Tag Archives: Commondale Clart

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.

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Commondale Clart, North York Moors, Sunday, February 17, 2013

BS / 5.2m / 722'

David Shipman

Beautiful, sunny skies and temperatures above freezing with only a breeze made for near-perfect running conditions on Sunday, apart from the fact that underfoot all was entirely clarty, as the race title suggested!!

Numbers depleted by the late drop outs, Mike B and Nigel H, a small band of Striders assembled outside the pub in Commondale village, rallied by Jan Y, led home by Will H, with Mike, David, Laura and Barbara also enjoying a largely runnable route across the moors, with fantastic panoramas if you took a moment to pause for the views and get the breath back … which was essential after the uphill start.

Despite the abundant clart the path was pretty easy to follow for us mere mortals, though at the sharp end the leading pack of 8 runners, including Will, missed a turn and headed for the next valley, finishing much further down the field than pace and form indicated, so for Will it was a disappointing start to the NE fells championships!!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Joe Blackett Dark Peak FR MV45 40.00
14 Kay Neesam New Marske Harriers FV45 1 41.43
55 Will Horsley NFR M 21 49.40
71 Michael Hughes MV45 11 52.07
83 David Shipman MV55 8 53.08
103 Jan Young FV60 1 57.11
117 Barbara Dick MV40 7 65.18

128 finishers.

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Commondale Clart, North York Moors, Sunday, February 26, 2012

BS / 8.3km / 220m

Nigel Heppell

At 5.4 miles, a relatively short fell race in the North York Moors Winter Series. Starts with a brutally steep but thankfully short, road climb NE out of Commondale before turning northwards onto the moor and the traditional home of the ‘clart’. Not this year though. After a dry winter, conditions underfoot are ‘good’. This means the bogginess is only ankle deep and I see just one runner lose a shoe in the gloop. A steady 2.5km horizontal trudge along the 280m contour is followed by a runnable climb past the Hob On The Hill and a glorious continuous descent on good moorland tracks for the next 2k; a short climb up the side of Thunderbush Moor to meet the road and full speed ahead back into the village. Five runners beat the existing course record.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Cameron Taylor Esk Valley FC MJ 1 33.54
59 Shaun Roberts MV55 3 45.02
70 Nina Mason F 2 46.08
83 Nigel Heppell MV55 6 47.33
122 Jan Young FV55 2 52.36

163 finishers.

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Commondale Clart, Sunday, February 27, 2011

BS / 5.5M / 1000'

Tom Reeves

Tom leaps over the clarts.
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

It was a fine sunny winter morning as the very large field stood on the road outside the pub in Commondale. There was a large contingent of NFR runners due the race being a northern championship race. This is a short race 5.5 miles with around 600 feet of ascent. Much of the climb was at the start, which certainly got the blood pumping!

This is not called the Commondale clart for no reason! as we headed across across Skelderskew Moor the thick oozy mud sapped the leg muscles. It would seem that the leading runners took a bit of a short cut at checkpoint 4 which led to most of the rest of the fold doing the same! I’m not sure what the upshot of this was as I left before the prizegiving.

This is a really great little race short ‘n’ sweet covering some great scenic ground.

[Tom and Jan are both in second place in their age groups in the Winter Series. Ed.]

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Commondale Clart, North York Moors, Sunday, February 28, 2010

BS / 5.5M / 1000'

Nigel Heppell

Nigel leaps over the clarts.
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

Unlike yesterday I judged my travelling time just right for my first attempt at this race and arrived at reception in the pub for 10mins warm-up in front of the open fire before the rather brutal start steeply uphill on road for a fairly simple anti-clockwise circuit of Skelderskew Moor.

I say simple; it would have been if you could get your feet out of the special kind of sticky clag that passes for a track/trail in these parts. I guess the clue is in the title; the average depth of mud must have been 6″ and when you consider the odd bits of road and some reasonable track surface you can work out for yourself what the rest was like; a bit like one gut-busting continuous hop-skip-and-jump; suffice it to say that even though the temperature peaked at 2°C in a nithering north-easterly I still managed to work up a sweat.

Don’t be deluded by the 5.5miles and 600ft climb listed on the race map, the 6miles and 1000′ featuring on the Esk Valley website has got to be nearer the mark.

Winner’s presentation in the pub was up to Dave Parry’s usual standard – generous quantities of wine and lager on offer though, sadly, none for me! It was nice to see two younger lads competing in their first ever fell race and really enjoying it – quote “that was SO much better than road racing” – what more can I say?

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