> club weekends

Kielder Weekend

31st March - 1st April 2007

NFR celebrated its 10th anniversary with a weekend at Kielder Youth Hostel.

On Saturday there was a mass recce of the Kielder Borderer. People started at different times; some ran round, others walked. Some found the path by the Border fence-posts, others didn’t and experienced instead the waist-high Kielder heather. Some thought 17 miles around the Borderer was sufficient, whilst others had warmed up with a Friday night bike-ride and bivvy. But wherever they went, the sun shone and a cooling easterly breeze blew: it was a perfect day to be in the hills.

In the evening the Anglers Arms supplied some excellent Tyneside Blonde ale as an aperitif to sausage casserole and sticky toffee pudding in the hostel. After dinner, Karen Robertson was quiz master and Steph Scott produced a delicious cake bedecked in NFR colours. Matt Simms had forgotten his water bottle in his haste, but had remembered his bottle of Bells for which the assembled company was deeply grateful.

Sunday dawned clear and sunny, offering the prospect of another beautiful day. Simon Banks led a posse of cyclists into Scotland; John Dallinson and Old Cheviot trotted up Greys Pike; and others preferred a more leisured walk around the reservoir.

It was a great weekend, and many thanks are due to our organiser in chief Geoff Davis. Roll on the next 10 years.

John Duff

Buttermere Weekend

12th & 13th November 2005

Old Cheviot eased into his chair at The Bridge Hotel with a pint of Buttermere Bitter and reflected on an enjoyable day on the fells. 20 members and friends of NFR had climbed the first fell – Red Pike. From there David Armstrong, who was on a mission to run up every hill, had led the fast group down into Ennerdale and up to Haycock. Chris Little and Katherine Davis had followed behind and opted for Steeple, whilst Team Davis had climbed directly to Pillar – discovering en–route that time and tide wait for no man, not even A Wainwright: their intended path through the woods had disappeared necessitating a 20 minutes detour. Those who chose a more leisured pace had followed the High Stile ridge, which proved difficult in itself due to the low cloud, wind, and poor visibility.

Most runners returned via Scarth Gap and wound their way to The Walkers Bar at The Bridge. There the memories of the day improved as the beers slipped effortlessly down. Soon even Old Cheviot was convinced that he had run up Red Pike with Dexter, descended like a mountain goat to Ennerdale with John Dallinson, and climbed smartly up Haycock with Paul Hainsworth. There were even tales of a raven circling Looking Stead, following the lead lady, Karen Robertson in case she lost the path.

Later at the hostel an excellent meal was enjoyed by all. After dinner Chris felt inspired to join the choirmaster in some community singing with his backing group the Whitley Bay Wailers. There was even a literary theme to round off the evening with Jane Saul and Martin Scott proving that they could order chicken in French whilst simultaneously guessing your weight.

On Sunday the sun came out, the wind fell out, and it was a glorious day. At breakfast Matt Simms provided the comedy moment of the weekend by contriving to sit on his boiled egg. On the hills, Geoff & co ticked off Grasmoor and several surrounding peaks, whilst Paul and Chris were route finders for a group around the Buttermere Horseshoe. As if by magic, everyone found themselves back in The Bridge for a debriefing drink before wending their way home.

A great weekend. Many thanks to our organiser in chief, Geoff Davis.

John Duff

Wast Water weekend

5th & 6th February 2005

“I'm sure we were higher up on the Wasdale. There should be a path through the top of those screes.” Geoff gestured at the rough-looking screes below the crags on Kirk Fell. The chaps duly trooped off to look for the Davis Traverse, whilst the ladies wisely stuck to the path. We never did find the elusive traverse, though Paul O'Hara was able to point out Joss's Gully which was a handy shortcut on the Ennerdale Horseshoe.

The day had started 2 hours earlier at Seathwaite. 10 NFR runners and friends, comprising the Borrowdale arm of the Wast Water weekend, climbed up Sour Milk Gill under leaden skies bound for Wasdale. The cloud and sleet on Green Gable meant there was little time to linger at the top. Descending to Windy Gap and then across to Beck Head, we passed John & Kath Dallinson who were taking the 'leisurely' walking route over Great Gable where they reported thick snow.

Having traversed round Kirk Fell to Black Sail Pass, we descended to Wasdale Head where, encouraged by Stewart Gardner and Charlotte Roberts, we partook of some light refreshments in the public house: the local Great Gable Bitter was excellent. Suitably fortified, the party climbed over Illgill Head in the afternoon where we caught up with those who had made their way from Coniston. After a group photo on the summit, Jerry Sharp led the charge on the steep descent to the Wast Water Hostel.

A convivial evening in the hostel was boosted by the plentiful supply of beer and wine on sale (youth hostels have moved on since I last visited one), and songs and chat. The evening finished with a closely fought game of Trivial Pursuits where the boys, led by the doyen of pub quizzes Keith Cooper, narrowly beat the girls.

The next day dawned clear and just a tad early for some. But everyone made it back to their various destinations. The Coniston party set off on another Jane Grundy route–march (or in Philip Addyman's case – sprint), while the Borrowdale group headed up to Greendale Tarn before contouring round to Scoat Fell and on to Pillar. Here the lunchtime snow-shower made for a chilly stop in the summit wind–shelter.

The Davis Traverse was as elusive as ever on Kirk Fell. But Geoff's honour was restored when the O'Hara Traverse from Beck Head proved to be another Lakeland myth. A fast descent from Windy Gap to Styhead kept the quads in shape, before the final scramble down Taylorgill Force brought us to journey's end and a well–earned pint in the Scafell Hotel.

Many thanks to Philip Addyman who suggested the weekend and Geoff Davis who organised it. Roll on the next one!

John Duff

> top