Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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Darren Holloway Memorial Race 2014

Yesterday Mr  Uphilldowndale (Mr Uhdd) and I were up in the Lake District, at  Loweswater for the Darren Holloway memorial  fell race, run in memory of our friend, Darren,  ‘Daz H’. There are handsome trophies for the first male and first female runner.

 

Darren Holloway Race_

‘Dig in’ is just the sort of encouragement Daz would have shouted to others on to be the best they can. We’ve mentioned before how much Daz encouraged all in their running.

Race HQ was at Loweswater village hall

 

Loweswater village Hall

( I think the robin had heard about the wonderful cakes).

 

Amanda and Heathers cup cakes_

Darren’s wife Amanda, with two  members of his Ilkeston Running club, Darren’s ‘home’ club, Darren, also ran with Pennine Fell Runners club.

amanda

 

It was of course an emotional day, but the was much laughter, Darren’s aunt and mum with the trophies

Dig in_

Whilst Mr Uhdd was out on the the hill marshalling part of the race,

Darren Holloway Memorial race

I took the camera for a  contemplative walk.

Loweswater-2

We were able to round the day off by visiting my friend and former colleague in her new home, just a few miles away, she and and her family had only moved in the day before (and all their worldly goods had yet to arrive) so we really did ‘first foot’ them. We didn’t have coal, but we did take cake.


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Visiting Time

We are off to Wales to see Tom tomorrow. It is rare for us to venture out on the roads on a bank holiday weekend, but Tom hasn’t been home over the Easter holidays as he’s been to Greece climbing, and we are keen to see him (Spud the dog is coming too).

I’ve a heap of photos I’ve not published from our last visit (I hasten to add Tom is living in student accommodation at Bangor, not as this photo might suggest a cave).

Tom Wales_

He took us to Dinorwic slate quarries,  the second largest slate quarry in the world, where part of Clash of the Titans  was filmed, it is certainly has an other worldly feel about it.

Tom Wales 2

The scale of the place is mind blowing.

Tom taught me, his techiphobe mother to take a panorama shot on my phone.

Look, see.

20140307_152057

Of course we had to make a visit to Pete’s Eats’ as students are always hungry and keen for parents to buy them food.

 

I’m sad and shocked to report another of Mr Uphilldowndale’s running/cycling  friends has landed in hospital, following an incident with a heard of cows; very nasty indeed. (And  I’m afraid to report ‘G’ remains  still very poorly in hospital).


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Sending…

On Saturday one of Mr Uphilldowndale’s running buddies (I’ll  not publish his name, I’ll just call him ‘G’) was seriously injured when he was in a road traffic collision whilst out on his bike. We’re all sending  our thought’s, love, good wishes, prayers or what ever we have to give, to G, his family and those who care for him. Worrying times and we feel impotent, we wish we could do more.

 

I came across G a while back here.

Change in the  weather 4-1 

 

We were both on our  way to work, he had stopped to admire the view,  whilst I more likely, had stopped to catch my breath. We chatted, he was in reflective mood. I told how  him how Mr Uhdd was frustrated at not being race fit and was niggled by minor injuries. G offered this advice. ‘Tell him to eat more pies, he thinks he need to keep his weight down but he doesn’t, he need to eat more pies; I know I’ve done it myself.’

 

So I’m sending pies, or at least the metaphorical health giving properties of pies, its all I can do.

 

Heather x


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How Time Flies

I’ve been busy decorating, I’ve set myself a bit of a deadline, I’ve invited the neighbours round for a bit of a do, its in a good cause.   The British Heart Foundation is a charity close to our  own hearts, especially in memory of Daz H.

The invites have gone out.

ramp up the red

But it does mean there is no time for dawdling, but more haste can mean less speed: this is an old house, no wall is true, no plaster smooth, (I did succumb to a little plaster envy the other day) exposed  oak beams may brim with ancient character but they  are a fiddle to decorate around. Here is one on the landing.

oak beam

And this is my favourite beam, in the lounge, I love its rough and ready, vernacular style and wonder why a load bearing beam was placed over a window opening?

forked oak beam_

 

One day we’ll find out how old they are.

