Tag Archives: Durham Three Peaks

Durham 3 Peaks – Strider Club night, Maiden Castle, Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Stuart Scott

The most fun I’ve ever had over 3 miles!

As soon as I heard about this event I was excited. I’d put so much into the last big challenge. I’d been at a bit of a loose end ever since. This race was my new focus and I wanted to win it.

I’d spent a lot of time over the last year looking at maps and running on hills and wanted to use this to my full advantage. I’d had a look at who was interested in running and knew I wasn’t the fastest but I also knew the massive advantage I could gain by recceing the route well.

I went into full-on stealth mode by switching my Strava account onto private so nobody could see what I was up to; daft I know, as nobody other than me was probably taking it this far, but I was enjoying it. I went out on about 3 recces of the route before I found a line that looked great. It was direct and would save me a big climb, the only problem was, I needed a step ladder.

I was originally planning on using a rope ladder so thought I’d treat my kids to a rope ladder addition to their climbing frame, which I could, then borrow. I could then tie it in place and pull down myself with a bit of string on the night. After testing this method out, it became apparent it wasn’t ideal and I was worried if I committed to this route and couldn’t get up on the rope ladder I’d lose a good few minutes rerouting. I decided I needed a proper ladder and luckily I had an old 12ft set at the side of my garage.

I went down to Whinney Hill roundabout the night before the race and stashed the ladder in a bush before taking a few photos I could then pass on to my partner in crime Elaine Bisson; I also gave her a full brief of what I needed. That was part one of my cunning plan sorted

Part two involved a swim across the river and after a quick up and down the river banks, it became apparent there weren’t many good exit points so I went for a crossing point just by Durham Rowing Club. I didn’t bother having a practice swim and thought I’d leave that one for the night.

Come race night I couldn’t help but chuckle away to myself on the way down to Maiden Castle and I was very relieved to see the ladders were still in place and Elaine was down at the club ready to go, we were both smiling away about it like naughty school kids.

The race set off and I ran as fast as I could across the field and up to the first checkpoint my plan was to get down first, I was sure nobody else would take the route down I had chosen but I didn’t want anyone to follow me and also make use of my secret weapon – the ladders. Elaine had been instructed to move the ladders straight out the way as soon as I was up but if someone was right on my tail that could have been tricky.

I’m pleased to say I made it down first and Elaine had done an excellent job in positioning the ladders, I shot straight-up them then turned to see Elaine running away with them to stash back in the bush. I had a really big smile on my face now and was again chuckling away to myself.

I hit the second checkpoint then headed straight for the Rowing Club. As I ran through the car park, about half a dozen people turned to see where on earth I was heading. I smiled and said don’t worry I’m in a race and then jumped straight into the river. All the rowers on two boats nearby stopped immediately and turned round to see what on earth this madman was doing in the river, I reassured them I wasn’t trying to end my life and made my way to the other side very pleased to see no other runners in sight.

I made a quick ascent to tag the last checkpoint then made my way back down to the river still with no sign of anyone on my tail. As I hit the riverbank I could see Elaine heading towards Maiden Castle, she had been hoping to catch my river crossing but didn’t make it in time. I soon caught Elaine up and was pleased she could confirm nobody else had been passed. It was a short run into Maiden Castle from here and was great to finish the race first, the plan had been a success!

A couple of people were laughing at the end about the fact I was soaked through and had obviously been for a swim. It was great fun to be able to reply ‘the swim was only part of it wait until you hear about the 12ft ladder.’…

This really was one of the most fun and enjoyable races I’ve ever done and the response I’ve had from so many about it has been fantastic, I really can’t wait to see what everyone pulls out the bag next time.

Massive thank you again to everyone involved in organising it and bring on the next one.


