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Pints & Parkruns: Carlisle Park, Morpeth

Spontaneity and serendipity, but not in Cumbria!

By Andy PottsPublished about a month ago 2 min read
Tranquillity returns to the Wansbeck riverside after Carlisle Park Parkrun stampeded through.

This week’s run was a late decision. How late? Well, I was already on the A1, heading towards Scotland, and decided to see how far I could get by about quarter-to-parkrun. The answer turned out to be Morpeth, where Carlisle Park was completely new to me.

Usually when I’m heading to a new run, I look up the course, get an idea what to expect, and maybe even have a look at the town for a few ideas about other entertainment. Today, I didn’t have a clue. So the initial steep climb was a bit of a shock, and it didn’t get any easier as three laps went by. Carlisle Park might be noted for its Emily Davison statue, but this was more suffering than suffrage.

Ha' Hill. Happily the path goes round it, not up it!

The Davison connection wasn’t the only attraction in a handsome park fast approaching its 100th anniversary. The entrance is dominated by Ha’ Hill, site of the town’s original fortification (we’re in Northumberland, fortifications are a big deal here, otherwise there’s a risk parkruns would start at 9:30, Scottish style). To our great relief, the route doesn’t force us to run up de Merlay’s mound, although the stiff climb is rewarded with some good views across the park. There’s also a garden inspired by William Turner, a local regarded as the “Father of English Botany”.

And then there’s a parkrun. And a pretty good one, too. Three times up a hill might feel a bit harsh, but it does mean three times back down as well. And, compared with the likes of Glasgow’s formidable [Queen’s Park], this isn’t even half the total elevation. Besides, the climb is only half the story: much of the route is a flat toddle alongside the river Wansbeck (there are even some stepping stones, although the route refrains from risking wet feet by going across them).

What went up had more fun coming down. Photo from the Carlisle Park parkun FB page, taken by Wiebke Howey.

By the time I was on the river section for the first time, I was jogging along close to one of today’s more vocal runners. While most of us were stomping grimly onwards, the chap in the Saltwell Harriers vest was an endless source of encouragement to all around: pacesetters, plodders and volunteers alike. Not for the first time, there’s that sense of parkrun as a community.

All-in-all, this was a triumph of serendipity. There was no plan, no expectation, but it turned out to be a fun day out. And I learned things: Emily Davison’s last resting place in a family plot in Morpeth’s churchyard, William Turner’s adventurous life as an Elizabethan scientist. 5km, and 500 years of history. None of which I would have encountered were it not for parkrun.

The pint

Morpeth is blessed with a couple of good bottle shops, Grape & Grain, and Enjoy. Both have an impressive range of Northumbrian breweries. In Grape & Grain, I found something new to me: Haltwhistle’s Muckle Brewery. This isn’t a big operation, more of a garden shed affair (apparently, though, it’s quite a big shed). There’s certainly a big range of bottle-conditioned beers on offer, including Mighty Buzz, a tempting Honey Beer. Although Haltwhistle isn’t all that close to Morpeth, Muckle is most often found at Farmers’ Markets in the region: Grape & Grain is a reliable option to pick up a few bottles and get a taste of a small brewery that promises mighty beers.

First visit: April 2024; PB: 26:55

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this, check out the Pints & Parkruns website and consider making a donation at buy me a coffee.


About the Creator

Andy Potts

Community focused sports fan from Northeast England. Tends to root for the little guy. Look out for Talking Northeast, my new project coming soon.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (3)

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  • Flamance @ lit.29 days ago

    Well understanding story great job

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Ha! Good on you! I love a surprise run - especially if there are hills involved! Gulp! Sounds like you definitely deserved the pint afterwards.

  • Enjoyed this spontaneous Parkrun and it’s entertaining tale… as always 🏃🏼‍♂️🏃🏻🚶‍♂️… I loved the way you selected it🤣… an impressive time too, especially for three laps with a hill 😵‍💫 Also learnt about Emily Davison & William Turner✅.

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