 

I was so busy at the weekend,I forgot about the The Big Garden Bird Watch.

Take a look at these birdy videos, mesmerising I really want to get to see a murmeration of starlings.


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Saying Goodbye To Daz

We met in the Autumn sunshine to say our farewells to Daz H,  Darren Holloway.

Hundreds of family and friends packed into the service, I’d stitched 43 club coloured ribbons for his club mates to wear, it wasn’t enough we were some short.

It was a service  that flowed with fond memories of his life and loves, and captured him so well. Many, many tears were shed. This is my favourite photo of Daz, I think it is an  iconic image of  him: Daz  in full flight.

Daz-2011 (1)

Photo by Andy Holden.

Here are the words that were read at the service, written by a fell running friend Mr 1470, they too capture the essence of Daz.

"Some news just hits you like a bolt from the blue, so unexpected, so bizarre in its nature that it fails to register in your cerebral cortex. It seems like a dream, and you fully expect to wake next morning to find the earth back on its true axis.
After that initial hit, the news creeps insidiously into every pore of your being, overwhelming you with a sadness that just floors you, unable to articulate your feelings and leaving you alone with your thoughts and memories.
On this grey, cold Highland morning, as the mist parts and the hillside across the loch becomes visible, I can’t help but see him descending, as graceful as a gazelle on his favourite rocky, bouldery terrain, lost in a world of concentration, his face contorted with effort, his eyes locked in an almost thousand yard stare, his knee and elbow bloodied from some earlier fall.
He’s gaining now on his rivals (and friends!) and nothing will distract him from his desire to reel them in. I shout encouragement….”go on Darren!”….but there’s not a flicker, he’s immersed in his gladiatorial battle.
As the ground flattens out, he strains every sinew to hold position as the finish line approaches. He crosses the line, totally spent, not an ounce of energy left, having given 100% (as he did to everything in life).
And then, just as suddenly, his demeanour changes and he’s all smiles and handshakes and offering words of congratulations to those around him. But it’s not for him to slink off towards the cafe or the pub with the rest of the front runners. Cup of water in hand, he walks back up the last part of the course, cheering, greeting and offering encouragement to those of us who can only dream of the level of performance which he delivers time and time again.
The word “legend” is much overused these days. He deserves that title, for his mastery of the fells, for his ability to make everyone feel special with well chosen words, for his deep understanding and appreciation of the ethos, history and legacy of the sports he loved, for the total enthusiasm with which he led his life. I only hope he knew just how much people thought of him.
The world is a sadder place for the passing of such people. My world is a sadder place this morning. He showed me true friendship, kindness, support and inspiration. To say I admired and respected him would be a massive understatement. My thoughts are especially with those whom he loved and who loved him. It must be so hard to take in….."

And this was the music


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Head and Heart

The shock and sadness at Daz’s death remains, of course it does. The dark skies this brings to us all are chased with the light of remembering brighter days with Daz.

This is Wasdale, the sort of landscape where Daz was in his element,

Snowbow

the original post is here.

We now know that Daz died from a rare heart condition, Left Ventricular Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy, the same condition that struck  footballer Fabrice Muamba earlier this year. It is  a rare condition, there is more information here, on a website for a foundation set up in memory of  John Taylor, a fell runner and international athlete who also died of cardiomyopathy in 2002. There is something very difficult about understanding this condition, we can read and  understand the science, yes, but not the emotions it raises, it just flies in the face of all we are told about exercise  ‘keeping a healthy heart’. I think fell runners in particular will have difficulty with that. 

I notice on the John Taylor  foundation page, that one of the external links is to CRY, Cardiac Risk in the Young. Some years ago I heard Paddy Jelen, talking about the death of her daughter, she did so very movingly and passionately in her quest to raise awareness of her daughters rare and often misdiagnosed heart condition, Long QT3. At first I hesitated to post the links here, thinking we’d really all read enough ‘sad stuff’ on the Internet in the last few days, but thought better of it. If Paddy can talk about it, I’d be a wuss not to post it.

Go read, please.

(Spud the dog will be back to his regular Sunday postings, some Sunday soon.)

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