign the visitors book in the hut if you wish, then follow the Pennine Way east over Lamb Hill and Beefstand Hill to Windy Gyle. The latter usually lives up to its name, but the views from the top are excellent with Hownam Law prominent to the north, Cheviot on display to the north-east, and the Otterburn Ranges extending seemingly endlessly to the south. Keep following the Pennine Way for another mile until you reach Clennell Street. Here a good track takes you south along the flank of Hazely Law, before a final climb over Middle Hill and down to the finish at Barrowburn.

The run is about 15 miles long, has 2,000 ft of climbing, and will take you about 2.5 hours. Some of the Pennine Way is protected with flagstones to prevent erosion. So you might prefer to run in off-road trainers rather than fell-shoes. All in all, it's well worth the effort.

John Duff

Long Crag and Thrunton Woods

My favourite run is at Long Crag and Thrunton Woods. At the turn off to Thrunton Woods park at the first entrance into the plantation. From there you get a gently rising slope up to Long Crag. Stop awhile at the summit to take in the view. To the South are the Simonside Hills and to the North the summits of Cheviot and Hedgehope. From Long Crag you descend steeply to the valley and then ascend to the northern edge of Callaly, along the escarpment (very muddy in winter) and then descend through Thrunton Woods to the valley floor from which you ascend crags to the East of Long Crag by the steepest route of the day before returning through the plantation to the car.

To avoid the mud on the escarpment I have thought about exploring Callaly and maybe climbing Castle Hill. It is mature woodland which gives the impression of not having been touched by man.

Apart from the views this run offers a variety of moorland and plantation on generally good tracks except the Callaly section which is becoming seriously eroded and is closed from October to April to reduce erosion.

Paul Jameson

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