On the road: Carlisle Utd, Brunton Park

Brunton Park - the view from the away end.

Brunton Park – the view from the away end.

IF you’re even reading this, congratulations, you’re contemplating becoming one of the hardcore of the hardcore.
Carlisle away is a 648-mile round trip. The furthest Football League ground from Roots Hall, and a badge of honour for anyone who goes.
Our last trip there came in 2009, a 2-1 defeat with Francis Laurent notching for the Shrimpers.
Generally speaking, Brunton Park has not been much of a happy hunting ground. Probably the highlight in living memory was the 2-1 victory in April 2008, when Lee Barnard netted a late winner to secure our play-off place. It’s also the only visit yours truly has made to The Cumbrians, and bloody enjoyable it was too.
The ground is a little way out of the centre of town, to the north east. The quickest way, but certainly not the cheapest, is by train as Carlisle is on the main line from London Euston. The ground is a mile from the station up Warwick Road, which runs from the town centre. There are a few pubs en-route, including The Beehive, a spacious pub which welcomed us in despite our dubious fancy dress. Although that was six years ago.
For those driving, there is a car park at the ground for £2.50, or plenty of street parking.
Brunton Park is an old-fashioned ground and away fans are located in by far the most capacious stand, to the side of the pitch. The open terrace to the right as you look is rarely opened, and most of the vociferous home supporters congregate behind the opposite goal. It’s a decent, traditional ground at this level, and holds 18,000.
Tickets are priced at £19 for adults and there are concession prices available for under-22s (£13), under 18s (£10) and under-11s (£7). Under 7s can enjoy the game for nowt.