1Stuart Scott25:12
2Phil Ray26:47
3James Garland27:12
4Conrad White27:34
5Michael Littlewood28:19
6Tim Skelton28:50
7Juan Corbacho29:43
8Ian Butler30:52
9Steve Winship30:52
10Terry Robertson30:52
11Mark Payne32:16
12Jonathan Hamill35:47
13David Browbank35.47
14Robert Allfree35:49
15Dave Toth35:50
16Camilla Maatta36:44
17Steve Ellis36:43
18Chantel Gimby37:30
19Esme Heppell37:50
20Nigel Heppell37:50
21Malcolm Sygrove38:00
22Marita Grimwood39:23
23Damion Cook42:54
24Tim Matthews43:53
25Peter Bell44:14
26Jane Dowsett45:18
27Wendy Littlewood45:18
28Alan Smith45:34
29Carolyn Galulu48:15
30Jill Rudkin48:19
31Nicola Dorricott48:34
32Paul O Hara48:45
33Lynne Waugh48:47
34Becks Lippe48:50
35Roz Layton48:52
36Louise Hughes48:55
37Toni Malkin48:55
38Catherine Smith48.56
39Gareth Pritchard49:00
40James Potter49:02
41Peter Hart49:03
42Sarah Fawcett49.50
43Lesley Hamill50:00
44Karen Byng50:00
45Tom Milburn51.49
46Allison Smith52:43
47Alan Scott52:46
48Matthew David53.41
50Sue Walker54:20
51Phil Todd54:28
52Kath Priest54:28
53Wendy Hughes54:38
54Louise Billcliffe54:42
55Lizzie Wallace54:46
56Danielle Glassey54:46
57Danielle Whitworth54:49
58Keith Wesson54:49
59Jon Turner54:50
60Kirsty Nelson54:55
61Sharon Pattison54:56
62Kerry Barnett58:30
63Alison Clarke58:33
64Carol Holgate58:36
65Sandie Greener58:36
66Helen Linton58:54
67Jean Bradley64:40
68Laura Jennings64:41
69Stef Barlow64:45
70Neil Garthwaite64:57
71Simon Dobson64:57
72Becca Gilmore2 peaks
73Kirsten Fenwick2 peaks
74Alison Heslop2 peaks
75Vics JacksonRetired
First 5 to the top of Houghall Steps (STEPS)

1: Stuart Scott
2: Tim Skelton
3: James Garland
4: Michael Littlewood
5: Mark Payne

First 5 to the top of Whinney Hill (STILE)

1: Chantelle Gimby
2: Nigel Heppell
3: Malcolm Sygrove
4: Esme Heppell
5: James Garland

First 5 to Pelaw Woods Pop Bottle Bridge (BRIDGE)

1: Phil Ray
2: Conrad White
3: Tom Milburn
4: Alison smith
5: Laura Jennings

(Visited 85 times, 1 visits today)

Durham Three Peaks, Wednesday, September 3, 2014

2.53M to infinity

Danny Lim

I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. It’s like being a child again. Like all the best children’s games, they have the simplest of rules. The first runner to reach the tops of three local hills and return wins.

As the main horde of runners rushed for the gate, I was feeling rebellious and clambered over the fence. After narrowly missed being run over, I trespassed through Houghall College before reaching a gap in the hedges; seems like everyone had the same idea!

Earlier, I did a recce and had a cunning route in mind. But all that went to pot when I saw Geoff Davies going off-piste up a steep bank, several runners in tow. Like a bull to a rag, I gave chase (Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!). I thought I was being smart by cutting them off, but ended up sloshing around in the mud, wrestling with a pine tree followed by a prickly holly. Eventually, I hacked my way through the undergrowth only to find Geoff barrelling towards me, having already reached the first checkpoint. I charged ahead, only to have an uncomfortably close encounter with Scott Watson in a slap-stick pantomime way.

This set the tone for the rest of the race, with me recklessly making it up as I went along, getting hopelessly disorientated and being afflicted by a minor mishap. I’m sure I would have done a better time if I stuck to my planned route, but I enjoyed getting lost and making friends with the undergrowth. There was something liberating and maybe that’s why it was so much fun! Next year, I’ll stick to my plan (uh huh).

