Category Archives: FRA-BS

The Fell Runners Association explains race categories in its Rules for competition (pdf) document, but a relevant summary can be found below.

Category B
Should average not less than 25 metres climb per kilometre.
Should not have more than 30% of the race distance on road.

Category S
A category “S” (short) race is 10 kilometres or less.

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race, Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. BS / 6m / 1000'

Rachael Bullock

I was really looking forward to this race for multiple reasons: 1) I love fell running; 2) It’s a GP race so there would be lots of friendly faces there (plus some added motivation!); 3) I had fond memories from last year after finishing 5th lady (although I put this down to the appalling weather which meant a poor turnout!); 4) It was a gloriously sunny evening and 5) I REALLY love fell running.

There was indeed a pretty decent Strider turnout, including the mean machine that is Katy Walton! Seeing as Katy had just run a pretty amazing PB at the Humber Bridge half marathon just 2 days beforehand, whilst I had had a relatively restful weekend, I was vaguely hopeful that I may be in with a rare chance of giving her a run for her money!

I felt reasonably comfortable as we set off up the hill – a long but quite gentle climb, and I managed to overtake quite a few people. Sadly, my legs weren’t feeling particularly rested at all, but despite that I felt like I was going ok and making good progress, so when it started to flatten out I tried to keep going strong. Soon we started a long and gentle descent, although the ground underfoot was pretty rough – gotta keep your wits about your footing at this race. With the lack of rain recently, I was expecting pretty dry underfoot conditions, but it wasn’t long before I was greeted by a rather large boggy puddle. And for some stupid reason (I guess I’m just a huge pansy) I dithered for a good few seconds trying to work out how to negotiate it! It was at this point that I heard Katy’s menacing voice behind me – I can’t remember what she said, but it sure struck the fear of death into me as I now knew she was right behind me and those seconds of dithering could cost me dear. This prompted me to just splash through the bog any which way, as I should have done in the first place, and surprise surprise, it did not kill me.

On I trotted, well aware that Katy was close behind and a little surprised she hadn’t overtaken me yet. But then I thought … I know her game plan … she is just gonna let me pace her comfortably round and then overtake me on the uphill finish at the end (I had failed miserably to keep up with her during the hill session she put on last week). The descent is long and after crossing the road it gradually gets steeper and steeper, and rougher and rougher, and also pretty damp in places. I fell over in some bog at one point and witnessed several others doing the same. All the time I was convinced Katy was just behind me but I never once looked back, because that rarely works for me, it just makes me nervous and I prefer just to focus on what I’m doing. Katy didn’t pass me on the descent but fellow Strider Scott did – we had passed each other a few times already and he was clearly tiring of this child’s play and looked pretty comfortable on the descent.

Soon I reached the stream, where we had to go into the stream to clip our numbers! It’s a VERY steep descent down to the stream, not everyone’s cup of tea (including mine!) but I loved the stream! So refreshing! I wished I could have stayed in there for longer! It was pretty deep – I had soggy knickers when I came out! I wouldn’t advise carrying any valuables in your pockets for this race! It wasn’t until I was clambering out the stream that I realised Katy was nowhere to be seen! Turns out the purple vest I could sense behind me was that of Graeme! I was quite relieved at this point but I didn’t want to relax too much as I figured I must have been doing quite well and it would be a shame to let things slip at this stage.

