It was beautiful on the river today, sun was shining, people were out playing, folk were walking, and the occasional car was out for a drive, all on the river, not the river banks, on the actual river.
A small brass square, with the edges rounded off and with 4 steel pins in the corners is hurled down the ice, a bit like skimming stones, as it spins it makes a great noise. The purpose as far as I can tell is to take out the 'big' wooden barrel in middle. I think he said it was worth 5 points with decreasing value the further away from the centre you get. Some one shouts out the scores as they happen, another sits on a large polystyrene block and keeps score, while several others just get boots in the way of the spinning pieces to stop them going for miles. So what with the noise of the piece skimming along the ice, the shouting of scores, the cheers of encouragement and the sound of quite a heavy brass shape thudding into the felt soles of step boots, it's not a peaceful pastime. I must learn some Mongolian, enough at least to exchange pleasantries and hopefully find out more. We have seen it played on strips no more than 25m long, this one was at least 40m.
If you like your running flat it is a great place to go, beautiful in the sun, and with the right gear good fun. Even with my Yaktrax runner spikes/springs system there were times when grip was hard to come by. You certainly had to keep your centre of gravity right over your feet, so lots of small steps. There were also some unnerving cracking noises occasionally, and with hot water from leaking pipes finding it's way into the river in a few places, you had to pay attention. For the most part I was running on hard packed snow, on top of an awful lot of ice. In places the whole river was smooth and packed down, in others I ran on the 'road', at least I would be safe on the road, even I don't weigh as much as a car.
|one of the 'slip roads' and my way off the motorway|
|The road just keeps going.|
Maybe next time I'll see just how far you can go!