Thanks very much Paul Evans and all the volunteers for such a fun evening.

(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)

Durham Three Peaks, Wednesday, August 8, 2012

3 hills - individual route choice

David Catterick

From what I understand this race has a long pedigree and its current caretakers are Jan, Dave S and Geoff W. (Sorry for any omissions).

So 3 check points within about 1 mile radius of Maiden Castle in any order, any route, how difficult could that be?

Having run what seemed miles last year, this year I was prepared. After a chat with Dougie at the Saturday`s Park Run I had a route map, though looking at it, I didn`t understand how he`d appeared to have run over water! So the weekend before off we were for a recce. Harry, Martha, a map and me. Wednesday arrived and , for a change, lovely weather. Down at Maiden Castle more and more runners arrived to sign up (£1 fee).

By the start at 7.15pm some 40+ headed off in at least 3 directions safe in the knowledge that their efforts would be recorded at each of the 3 check points.

Durham 3 Peaks startDurham 3 Peaks start

Harry and I had decided to head off to Houghall Wood first. Reassuringly Geoff, Sue and Nigel were ahead of us. After reaching CP1 off we were to CP2 at the style at the NW corner of Whinney Hill summit. As I Gasped “don`t wait for me” for the sixth time we were next heading down hill towards the Maiden Castle Bridge, avoiding intrepid runners climbing up it! The weekend before we had planted way marks so we could find follow the route up to CP3 (south of the bridge). As we ran I couldn`t but notice the ferns, twigs, stones and tape that had appeared since Saturday that seemed to point us in the right direction! On the way up we passed Geoff on his way to the finish. The final run down back to Maiden Castle was great… no more hills. Across the bridge the final 300 metres was a challenge especially as my 12 year old son was in front of me (he still believes I let him win – Oh the naivity of youth!)

Finally at the finish everyone arrived back safely (including Sue Jennings whose navigation skills were again challenged!).

Prize time was great. Thanks to contacts in Mars we were treated to a large hamper of Mars goodies next to a box of wine and beer. Enough for a prize for everyone.

As I write this I can`t recall who came where. What I remember is at least Dougie and Marco were this year`s Water Babes. Will Horsley was first back and had time to demonstrate his new bike, Nigel fell off it and Sue J got lost (again!). Thanks to all for another brilliant Elvet Striders Run!

(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)

Durham Three Peaks, Friday, June 22, 2012

3 peaks

Dougie Nisbet and Geoff Watson

Nigel and PhilDaveKathryn

Some might disagree, but the Durham Three Peaks is as much a game as it is a race. So many permutations in under three miles. Free of Charge. And with the promise of bluff, double-bluff, and a hint of mischief, it really is a race not to be missed.

When I ran it last year I was delighted to finish in fourth place in 30 minutes and a sprinkling of seconds. This year I was determined to do better. I recced the route and studied the film. I burned the midnight oil measuring the relative distances using different routes and wondered if I could swim 10 metres faster than I could run 230. Probably not, but jumping in the Wear struck me as infinitely more exciting than going the long way round.

I don’t think there’s a Start quite like this one. I imagine this is what the big-bang was like. God shouts “Go!” and all matter of Striders explode outwards in every direction. My first choice of checkpoint was the Steps in Great High Wood and I dashed away with what seemed an unfeasibly earnest bundle of Striders. Local knowledge (4 years of studying at Houghall College) allowed me to take a pretty direct line through the grounds towards the woods. I was then dismayed but should not have been surprised to discover that I wasn’t the only one to be taking the direct route up through the woods. Climbing straight up my memorised route I noticed a mysterious paper trail of pink that seemed to veer away to the left. I had a feeling it would probably finish somewhere in the middle of a holly thicket.