So I pushed on up the next hill (brisk walk rather than running at this point!) and onto higher ground again where we had to contour around the hillside – I remember hating this bit last year as again the ground is very uneven and you are running on a slant. This year I didn’t find it too bad but I had a steely determination about me by now! In addition, I was still stupidly furious at myself for dithering earlier on at the bog…I couldn’t stop thinking about how ashamed mudman and mudwoman would have been!! So I was feeling the need to punish myself! A short descent followed (in fact quite a horrible one for those of us who don’t like steep, loose ground!) before the final uphill push to the finish. A marshal at the bottom of the hill informed that I was 3rd, or maybe 4th lady … YAY, I thought! But then I realised there was another lady not too far behind me and so if I was going to retain my position I was going to have to run all the way up this hill with a fair amount of conviction! And with some words of encouragement from Graeme, that’s what I did. I gave it my all and finished comfortably ahead of her. Turns out I had been in 4th position – I would have loved a podium finish but at least I was one place up on last year! I was completely knackered at the end, I had found it a very tough run. I would say that most finishers looked suitably knackered after the uphill finish, but some great results from fellow Striders nonetheless.

This is a great race and very friendly and fun atmosphere. There is a good amount of marshalling and taping for a fell race, so although it’s not the easiest of courses (in my opinion anyway) it is still pretty beginner-friendly.

Alister adds:

Rachael neglects to mention that the Striders Ladies (Rachael, Katy & Camilla) were first ladies team 🙂


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Will Horsley NFR M 43.16
15 Karen Robertson NFR FV45 51.17
19 Thomas Reeves MV45 51.48
36 Michael Bennett MV60 54.38
50 Rachael Bullock F 56.15
54 Graeme Walton MV40 56.41
58 John Metson MV60 57.23
67 Nigel Heppell MV60 59.19
68 Katy Walton F 59.50
69 David Selby MV40 59.57
84 Alister Robson MV40 63.33
88 Camilla Lauren-Maata FV45 63.41
120 Jan Young FV60 72.40
123 Anita Clementson FV40 74.25
128 Denise Benvin FV45 78.42

128 finishers.

(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)

Roseberry Romp, Thursday, May 29, 2014

BS / 5.1m / 1050ft

Danny Lim

“Its only 5 miles”. Yeah right! The first 2 miles, through the woods at the foot of Roseberry Topping was a real mud-fest. This was followed by a steep uphill climb to Roseberry’s lop-sided peak. Rachael Bullock and I had been exchanging positions a few times so far and I fell behind as she powered her way up. But I had run this peak before and on descending, I took a small grassy side path, instead of the tortuous, slippy-slidey stone steps which are a real bugger to run down in a hurry. This helped me get ahead. For added value, there was another climb to Little Roseberry, just the thing for already tired legs! Then, a brisk, slightly-loony exhilarating descent all the way back to the finish. I was glad to have finished without breaking something, perhaps I should have gone slower, but what’s the fun in that?

Elvet Striders came out in force today, with newbies to fell running such as Vicki McLean and Lindsay Rodgers, welcome to the dark side guys! Will Horsley won 1st place and Rachael Bullock was 3rd lady. Camilla Lauren Maatta was 2nd in her category and with Helen Allen were 1st ladies team. A fun, no-frills (£4), evening race with lots of prizes. What’s there not to like?

Roseberry Topping.


Pos Name Club Cat Catpos Time
1 Will Horsley Northumberland Fell Runners SM 0:34’37
15 Kay Neesam New Marske Harriers LV45 0:42’00
38 Danny Lim SM 0:46’45
39 Aaron Gourley SM 0:47’27
40 Rachael Bullock SL 0:47’31
46 David Selby MV40 0:49’33
65 Camilla Lauren-Maatta LV45 0:53’15
75 Alister Robson MV40 0:59’01
84 Lindsay Rodgers MV45 1:11’08
85 Helen Allen LV40 1:13’21
87 Denise Benvin LV45 1:16’06
88 Kerry Lister LV40 1:28’48

89 finishers

(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)

Carlton Challenge, North York Moors, Wednesday, May 7, 2014

BS / 5m / 1181ft

Innes Hodgson

One of the big differences between a short fell race and a cross country race is the need to carry some safety kit, usually waterproofs, map, compass and whistle. At the Fox and Hounds race I watched with awe as Phil Owen managed to squeeze waterproof leggings, top and his best suit into a bag not much larger than a thimble. Apparently this means you have less weight to carry. At the Carlton Challenge I decided on a different approach to save weight and left the contents of my stomach at various road sides across County Durham and North Yorkshire.

