On the 23rd February 2007, Nick, Mia and myself made the long trip up to north Yorkshire to see Middlesbrough play Reading on the Saturday and go hiking on the Sunday. The journey up took a shocking eight hours with traffic mayhem on the M40 and M1. We ended up taking some back route through Sherwood forest, stopped in a pub with literally no customers and finally made it to Glaisdale and the Arncliffe Arms for, er...a cheese sandwich and chips.

Nice little village down the road from Whitby and not far from the, ahem cultural centre of Middlesbrough. View from our window in the corner.

Nice toilets!

So next day we set off on a cross country journey hoping to end up at the Riverside stadium. On the way spotted a line of toilets being used as flower pots. Strange folk up north...roll the mouse over to see me use them as was originally intended.a scoff and a few pints we made the easy trip into town with its cheap parking and sauntered down to the stadium. To say Middlesbrough isn't the poshest of towns would be to understate the case, but the surrounding area is well nice.

The pub in .... and Mia looking shocked at the �2.50 parking fee

Estadio del Rio Largo...(Spanish makes it sound more exotic)

Mia's classic inside the stadium pose. We lost 2-1 unfortunately.

February 25, 2007
Revenge for sharp Boro
Middlesbro 2 Reading 1: Boro's front pair outclass Reading and build confidence ahead of their forthcoming FA Cup clash Pete Oliver at Riverside stadium
BY THEIR own admission, the catalyst for Reading�s remarkable first season of top-flight football came from their opening day comeback against Middlesbrough, when they recovered from conceding two early goals to propel themselves on a journey which may yet end in Europe. Sweet revenge then for Boro, who ended Reading�s four-game winning streak in the Premiership and edge nearer the top half of the table.

John Oster�s late strike, following on from goals in each half from Middlesbrough�s inform pair of Mark Viduka and Yakubu, doubtless stirred painful memories for Gareth Southgate�s team. But on this occasion time was on their side and in seeing out victory they continued their own impressive revival.

Boro have lost just once since the turn of the year to keep their season alive on two fronts with an FA Cup replay to come at West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night. Victory there will see them face Reading again in the quarter-finals if Steve Coppell�s side can overcome Manchester United. Although he is likely to select a completely different lineup for that sold-out tie, Coppell had warned of the dangers of being distracted and for 45 minutes his fears were well founded as Middlesbrough stole a decisive march.

Boro�s greatest strength is rightly perceived as their attacking threat of yesterday�s goalscorers allied to Stewart Downing, yet it is their two central defenders, Emanuel Pogatetz and Jonathan Woodgate, who currently lead the way as their supporters� choice for the player-of-the-year award. Of all the players Southgate may want to bring to Teesside over the coming summer it is certain Woodgate, still on loan with his hometown club from Real Madrid, will top that list. The England international brings a classy dimension to Boro�s backline and his first major contribution was on a par with Viduka�s in allowing his side to take an early lead. Shane Long was bearing down on goal and preparing to face only goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer when Woodgate made up lost ground and made a superb tackle to snuff out the danger.

Within five minutes Middlesbrough were ahead thanks to Viduka, who backheeled the ball over the line from close-range after Pogatetz had headed down a free kick from Downing to give him his eighth goal in 10 matches. While Reading struggled to impose themselves on the game, Viduka was a constant presence, and as he challenged Royals� debutant Michael Duberry, a touch off the defender had Marcus Hahnemann fumbling to tip the ball over his goal. The Reading goalkeeper was almost embarrassed again after 30 minutes but fortunately for him Lee Cattermole�s misdirected cross stayed high enough to hit the crossbar.

A half-chance for Long, which he scuffed wide, was all Reading could muster in reply, but such was Boro�s first-half dominance they must have been disappointed to register only another Downing free kick, which Hahnemann saw early enough to get across to catch, as a further meaningful effort on target. Conscious of the need to improve, Reading raised their game after half-time, with leading scorer Leroy Lita a factor. His elusive running stretched Middlesbrough�s defence but his finishing was awry, failing to make the most of a chance created by Stephen Hunt and the influential Glenn Little. Long went closer when an excellent run forward by Nicky Shorey allowed the striker a shot which may well have beaten Schwarzer had Pogatetz not got his body in the way. Proof the Irishman was out of luck came moments later when a powerful surge through the middle ended with a scooped shot that skidded off the top of the bar.

However, the downside of chasing the game was always apparent as Boro, whose game is well suited to playing on the break, were able to exploit Reading�s need to push men forward. Yakubu might have ended Reading�s resistance earlier but for a smothering save by Hahnemann following good work by George Boateng and Viduka. But when he did find the net with a little more than 20 minutes to go, it was with a killer blow delivered in the most ruthless fashion. Again Viduka was the provider, and although Yakubu still had plenty to do with a defender for company and the angle of his run taking him away from goal, one blur of the left foot gave Hahnemann no chance as a thundering shot into the top corner gave the Nigerian his 16th goal of the season.

Star man: Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough) Scorers: Middlesbrough: Viduka 7, Yakubu 69 Reading: Oster 87 Referee: M Halsey Attendance: 26,412 Middlesbrough: Schwarzer 6, Davies 6, Taylor 6, Woodgate 7, Pogatetz 6, Cattermole 6 (Morrison 74min), Boateng 7, Arca 7, Downing 8, Viduka 8, Yakubu 8 (Lee 85min) Reading: Hahnemann 6, Murty 6, Duberry 6, Ingimarsson 6, Shorey 8, Hunt 6 (Oster 72min), Sidwell 6, Harper 6, Little 7, Long 7 (Kitson 62min), Lita 6

I was having a few dizzy spells in the morning but knowing there was a big hike ahead I put it to one side and with the others chowed down the breakfast. It was well nippy outside but we are hardened souls...except for Mia of course!

First stop was this bridge which is just down the road from the pub and indeed there is a photo of it hanging on the wall. It was taken 100 years ago and had a couple of horses dangling over the edge. They were trapped in their harnesses after some kind of accident with their carriage. All the locals were out trying to help and they managed to save one of them

Next stop was Goathland, which appears on TV in Heartbeat...consequently quite a few grockles around.

Mia seems to get herself into all the pictures

The road starts to climb until eventually you come round a tight bend and find yourself overlooking....THE HOLE OF HORCUM

And the view over the other side has a pub that we were too knackered to go in after the walk!

Here we have Nick telling Mia about a fish he almost caught once

And here we have Mia trying to pass the message on to me...it must have been a whopper!

We made it to this in Leverton and they wouldn't let us in with our boots on. All the customers were therefore walking around the pub in their socks. I will not return that dump, the landlady had pretentions way above her standing.

The village of Leverton....the locals probably use the pub in the next village.

A deserted farmhouse right in the hole...pretty isolated and the nearest pub won't let you wear your boots!!

Sunset over the hole.

Drove back via Whitby just as it was starting to get dark. Looked kinda nice but we didn't see too much.

The full weekend's exploits

The next day I was very dizzy indeed and started to panic. Hypochondriac that I am I thought I had a brain tumour but after driving home and seeing the Doc I was diagnosed with Vertigo!
Anyway, it didn't distract from what again was another fine tour...shame we lost though!


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