Out of the woods, to Phil Owen marshalling at the steps, then on to Whinney Hill. I stormed down the track looking for my pre-arranged marker tree. As an arborist I probably shouldn’t admit to this, but when you’re hammering down a woodland track, all trees look the same. I saw a likely looking larch (it was actually a rowan but that would spoil the alliteration) and I veered to the right and down to the low road. A gleeful tumble down the bank then across the main road, and up again.

At Nina’s checkpoint I had a decision to make. Go or No go. Swim or Bridge. All my plans and recces had assumed I would take a direct line towards the Durham Cow. But it had been raining hard all afternoon and I was not so sure now. The Wear might be feeling a bit full and frisky and might see me as a plaything. Ah what the hell, you’re a long time deid.

Straight down the bank and an unfeasible amount of nettles, then to the bandstand. The students who had been sheltering in the bandstand must have thought the world was going mad as the second runner in as many minutes ran past and disappeared from view. There’s a little Wych Elm just by the river that was my marker and a slid down the river bank and plunged into the Wear. Straight up past the nadgers and right up to the neck, and suddenly I felt mortal. In the river rat race we had buoyancy aids and lifeguards, here there was just a big lonely swollen river. When I realised that I was just a couple of metres from the bank and couldn’t touch the bottom I nearly lost my nerve and paused to give myself a talking to. Then, trying to do a bit of Pythagoras in my head, I struck out in my sedate breast stroke for the opposite bank, hoping that the square of the hypotenuse was equal to me going roughly that-away.

I was feeling ridiculously euphoric when I (eventually) hauled myself out exactly where I wanted to be on the Pelaw Woods side. I may even had punched the air and high-fived a bit of empty space before rather spoiling the moment by having to retie both my shoe-laces. I glared suspiciously at the river and wondered what strange river-life had managed to do that before heading up towards the final checkpoint.

As I sprinted to the finish I was not looking over my shoulder, I was looking at all the other points of the compass to see if I was going to get pipped at the post by someone taking a different dastardly route. Arriving at the finish I found that a few Striders were already home. I was a few minutes faster than last year so I was happy with my new PB. And then it was just a matter of waiting for everyone else to come home; the injured, dazed, lost and confused.

Thanks to Geoff and Jan for organising this fiendish and fun race, and to Flip, Dave and Nina for their encouragement at the checkpoints. Next year I might do it anti-clockwise …

… Geoff Watson

A damp, humid, overcast and wet evening saw the 3 peaks race take place once again. A good turnout of 28 people saw runners disappearing off in various directions either following or searching for their best route. There seems to be a preference for either the steps or bridge first, only Jan seemed to go to the stile first.

3 runners took to the water this year, Dougie Nisbet, Matt Claydon and Geoff Watson. There were 3 DNF’s. Poor Peter Bell who stood on a wasp’s nest limped in looking as if he was in some pain. Hopefully Peter will recover soon from that. Kit Chong didn’t make it to the bridge, but recorded times at both the stile and steps on two separate occasions! Phil Todd managed to visit the steps, the stile and steps again before running out of time. Everyone managed to return safely, all completing the course within 45 minutes. James and Mathew Reeves were the junior entrants and completed the full course. Well done to both!

Jan assembled a fantastic prize list once again, Geoff Davis received 1st male prize and Susan Davis 1st female prize. James and Mathew took the junior prizes and there were plenty of spot prizes too.

Many thanks to David Shipman, Phil Owen and Nina Mason for marshalling and time keeping at the checkpoints. Also many thanks to Paul Evans to for starting the race and recording the finish times. Thanks also to Jan for providing a great prize list again!


