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Thread: Doctors Gate

  1. #1

    Doctors Gate

    Doctors Gate fell race

    I’d planned an event-filled weekend consisting of Windy Hill on Saturday followed by Doctors Gate on Sunday. My plans were almost scuppered due to Storm Eric’s presence exposing the shocking aerodynamics of our box fronted dwelling. A bay window may be a highly ornamental addition to the facade of a building but when the wind picks up the protruding construction displays less than satisfactory soundproofing. As a result Storm Eric wasn’t slept through!

    At 2:30am on Saturday I’d still not managed to get any shut eye. I’m restless...”Alison, can you hear that wind?”. There’s no reply so I enquire again, only this time a little louder, “ALISON, CAN YOU HEAR THAT WIND?” and just for good measure I also add a gentle double nudge directed towards Alison’s lower back. Unsurprisingly she’s awoken from her slumber. I continue with my inquisitive questioning, “can you hear that wind rattling around the bay window?”. Alison’s not happy, apparently she’ll “bay window me if I don’t go to sleep”. I tell her that statement makes no sense. In hindsight I wish I’d kept my mouth shut as she ‘goes off on one’.

    Now that we’re both awake I asked if she fancied playing a game I’d ingeniously made up in homage to Storm Eric. The game is called ‘name a famous Eric’ it’s self explanatory...we can take it in turns. She says it sounds shit but reluctantly agrees so long as I go to sleep straight after the game is finished. Agreed, I’ll go first:

    I open with ‘Eric Clapton’ and start singing ‘I shot the sheriff’...I’m told to stop singing. ‘Eric Morecambe’ is Alison’s first reply...I’m thinking, that’s a good one but I keep my thoughts to myself, I don’t want to show any signs of weakness. I then excitedly shout out ‘Eric Idle’ and managed to suppress the urge to sing ‘Always look on the bright side of life’. With no enthusiasm ‘Eric Bristow’ is fired back, it’s worrying how quick she responds, has she loads of Eric’s up her sleeve? My choice of Eric Cartman is refused as he’s not a real person. I don’t protest as Alison is still grumpy after her rude awakening, understandable I suppose. After much pondering I blurt out ‘Eric Gates’ and explain he played football for Ipswich Town in the 70’s before moving to Sunderland in the 80’s. I’m accused of scraping the barrel. Alison then shouts out ‘Eric your face”. She’s wise to the point that shouting out Cantona will annoy me due to my alliances to Man City and starts singing “oh ah Cantona”. I call an end to the game as it’s turned shit. Alison proclaims herself the winner, turns over and goes to sleep, not before saying “nighty night loser”. I still don’t sleep and about an hour later I think of one time Kiss drummer ‘Eric Carr’...but I keep quiet.

    By the time I’d got out of bed for Windy Hill, I’d had no sleep.

    Thankfully Storm Eric’s presence wasn’t felt on Saturday night and I’d managed to catch up on some sleep. Racing at Windy Hill, whilst feeling knackered, had probably helped some part towards a good nights kip before Doctors Gate.

    I called off at my parents on route to Doctors Gate to check up on my mum as she’s recently been feeling lethargic. She informed me a blood test had revealed a vitamin D deficiency which can be treated with supplements. My mum asked the doctor what’s caused her vitamin deficiency, to which he replied “that’s life in a northern town”. I like our doctor, he has a great sense of humour. When I tell my mum I’m doing a race called Doctors Gate she starts to laugh and says to my dad, “hey, Colin do you remember that Readers Digest Medical book we used to have?”. My dad laughs and for the umpteenth time I’m reminded about my hypochondriac tendencies as a child.

    In my defence I remind my parents how as a child I’d correctly diagnosed Chickenpox and Mumps before the doctor confirmed I was indeed correct. However, admittedly I was slightly overzealous on more than one occasion. Once I’d mistakenly suggested I was experiencing a heart attack which actually turned out to be an acid reflux after eating tripe soaked in vinegar. I’d have been about 8yrs old at the time. The final straw for my parents was my reluctance to drink semi-skimmed milk as they’d insisted it was healthier than full-fat milk. My argument was it lacked the calcium I needed as a growing child and as a result I’d end up with Rickets. I was about 12yrs old showing no signs of bone malnourishment. I never saw the book again, at the time my parents said it had been misplaced and would turn up. Years later they confessed to confiscating the book after my ridiculous Rickets claim.

    Doctors Gate fell race is a brilliant route and a great long addition to the fell calendar. It’s ran over a mixture of terrain typically associated with the Peak District: runnable tracks, stream crossings, steep sided grass laden valleys, peat bogs, a hands-on rocky ascent and Pennine Way stone slabs. It’s a tough course which requires navigation, even though parts of the course are flagged. I look forward to next time when hopefully I’ll not lose about 50 places whilst trying to find checkpoints 3 and 4...oh well, great day out all the same, I found them eventually.

    Many thanks to Des and all helpers. Well done Rob James and Helen Thornhill.

    Driving home I’m listening to Talksport on the radio and they’re discussing whether Man City will push Liverpool all the way for the Premiership title. I laugh to myself at the depths that football rivalry can sink:

    Alison has a friend called Karen who’s a lifelong supporter of Man United. Karen will often reminisce about the days she’s enjoyed with her family at Old Trafford. I’ve always had good banter with Karen regarding City and United. She dislikes City and absolutely despises Liverpool, it runs in her family. Recently Karen went through what must surely be one of life’s more traumatic experiences. She lost her mum after her mother’s long battle with illness. Karen says she takes great solace from the final moments of her mums life. With all the family gathered around her mums hospital bed, Karen’s dad held his wife’s hand and said, “think yourself lucky, it’s looking like the scousers are going to win the premiership and you’re going to miss it”. Karen’s final moments with her dearly departed mum were made just that little easier thanks to her dads disdain for Liverpool. Karen says her dads gallows humour had eased the tension in the room and makes her smile to this day.

    That’s life in a northern town!
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Eric-a Roe springs to mind. I did Doctor's Gate last year and found it well tough in the snow. Bravo after windy Windy Hill the day before!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    What a great race this is & only in its 2nd year. The pull up from Yellowslacks Brook to Dog Rock is brutal. The check points 3 & 4 may not have been correct on the map to the flags, but it's a Des Gibbons race, you take as it comes, proper old school, rock up, pay up, run up. Classic.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Racing Snake View Post
    What a great race this is & only in its 2nd year. The pull up from Yellowslacks Brook to Dog Rock is brutal. The check points 3 & 4 may not have been correct on the map to the flags, but it's a Des Gibbons race, you take as it comes, proper old school, rock up, pay up, run up. Classic.
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

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