Litton Christmas Cracker Fell Race

Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
‘Tis the season to be jolly.

Every year we’d deck the hallway with boughs of holly then unwittingly spend weeks trampling berries into the fibres of the hall carpet. The living room carpet didn’t fare any better with sap residue from the Christmas tree often leaving sticky marks. I’d rearrange the furniture to cover the most stubborn stains, resulting in the awkward placement of furnishings which subsequently played havoc with the ‘feng shui’ of the room. The last thing you want at Christmas is negative energy. It became apparent that a real tree and decorative foliage didn’t bode well in the confines of an insulated energy efficient dwelling.

After purchasing new carpets we’ve since gone artificial as it’s less damaging:

Alison likes the smell of a real tree so I suggested hanging in-car pine scented air fresheners from the branches of the artificial one. She said “yeah they’ll look great alongside the fuzzy dice”. My wife can be quite sarcastic at times. My other suggestion of an Air Wick Essential Mist Diffuser in scented mulled wine wasn’t met with the same ridicule and unsurprisingly a potential purchase was browsed online.

On our way to today’s race in the Peak District we’re discussing unwanted presents. Alison bursts out laughing and reminds me about the time I’d received ‘puppies’ off my mum. In amongst the usual gifts of socks and a jumper my mum excelled herself with a ‘I love puppies’ poster featuring Golden Retrievers. At the time I was 40 years old and owned a Border Terrier. It amused Alison then and it still does now, every year she’ll say “Darren have you still not decided where to hang your puppies poster?”. I’m now bored with my wife’s poster leg pulling, unfortunately she isn’t.

My mate Vinny surprised his wife one year when he bought her a car jack for Christmas. He even went to the trouble of buying a blue one to match the colour of her car. Vinny’s wife didn’t share his enthusiasm for car accessories. Even after he’d informed her that cheaper jacks were available but he’d bought the one with a rubberised soft grip handle for easy cranking...she still remained unimpressed. I guess there’s no pleasing some folk.

Vinny’s wife surprised him the following year. His gift from her was a packet of Duracell AAA batteries with a note saying ‘Presents not included’. He’s since pointed out that the car jack is the inferior gift as it’s never been used unlike the batteries which currently reside in the TV remote. I look forward to finding out what crap they buy each other this year.

Litton Christmas Cracker can be quite an experience. It’s a great route along picturesque dales, through woodland and over open countryside with a mid-race permitting. After sufficient downpours the river will completely flood the riverside path that runs through the eye catching Water-cum-Jolly Dale. You’ll experience knee deep (depending on your leg length) ice cold dirty water for a good few hundred yards whilst hopefully remaining on the path. Keep to the left or prepare yourself for a swim. This section is very trying on the legs but great fun...Christmas Cracker? Yeah, most certainly!

Many thanks to the lovely Sue and Nigel and all their helpers...Merry Christmas!

Once home it’s the simple things in life that are truly appreciated. We leave a change of clothes on the radiators whilst showering. In Alison’s words “changing into heated clothing is like receiving a warm hug”...hear, hear! A ‘warm hug’ whilst watching our Christmas film guilty pleasure, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ that’s appreciating the simple things!

‘Tis the season to be jolly!