Having got to the race start, lighter and weaker, I briefly contemplated not running, but dehydration had destroyed my common sense. So I started the race, right at the back, and after a few minutes I watched a multi-coloured snake of runners disappearing into the distance.

The first half of the race involved a gentle descent of round 2 miles mainly on a single track path that made it difficult to pass people but easy to follow them. At one point a distressed scream was heard, it turned out that a lady had caught her new gore-tex top on some barbed wire. She had taken a short cut in order to pass people but thanks to the barbed wire she lost all the places she had just gained, it seems that route choice is more complicated than it looks. For the most part the path was firm underfoot there were a few soft sections (were the bog monsters live and try to steal your shoes as you go by). After 2 miles you came to the first checkpoint and were guided into the woods after a short decent you had to make a left and started to climb up to checkpoint 2. The woods were the only section that there was where you could get lost, famous last words. I managed to follow a young Nordic lady that some of you may know and escaped the clutches of the Big Bad Wolf. At checkpoint 2 I was directed on to the Cleveland Way apart from the first steep 100m the next 2 miles were all runnable (although not for me). On the way to the final check point I tried to catch Camillia I would get close on the flat sections only for her to pull away again on the steeper bits. The final 400m was a descent to the finish, with any route allowed. I saw my chance made a good route choice and caught up my target, feeling elated I went full bore for the finish. Normally at the end of a fell run my legs fell like jelly, at the end of this race my body could have been poured into any mould available.

Starting off at the back of the race gave me the opportunity to pass a few people, mainly on the downhill sections, rather than being passed by lots of people. Catching and sometimes passing people was a great motivation to avoid walking and gave me a positive feeling throughout the race that kept me going. I managed to pass a total of 18 people. The best part of the race for me was the final descent to the finish, it allowed me to use some long forgotten skills developed in a previous life running for Kendal AC.

Three Striders were competing Phil Owen was the first finisher in a time of 55.39, I followed a minute and 25 seconds behind, 7 seconds ahead of Camilla Laurén-Määttä. Apparently someone called Will Horsley was also running but was wearing a funny vest so I don’t think he counts. Will finished 3rd in a time 34:30; considering this fantastic performance I think we should claim him as one of us. We all enjoyed the race especially because it was cheap at £6 and extremely friendly.

I need to apologise to my fellow travellers for the frequent stops on the way to and from the event, thanks for putting up with me. I have to give a special mention to Wendy Colling of Quakers who came to my rescue with jelly beans and a Shot Blox at the end of the race.

This was a great race ideal for a first fell race, looking forward, Esk Valley Fell Club are organising a number of short fell races over the summer (check out their website). Next race is on the 21st of May the Ossy Oiks, near Osmotherley.

(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)

Commondale Clart, North York Moors, Sunday, February 16, 2014

BS / 5.2m / 722'

Dave Shipman

The Commondale Clart, very aptly named this year!! I have done it in winter and summer previously but was still apprehensive given the monsoon rains lately. No surprise then that the run was dominated by long stretches of mud, bog and freezing cold puddles/plunge pools which froze the feet from the moment we stepped off the road onto the moor. Fortunately above ground it was remarkably pleasant, sunny, still and even warm at times so overall a good place to be for a Sunday morning run and no regrets about driving so far for a relatively short race.

For the uninitiated the course itself is a circuit starting and finishing in Commondale, next to the pub, long, steep climb on road out of Commondale to start, followed by a long drag up and across the moors, before a fantastic gradual descent on tracks, sharp left turn on a little wooden bridge and then across and down through heather to a stream, then back to road into Commondale for a short, steep downhill finish.

