Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Causey Arch Run

Maybe they didn’t mean it when NH3 bid me farewell at the circle on Run 859, ‘cause I was back to Newcastle, to New Kent Hotel and to NH3 for the first run in June, Run No. 876. The English Summer was in - a heady mix of cool breeze, bright sunshine and intermittent drizzle, near perfect for some long countryside runs.

The Bullocks family were setting the trail in the Durham countryside starting at the Causey Arch Inn & Keko’s Restorante & Pizzeria on Marley Hill. Counterfit offered a lift and we had enough time for some Guinness. It was quite a cold summer evening and I missed my windcheater.
We were about 15 runners and were rewarded right at the beginning – spare balls to pick up! I filled up my pockets with some dimpled balls scattered on the field close to a golf course. The lush green fields and the weather had also inspired some love making along the trail earlier during the day! We piled some miles till we reached the site of the Tanfield Waggonway station.
So there was this railway line that passing under us at the station. Little did I know the history of this line.

Here’s some trivia for you guys - Tanfield & Causey Arch:
The wooden tracks were built in the 18th century to carry coal from the Tanfield colliery to the Tyne side. The wooden wagons were pulled uphill by horses and then gravity carried them to the riverside, the speed being controlled by horses harnessed behind the wagons. Horses then carried the empty wagons back on the bye-way.
930 waggons passed everyday, that’s 1 in 20secs, with some 50yards between them.
Because of friction, the wagons often caught fire and had to be pulled out.
The Causey Arch is the oldest surviving Railway Bridge and was unprecedented when it was built in 1725.

We ran through FRB checks, Molly Pollys, checks, criss-crossing the tracks several times. It took us through some flowery fields to the BS (aka Beer Stop), where we polished off the last drops of some bitter pints.
We joined the walkers in the last stretch to the On-Inn. We warmed ourselves over some Pizzas, I went for the only veggie option – the Ortalano and some more Guinness. The discussions were around the upcoming Balydon race. With the lasses taking the 2 extra numbers that Nick had to spare, would I miss that race narrowly? Did the mountain bikers that we passed on the home stretch, have a prophetic implication? Only time would tell, Stay tuned!
On On
Pics here and more Causey Arch on wiki here.

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