Song Lyric Sunday: Van Morrison – “Streets of Arklow”

Haven’t played the Song Lyric Sunday game for while now but Helen’s theme this week prompts me to briefly share this song. Simply because – it’s one of my favourites on probably my favourite ever album. As neither are particularly well-known, I can only encourage you to give 4 minutes of your time to “Streets of Arklow” and, if you like it, the rest of “Veedon Fleece”.  To try and describe it – something of a cross between Irish folk and rock – but actually, trying to bracket it does it a disservice – it’s just a unique sound. Hope some of you enjoy it as much as I have over the years.

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
Oh the color
Of the day wore on
And our heads
Were filled with poetry
And the morning
A-comin’ on to dawn

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
And gay perfusion
In god’s green land
And the gypsy’s rode
With their hearts on fire
They say “We love to wander,”
“Lord we love,”
“Lord we love to roam…”

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
In a drenching beauty
Rolling back ’til the day
And I saw your eyes
They was shining, sparkling crystal clear
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow

(Written by Van Morrison, 1974)

The Dash and Scamper

Sounds like it should be a pub, but more prosaically it’s a couple of midweek fell races in the Lake District I’ve done recently. Here are a few top tips should you wish to give either or both of these a crack sometime in the future.

Hot off the press – or more fittingly, while legs are still aching – was last night’s Blisco Dash, from the Old Dungeon Ghyll to the summit of Pike o’ Blisco via Redacre Gill and backDash for some maybe, but for me 2000ft of unremitting – and walked – climb, followed by 2000ft of braked and thigh-sapping descent. So much so that the flat half mile of road at the end was the toughest stretch of all, as limbs threatened to cease basic functioning with the finish line in sight. “Good running form” went out the window as I pretty much waddled the run in, and was grateful those around me seemed similarly affected as at least I didn’t lose any places.

But it was great to take part in this classic Lakes “AS” on another glorious Lake District summer evening. It’s pretty special being up there when the setting sun displays the fells at their best.

bliscodash 18.7.18Just to note that the line off the summit is to the right of the way up (to avoid meeting those scrambling up the summit rocks head on). And that there really are precious few opportunities for the lactic acid to flush out on either the climb or descent. It’s certainly not one for the first-time fellrunner – you need to have a few thousand feet in the bank before giving it a go.

Whereas, the Reston Scar Scamper is perhaps a race with a broader appeal, for lots of good reasons. You register at the Hawkshead Brewery for a start (which confusingly is in Staveley, 10 miles from Hawkshead). There’s only 1000ft of climbing in the 3.5 miles, divided into 2 climbs, allowing a bit of “recovery” in between. And the River Kent flows past the finish line – very pleasant for a post-race cool off.

It was nice to get to know a bit of the Lake District that I must have zoomed past dozens of times before without really noticing. Reston Scar is on your right just after Staveley on the main A591 to Windermere. All eyes are normally on the first sight of the lake and the famous fells beyond, but there is much merit in these foothills and of course in the loftier fells around Kentmere to the north. Nice to have your perceptions challenged from time to time. DSC04188Anyway, fingers crossed both of these races have been good preparation what I’ve got in mind next – the short races at Ambleside, Burnsall and Grasmere shows respectively. Hope to see a few Striders at some of these over the next few weeks.