Mike getting very close to Shaun's backside, after cunningly following the correct race route.
Photo courtesy and © David Aspin

Me, Mike Bennett, Mike Hughes and Jan Young had travelled together and met Shaun at signing in, regrouped in the pub afterwards where the preoccupation was over which route people had followed. Several of us hadn’t swerved far enough left after the trig point, as advised to do by the race organiser at the start, resulting in a tiring trek across heather and bog rather than following a muddy trail. For me it was a dilemma, thought it was a wrong/different route to the one I could recall – seemed much further too!! But surely the twelve or so folk I could see heading up the fell in front of me must know where they are going, so I better follow them. Wrong call entirely. Jan had had the sense to cut across the right way and made good progress as a result.

Spot the Strider vanishing down a big hole in the ground: Jan, no less!
Photo courtesy and © David Aspin

Shaun came across some grouse shooting butts somewhere, which he hadn’t passed on previous runs, so don’t know where he got to [Made the same mistake as most of the field, it seems, at the trig point. Doh! Ed.], but that’s one of the features of the Esk Valley series, some markings occasionally, no marshalls, a recognisable route for most of the time, but every now and then you get to a point where you are just not sure, if there is no one close, or in my case you can’t see where everyone has sped off to, then you press on and hope your directional senses will win out!! Give them a try if you have never done them, excellent value and EOD.

Prizes went to Mike B and Jan for winning their age group, so well done to them.

(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)

Clay Bank East, North York Moors, Sunday, January 5, 2014

BS / 5.7m / 680'

Jan Young

Runners emerge from the start in the valley below ... and Mike H is off and running.
Photo © John Taylor

Mike B, Mike H and I climbed up Cleveland Way footpath from Clay bank top, against freezing headwind along Urra moor edge, 2k incline across Urra Moor to trig on Round Hill, then fast as you can descent down Carr Ridge and Greenhow Plantation woods to finish. Plenty of bog and mud. Had a bad shoes lace day, stopped three times to fasten, threatened to ‘cut them off’ as descending runners passed me. I’ll ensure that doesn’t happen again. Pays to hang around for presentation; Mike B, 2ndM55, picked up wine, his rival having left before presentation. ( If you don’t hang around, you don’t get your prize: organiser’s rule.)

For those of you who haven’t tried fell running and want to build strength and stamina we recommend NEHRA fell runs. All are ‘Enter on Day’, friendly events, compass required only in adverse weather, though map useful if you can’t keep runners in sight, most walk up all the climbs, varied terrain – forest trails, paved paths, heather, most within an hour drive of Durham, fell/trail shoes essential if you want to stay upright on descents/ in bog, car share available.

(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)

Captain Cook’s Fell Race, Great Ayton, Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. BS / 5m / 885'

Katy Walton

Grand Prix Race. King/Queen of the Mountain Race. What better way to start a New Year than with an exciting fast fell race. A great turn out of Striders all in high spirits at the start line. My aim was to complete the race without falling over or losing a trainer. The off soon came along with some rain but that just made the race that little bit more interesting.

Great turnout for this one ... and hardly a hangover in sight.

The climb up to Captain Cooks Monument was just as I remembered, looking up to see what was to climb praying that nobody above my head took a tumble because it would wipe everyone off the hill face, Mike Bennett and Richard Hall over took me at this point, I opted for walking.

Once at the top the downhill was for the brave as I trod carefully losing some places in the race this was where Aaron ran passed giving words of encouragement. Soon a stretch of road where I put my foot down and sped as fast as I could knowing that the time lost on the downhill drop needed to be made up.

Trust a Strider not to dress properly for the occasion! No wonder Lord Humphry B Fluff and Lord Percy Winterfell look so mortified.
Photo courtesy and © John Taylor

Another uphill on the road ahead where I dropped a gear and tackled it by using small steps on my toes to get myself to the top without walking. Through a gate and onto a farmers field followed by a long trail of deep gluey stick mud which mixed in with a lot of gates to open and close proved tricky in stop/starting and trying not to slip in the mud.