1Geoff Watson04:5610:0318:2823:33
2Geoff Davis05:1811:3119:5925:37
3Matt Claydon05:0511:1319:4525:53
4James Garland21:1514:5807:4626:52
5Dougie Nisbet05:5912:3021:4728:09
6Nigel Heppell24:2117:2307:2628:56
7Marco Fanden Bremen24:2117:2307:0929:18
8Tom Reeves26:4018:1307:4632:56
8Mathew Reeves26:4020:0307:4632:56
10Susan Davis06:2014:3325:0833:06
11Jan Young27:2019:1331:1433:34
12Dave Catterick08:1816:2726:5933:46
13James Reeves29:1418:1310:0236:55
14Ian Spencer29:3420:1308:5037:06
15Joan Reeves28:3420:2310:0937:32
16Dave Robson31:0619:2309:1737:55
17George Nicholson08:2816:2831:3539:13
18Jim Wesley08:1816:2831:1439:14
19Kathryn Sygrove09:0416:3331:1839:18
20Karen Chalkley09:0416:2831:3839:32
21Angela Proctor08:3716:2831:1239:42
22Simon Kelly32:0423:1809:4740:08
22Lois Albin32:0423:1809:0740:08
24Jo Porter34:2023:1809:0242:08
24Jo Richardson34:2023:3309:1542:08
DNFPeter Bell07:0519:33–:––:–
DNFKit Chong05:0811:43–:––:–
DNFPhil Todd09:1418:16–:––:–
(Visited 37 times, 1 visits today)

Durham Three Peaks, Wednesday, June 23, 2010

3 hills, no fixed route

Geoff Watson

Louise: Striders Miss Wet T-Shirt 2010The first running of the Striders “3 peaks” since 2001 saw 20 runners turn up to take on the challenge. The evening was warm and dry making ideal conditions. The challenge involves visiting 3 check points on hill tops in Houghall Woods, Pelaw woods and Maiden Castle woods by foot and by any route you choose. The way to do well though is to have a thorough recce beforehand.

At 7:15 the runners darted off from the cricket field in various directions. Tom and Nigel headed towards Pelaw woods followed by Dave Robson and co. George Nicholson headed for Maiden Castle hill followed by a group of ladies. I’m not sure if it was his magnetism or if he had a magnetic compass. The rest including Dougie and Louise went off to Houghall Woods.

Tom made good progress and was back soon passing across the bridge at MC. Nigel wasn’t far behind. Louise opted for the wet option and took to the river near the bandstand en route to Pelaw woods on her last check point. Where everyone else was I have no idea, but you can see the order of route choice from the checkpoint times.

Tom was the first back with Nigel second and Fiona was first Lady. Jan and Callum did a great job on the finish and many thanks to Dave Shipman, Mandy Dawson and Tony Young for marshalling the checkpoints. Jan assembled a fantastic prize list of wine, beer and chocolate and everyone went home with something. There were prizes also for the first person to a checkpoint.

Thank you to everyone who helped and took part and to Bob Johnson for letting us organise it again. Hopefully an annual event now!


1Tom Reeves19:3512:4605:0025:13
2Nigel Heppell23:3314:5706:0027:04
3Fiona Shenton06:3512:5223:0529:52
4Dougie Nisbet07:1613:0723:0030:16
5Louise Billcliffe07:3013:3325:1034:02
6Richard Hall13:5803:5528:1836:28
7George Nicholson13:3803:3928:1037:02
8Karen Chalkley13:3803:4228:1437:03
9Zoe Evans13:3803:4028:1237:03
10Denise Mason13:3803:4328:1637:04
11Graham Arrowsmith06:2612:5728:2037:05
12Andy James08:3016:2230:0039:17
13Jim Nicholson08:4816:2930:0539:20
14Jean Bradley07:4916:4330:0439:28
15John Redfearn08:4716:1530:0339:46
16Kathryn Sygrove14:2804:0631:0041:36
17Anita Ramsey14:2904:0331:0041:38
18Cheralyn Stott35:2023:2809:0543:45
19Lynn Bargewell35:2023:2809:1243:46
20Dave Robson35:2023:1609:1043:47
(Visited 66 times, 1 visits today)

Durham Three Peaks, Wednesday, August 15, 2001

(approx): 4km/150m

The Flyer from the 2001 Durham Three Peaks:


Elvet Striders


7:30pm Wednesday 15 Aug 01

A foot race, starting and finishing on the Maiden Castle field.
Visit three nearby hill-tops, choosing your own route.
Mass start, first runner back wins..

