No time for vets to put their feet up

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IT doesn’t take much more than a few days’ sunshine to get everyone thinking about the great outdoors and we here at Alnorthumbria Vets are no different.

Though there is a strong contingent whose first thoughts are to strike up the barbeque and crack open a cold one, some of us are more inclined towards a bit more of a physical challenge.

First out of the blocks this summer is none other than yours truly. First thing Friday morning I (with a couple of other pals) will be setting out to run Hadrian’s Wall from west to east in three days.

Totalling some 85 miles of fairly up and down terrain, this will be the equivalent of three marathons in three days. I only hope the wind is blowing in the right direction.

No doubt considerably better prepared and at an age more suited to such daft trials, one of our Wooler vets, Pam Brown, is about to embark on a summer packed with adventure.

Committed to the concept of plenty of fresh air, Pam is always a major protagonist in any Alnorthumbria practice event (more of which in a moment) but this year she is also going solo.

Throughout the spring Pam is competing in several extreme marathon events, running 50 miles around Driffield this coming weekend, and, as if that isn’t enough to get a sweat up, a 100 mile race in Shropshire in May.

Unlike our own effort along Hadrian’s Wall, which involves B&Bs and hopefully a couple of good nights’ kip, Pam’s efforts are continuous – putting us to shame!

Of course, a few cripplingly long runs aren’t enough to satiate Pam’s hungry for challenges to her stamina.

At the back end of the summer she is taking a sabbatical from work to complete the ultimate UK trip – John O’Groats to Land’s End! The 1,300-odd miles at a steady 20 miles per day should take her a couple of months.

At least she has the sense to do this one at walking pace, though no doubt her endless enthusiasm will ensure that she can’t help herself from breaking into a run every now and then.

At the beginning of June, a modern-day Dirty Dozen team of 12 predominantly staff (with the odd family member and good client to add some sanity to the mix) are planning to tackle the Three Peaks Challenge.

For those not in the know, this challenge requires that we climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – the highest points in Scotland, England and Wales respectively – in a 24 hour period.

As you might imagine, this presents nearly as much of a logistical challenge as a physical one, or at least that is what vet Rosie Mould who is organising the trip keeps telling us. We’ll remind her of that as we step out of the minibus at Pen-Y-Pass, at the foot of Snowdon, after 18 hours of hard slog only broken by periods of listening to me snoring as we head south down the M6!

For those less inclined to quite such arduous tasks, John Mac and Pam have organised a more leisurely practice walk taking in the very best of the Northumbrian landscape along the Border Ridge.

Walking from Byrness near Otterburn to Yetholm just north of Wooler including a small detour to conquer Cheviot, the highest point in Northumberland on the way, the route will still be a significant challenge.

The trip will take a couple of days separated by a night of camping in the hills and with a good turn out expected there should be plenty of opportunity to get the best of both worlds – plenty of fresh air complemented by a barbeque and a cold beer!