The end was here “so soon” I thought. I could hear some cheers from already finished Striders Paul, David, Mike, Graeme, Richard, Aaron, and Shaun. Not far behind me came Jan followed by Camilla and the rest of our pack.

So the first race of the year was complete without falling over and with both trainers still on my feet. Well done everyone!


Pos Name Club Cat Catpos Time
1 James Bulman New Marske Harriers M40 1 33.09
9 Bronwen Owen Scarborough AC FJ 1 35.58
24 Paul Evans M 10 37.20
74 David Gibson M45 14 42.01
77 Michael Bennett M55 2 42.06
81 Graeme Walton M40 17 42.21
90 Richard Hall M55 3 43.01
109 Aaron Gourley M 37 44.08
110 Shaun Roberts M55 5 44.10
114 Katy Walton F 3 44.43
144 Michael Hughes M45 27 46.14
175 Nigel Heppell M55 11 48.46
178 Ralph Heppell *HS M 54 48.47
196 Jan Young F60 2 50.17
212 Camilla Lauren-Maatta F45 7 51.30
227 David Shipman M55 25 53.45
235 Stephanie Barlow F40 9 55.42
244 Kirsty Anderson F 17 59.29
262 Mark Dunseith M 60 80.09
263 Anita Dunseith F 21 80.12

263 finishers
*HS Honorary Strider. Mens’ teams 11th and 18th of 20. Womens’ teams 2nd and 11th of 12.

(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race, near Stanhope, Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. BS / 6M / 1000'

Mark Dunseith

Grand Prix Race. King/Queen of the Mountain Race.  I looked at the list of GP races on the club website and decided that this would be a good one for me to take part in. It would be well represented by people in purple and I really enjoyed my first outing in to fell racing (Broughton Wood Wobble earlier in the year) and it was a midweek race so I should be free to attend. As it was ‘enter on the night’ there was also no risk of entering then double booking myself. It was only when I got nearer to the race that I realised I had the Tynedale 10k on the next evening. I decided I would do both and just run this race rather than race it.

We arrived at the top of Crawleyside bank (a place that holds only memories of pain for me so far, as cycling up that is less than pleasant) and as we stepped out if the car I was nearly blown over by the wind. Leaving Durham it was a lovely summer’s night so this was not what I had in mind for a slow Tuesday evening run. Anyway, I signed up and moved to the start line with the other Striders where I told them my plans of taking it easy.

After announcements the race started and the first 1.6 miles up to the mast was very difficult. On the DOW run the previous night I contemplated stopping after a mile or so because I was knackered but I managed to keep going so when I felt the same again during this run I told myself to keep going till we crossed the road and we’ll see how we go then.

Up round the mast and there was a long downhill section. Running down the ‘path’ I nearly lost my footing quite a few times and again started worrying about my previous ankle injury and whether a fell run was such a good idea. One runner fell just in front of us but she told everyone who stopped to help to keep going. Danny Lim was right behind me as we reached the bottom of the hill and spotted the road. As Danny overtook me he ran straight into a muddy bog. Knee deep in mud and with me less than a second behind we ended up side by side stuck in mud.

I ran on expecting Danny to retake me but I had my sights set on Alister and Rachel in the distance (I later found out that the reason Danny didn’t overtake me again was that he was trying to retrieve his shoe from the knee deep mud). In my head I did a split time for Alister and Rachel, 45 seconds. I lost sight of them and not until we were heading down to the river did I see them again, 25 seconds. When I got to the top of the bank Rachel was nowhere to be seen but Alister was just ahead of me. I put my fell running descent technique (I had previously Googled this after being overtaken by a sloth during my first fell race) into action and took Alister on the descent (most of which I spent on my backside due to being a bit too eager). I clipped my number and took off after Rachel who I could see in the distance.