Hill-top checkpoints — see map — are:
South end of the footbridge on the N side of Pelaw Woods.
Stile in the NW corner of the summit of Maiden Castle Hill.
Top of the steps behind Mountjoy Cottage (Great High Wood).

Visit all three checkpoints, in any order, taking any route between them.

Each checkpoint will be marshalled and runners recorded until 8:15pm.

Distance/climb (approx): 4km/150m — terrain: paths, tracks, river.
Records — (m) C Featherstone 19:40 — (f) K White 24:59.

Prizes: there will be some, allegedly.

Entries: in advance £1.00 — on the day £2.00
to Bob Johnson on 0191 384 8953 or e-mail.

Road crossings will not be marshalled — be careful!
You take part at your own risk.

1Andy Scaife06:3111:0018:0623:12
2Geoff Davis06:4611:0018:1923:22
3Geoff Watson06:3011:0018:0224:03
4Peter Clark07:2813:0020:5426:34
5Fiona Shenton23:3415:0005:3628:29
6Mike Bennett07:3513:0021:0429:44
7Jan Young09:2815:0024:0929:56
8Roz Layton07:5614:0024:1430:36
9Dave Shipman25:5016:0006:0631:28
10Chris Hedley Jr08:5414:0024:0232:29
11Dave Smith08:5714:0024:0432:33
12Paul Dunn28:3103:0014:5632:34
13Chris Hedley Sr08:5614:0024:0132:58
14Linda McDermott09:2716:0027:4234:21
15Peter McDermott09:2616:0027:4234:23
16Susan Davis08:2215:0025:5234:31
17Alan Purvis24:0031:0007:0434:34
18Alan Smith08:1916:0025:2936:12
19Jim Nicholson29:3118:0006:5437:30
20Allan Seheult08:5221:0033:1640:07
21Ian Graham08:47??19:4347:20

Thanks to Judith, Mike, Bob, Barry, John, Yvonne, Yvette …
… Susan, Roz, Allan … and all supporters … and all runners.

(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)

Durham Three Peaks, Monday, July 8, 1996

(approx): 4km/150m


1Cliff Featherstone04:0008:0015:2719:40
2Keith Greenwell04:0009:3016:0220:05
3John Holmes04:0009:3015:5720:06
4Tim Hardman04:0009:3016:0020:13
5Andy Adams16:0012:4004:0021:25
6Tony Young04:0009:3517:0521:33
7Andy Scaife04:0010:3718:0022:13
8Nigel Starling04:0009:4517:2422:19
9Dave Shipman04:0010:3718:0722:47
10Paul Loftus17:0013:5004:0822:56
11Jonty Rougier15:0020:2005:3324:04
12Kendra White05:0011:1519:5624:59
13Bill Appleby05:0011:1520:0025:02
14Phil Layton05:0012:3020:1525:14
15Richard Hepworth05:0013:1520:2225:19
16Dave Ritson05:0012:5520:3126:01
17Gary Foster16:0024:1705:3627:03
18Chris Hedley17:0024:1706:0727:14
19Ian Donnachie04:0013:1521:4827:50
20Roz Layton06:0013:1522:2227:58
21Barrie Evans06:0013:4023:0928:05
22John Redfearn05:0013:1522:1528:29
23Graham Johnson06:0014:2023:5329:37
24Bill Gibbon22:0016:3707:0030:15
25Chris Farnsworth06:0014:3324:2730:19
26Jan Young05:0013:1525:2330:24
27Fiona Shenton06:0013:4025:2931:01
28Dick Bevan06:0014:3023:3131:45
--Barry Bird--16:1306:50dnf

Thanks to Janice, Nick, Bob, Jessica, Lynne, Andy, Allan ….
… and all photographers and supporters … and runners.

(Visited 49 times, 1 visits today)