Friday 23rd March Janet and I hitched a lift with Pete and Ursula to travel up to Pooley Bridge in the Lake District for the annual Otley AC training weekend, we missed last year so were really looking forward to this one. The Friday morning run was to be from the Sun Inn at 11.30 am ,we were a bit early but basked in the unseasonal temperatures which were fortunately forecast for the whole weekend, 20c plus with clear skies. Our route master, Colin Best, had once again done an excellent job with a variety of training runs for the weekend, all previously e mailed, and once again most of us hadn't a clue where we were going. The Wetherby AC contingent arrived and we set off down the banks of the River Eamont, the river that feeds the beautiful Ullswater lake, and on to the ancient church at Barton. It was then a steady climb to other side of the valley up to Heughscar Hill and some stunning views over Ullswater and then a quick descent back to the pub car park, after all it was opening time, run was around 5 miles. Refreshments were had outdoors in the beer garden, not bad for March, and then onto Park Foot and our accommodation. As usual we were sharing to keep costs down but very impressed with the site and the posh hut we were in. Later in the afternoon some were off for their second run, around 5 miles, and some settled down to start a large jig saw, an idea started by Colin. Food that night for most was back at the Sun Inn, probably around 30 of us so it was a bit noisy, good to see Phil Robinson, despite his problems.
Saturday 24th After much debating on Friday night re the Saturday morning run the majority wanted to get the bus to Patterdale and run back along the Ullswater lakeside, the distance seemed to vary depending who you listened to. This meant an early start which I didn't fancy so Ursula and I decided to run from the hut onto Barton Fell. Once again the weather was superb and we followed the prescribed route but could not find the path that was supposed to take us down to Howtown so we more or less doubled back, great run, around 7 miles. The main group followed us back in to Park Foot and they also had really enjoyed their run, time for refreshments again. In the afternoon a few of us decided to get the Lake Steamer ( it's now diesel) to Howtown and walk back to Park Foot, only about 3 miles but very enjoyable in the warm weather. Had long chat with Claire from Wetherby AC who was recovering from a nasty head on collision a few weeks before, very lucky to be there at all. In the evening we were invited to the Wetherby hut for a curry ( after all I am a second claim member) and the now infamous Tom Hannah quiz which you do whether you like it or not.
Sunday 25th With such a lot of runners (around 50) dotted around Pooley Bridge and such a difference in pace levels there were quite a few different groups on the Sunday morning. Trusting in Ursulas map reading skills a few of set off for a steady 6 miles. The route took us along the River Eamont eventually to Dalemain House and across to the lovely village of Dacre and back through Pooley Bridge to our hut, very sociable, really enjoyable. The afternoon was the social nosh up put on by Barbara and Dave Hainsworth who were staying in a cottage opposite the Sun Inn. Once again an excellent spread followed by a new event , a social sing along, if singing is the correct description, the weather allowing this to take place on the huge lawn at the back of the cottage. My thoughts are that a lot of us better stick to running but many thanks to Rogan and his guitar for trying to maintain something that sounded like a song. A quick hop over to the Sun Inn to finish off the weekend for some, a good chat about the weekends events and everyone seemed to have had a good time.
Monday 26th No running this morning as we had to be out of the hut by 10 am. A few of were meeting up near Appleby for a short walk and a pub lunch to finish off the long weekend. The weather was still superb, Janet saw lots of primroses, one of her favourites, and we watched a woodpecker in action which was nice, but not as nice as the pub lunch. On the way back over the A66 we all agreed it had once again been a cracking weekend and my personal thanks to Tom, Colin, Barbara and Dave and anyone else I have missed for their work that goes into putting on this annual event . PS. The jig saw didn't get finished.