The next half mile or so was terrible for running – trying to run straight on a very sloping bank so lots of pressure being put on one hip. I overtook Rachel before I got to the last climb to the finish line. I looked at my Garmin which said 5.2+ miles gone in around 50 minutes. Only 0.3 miles to go so I should break an hour, or so I thought. Cue the hill that never ends. I had nothing left to give so slowly started walking up the hill and waiting for Striders to start overtaking me again. Rachel was first and I tried a feeble attempt to cheer her on. I rounded a corner and I could see the finish line and after another check of the watch I started running with an hour still the target and to stay ahead of any Striders behind me. Up the hill and over the line in ……… 1 hour and 30 seconds. Never mind, there is always next year.

This was a good race despite not really feeling it at the start and the fact that Saltwell Harriers said it was ‘the worst weather we’ve ever had for the race’. Lets hope its blue sky and sunshine next year.


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Andy Blackett DFR M 41.58
17 Thomas Reeves MV45 48.49
24 Karen Robertson NFR FV40 50.22
25 Geoff Davis MV55 51.12
30 Michael Bennett MV55 52.52
42 Shaun Roberts MV55 55.04
45 Aaron Gourley M 55.18
66 Rachael Bullock F 59.54
71 Mark Dunseith M 60.25
73 David Selby MV40 60.31
78 Susan Davis FV50 61.43
80 Alister Robson MV40 63.25
82 Phil Owen MV45 64.05
84 Danny Lim M 65.01
86 Katy Walton F 66.14
97 Anita Clementon FV40 78.42

98 finishers.

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Whorlton Run, North York Moors, Wednesday, June 19, 2013

BS / 6.1M / 1230'

Danny Lim

I had never run so fast in my entire life. Not that I had a choice in the matter, gravity was hurtling me down this steep path which seemed to go on forever! I was getting tired just running downhill; how was this possible? Only 20 minutes earlier I was climbing up the side of a very steep bank. It’s not natural to be climbing a fell this fast. [ What am I doing here? I’m a fell-walker not a fell-runner! ] There was the odd bit of scrambling, all thrown in for free. Maybe because I took a slightly different route up.

Within 10 minutes climb, I was atop a featureless plateau of the North York Moors. Running here was relatively easy, though the brown heather slowed me slightly as it brushed my legs. No grouse to be seen; either the wrong season or the frontrunners had scared them off. I snatched glimpses of the gorgeous countryside below. Lush, green pastures, dotted with sheep were interspered with golden rapeseed fields. It felt like I was at the top of the world. However, the fear of falling flat on my face prevented me from staring too long.

A lovely evening for a run on the Moors.

Before long, it was time to descend, assisted by the full force of gravity. Eventually, the mile-long path flattened out into a forest trail. It was at this point, I started getting cramps in my calf and was forced to slow down, but potter on I did. Mike Benett, Nigel and David Brown were far ahead and I knew David Shipman, Laura and Jan Young were behind somewhere but I couldn’t see them. The course took me through sheep-filled pasture, past a farmhouse (with supportive farmer’s family) before hitting a tarmac road for the final stretch to the finish. ” ‘alf a mile to go!” shouted the bare-chested marshal. It was the longest half mile ever. I finished to the cheers from the faster Striders. The backdrop to the finish was a handsome stone fort. Later, I learnt that it was a scheduled ancient monument and just the gatehouse for Whorlton Castle,which has fallen into ruin. The castle must have been extensive!

This is racing at its grass-roots. Turn up on the day, pay £6 and you’re entered. There was no aerobics warm-up, DJ with cheesy music, water stations, cheer-points or medal at the end. This was an adrenaline-filled, no-frills, old-fashioned fell race. And it certainly won’t be my last.

(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)

Carlton Challenge, North Yorks Moors, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

BS / 5m / 1181ft

Anita Clementson

On the sunny evening of 15th May, four Striders set off on a lovely sunny evening to a small fell race on the Cleveland Hills.

Race ‘registration’ was at the top of the hill (rather strange for a fell race to start at the top of the hill I thought). Jan parked her car amongst the others at the side of the road. A queue was formed near a car where registration was taking place. Bargain at £6!

Anita leads the way across the moors.

In true fell race style the ‘toilet stop’ was to find some shrubbery or discreet side of the hill to relieve yourself pre-race. Approx 100 runners were set off after a brief announcement. First going was through the heather and bracken slightly downhill, soon there was a clear line of runners ahead. The rain earlier in the day made for some slippy conditions and I found the going downhill bit quite tricky over peaty uneven ground, I thought I’d better dig in and speed up though as didn’t want to lose sight of any runners in front of me in case I got lost. (although the map showed quite a simple loop) but there is always the risk of this happening and easily taking a wrong corner, especially when you are concentrating on your footing so much and not taking much notice of what is going on ahead of you.

After a couple of miles of going downhill (and knowing there would be an ‘up’ at somepoint), the route went through a lovely woodsetting. Then we joined the ‘yellow brickroad’, the familiar paving of the Cleveland Way. I could spot plenty of runners dotted out ahead of me. I dug in and managed to close the gap quite well. The views across to Teeside and Roseberry Topping were stunning. Up and up (I’m sure didn’t go down as far as this!) and then finally reached the trig point at the top and could see it was just a short descent to the race finish. Down the ‘devil steps’, these were tricky and I ended up walking down and lost precious time. First time I ended a race not out of breath.

Good results from other Striders with the ladies team represented by myself Jan and Laura, 6th out of 9 possible places. Jan did splendidly though and came 1st in her age category. Mike also had a good run, also winning his age category, and Laura whom has taken to the fell circuit very well in her short time with the Striders, also had a good one.

Highly recommended and this race would be good for any fell newbies as an easy route and distance not too far.

(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)

Pinchinthorpe Plod, Guisborough Forest, Sunday, April 7, 2013

BS / 6.2M / 900'

Dave Shipman

Perfect weather, cool, blue skies and no wind, so expectations were high as Mike Bennett and I headed down the A19 for the next race in the Esk Valley Winter fell series. Surely even on the tops of the Cleveland Hills there would be no more snow and ice to contend with?

In reality it turned out to be one of the most pleasant fell-running experiences I have had so I would strongly recommend this race to others. Registration at the Pinchinthorpe Railway Station, in the carriage opposite the cafe, parking in a farm field nearby so no hassles, competitors seemed very cheery and enjoying the sunnier weather, many wearing just vest and shorts, with a relaxed attitude to kit requirements, though Mike and I both stuck to the trusted “bum bag and extra gear just in case” approach.

The run started on the old railway line, now a popular mountain-biking route, before cutting steeply up through the woods on the first of only two significant hills. A long,dry trail along the ridge/tree line followed, great views across and before a steep dip and ascent no.2, then a stretch across the moor edge, rather bleak where forestry has recently been ripped out, and clearly very muddy in recent times, but fortunately not so today!! A sharp left and a descent to the Hanging Stones came next. Pre-race instructions had included time penalties for taking short-cuts and the fact that we had to touch one of the said stones, all sounded very significant, possibly complicated and taxing, but in reality you couldn’t miss them and giving one a pat in passing was straight-forward. It was then a steep descent through woods, including some very greasy bits, some wiggly ‘where does the route go’ next bits (some folk did get lost too: I came across a couple from NYM club who had gone completely the wrong way) then a lovely, gradual downhill through woods past the Blue Lake, and finally a couple of miles on farm tracks and old railway lines to get us back to Pinchinthorpe.

It was about 10k with 900 feet of climb, very runnable overall. Mike had a storming run, I plodded round at the rear. Great stuff and only £6 a head. Bring on the summer series – keep an eye out for car sharing to mid-week races if you fancy it.

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)