Tag Archives: Eskdale Eureka

Eskdale Eureka, Castleton, North York Moors, Sunday, December 6, 2015

BM / 8M / 1500'

Tom Reeves

As Plan A, Hexhamshire Hobble was a no goer so Plan B got underway meaning me, Steph Piper, Chairman Paul and Aaron Gourley were heading down to Castleton (not in Derbyshire Steph) to run the Eskdale Eureka. The weather was improving and it looked to be a good decision. Steph finished her fell runners breakfast of a savoury mince pie mmmm and I contemplated my first proper fell race for quite some time. The weather at the start other than being a bit blowy was spot on for racing. We had to jog / run to the start and had only caught our breath when we were off.

Paul gave it some beans at the start and I attempted to keep on his heels assuming there must be a good reason for such a fast start; there was, after the fast downhill start we hit a short steepish uphill section and people started walking in front of me holding us all up. By the time I got running again Paul was rapidly becoming a distant purple dot.

The race starts and finishes along the same two miles or so of track with a big circuit in between making the race route look like a huge deflated balloon on a string on the map. The race is generally run-nable the only section which caught me out was a very short steep bit just before checkpoint two.

There was then a really very pleasant couple of miles of good steady moorland trod which you could really get into a rhythm on. There’s a short section of fairly rough stuff through knee deep heather before the one and only road section and luckily I had a runner in front of me who found every rabbit hole, bog and rock for me 🙂 he was uttering some choice words by the time we hit the road. I of course thanked him and ran off.

The route back follows the route out and I was caught somewhat by surprise by the finish as it seemed to appear remarkably quickly. I think I did as well I could have expected. Paul of course came in first Strider followed by me then Aaron with Steph as our final runner but credit must be given to her as this was her first fell race on her own as it were and she did brilliantly overtaking we think at least 5 women on the way round.

All in all a very good fell race and in my opinion just as good as the Hobble.

(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)

Eskdale Eureka, Castleton, North York Moors, Sunday, December 14, 2014

BM / 12.6 km / 470 m

Penny Browell

Elvet Striders at the Eskdale Eureka Fell Race 2014After the freezing horrors of the Hexhamshire Hobble the week before I was a touch apprehensive about the Eureka. However I convinced myself that it was going to be fine – further south, better weather forecast, less exposed route ….Scott even declared it would be a “vest only” run on the drive down. Once we’d parked up at Castleton I think he changed his mind quite quickly. The biting cold winds were back…again…this time without snow but no less challenging. This registration and starting point of the Eureka are what I’m reliably informed could be described as those of a ‘proper’ fell race – you pay your money through a car window, get changed whilst using the car boot as shelter and the facilities are a few gorse bushes. The freezing wind made it all the more interesting and even after an attempt at a warm up I was very reluctant to give up my hoodie…

After a quick group photo and a race briefing (which I heard none of), we were off. Unusually this race starts with an off-road downhill. Great for some people – I saw Paul and Scott disappear ahead of me and Phil flew past me – but this is where I struggle the most. I failed to get going properly and then found myself stuck behind a group so that once we reached the narrow uphill path I couldn’t overtake. I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that this wasn’t going to be my day and trudged up. But fairly soon the path widened out and I gradually managed to get through and stretch my legs out. The route is a lollipop shape and included a good mix of bog, heather, fields and footpaths with none of the climbs or descents too difficult.

At about the half way mark I spotted a purple shirt ahead of me and realised it was Scott! On the uphill he was getting ever closer but I decided to tuck in behind rather than take him on. But then I heard someone coming up behind me… I can always tell the difference between a man or woman catching up with me and this was definitely a lady. Now I don’t mind men beating me but I’m not keen on girls overtaking so I put on a little burst to make sure I was ahead of both of them. Scott looked truly surprised [horrified – Ed] to see me but it wasn’t long before he was back ahead of me, along with my new lady friend. Crossing a field I managed to take a slightly shorter route which put me in front of Scott, but still behind the other lady. As I was just wondering whether I could catch her again she suddenly lost her footing and was flat out in the mud! She was quickly back on her feet and I shouted a quick “Are you OK?” as I ran past then heard Scott encouraging me not to care too much about her! [this is not painting me in a very good light – Ed]

Penny & Anita collect the Women's team prize after Jan had to make an early exitA fast-ish section followed which Scott and I ran more or less together. Then a Pickering runner just ahead of us claimed to know a good short cut off the main path so we took his word for it and followed. Unfortunately this took us through a lot of heather with hidden ditches and boggy bits which meant I slowed right down. Several runners got past us (Scott was gallantly holding back..) [no I wasn’t – Ed]

The climb back up wasn’t easy but the cars on the top of the hill gradually got closer and I was delighted to eventually see Paul and a crowd of others cheer me in with Scott just behind me. Paul had had another fantastic race in spite of battling a winter bug and it wasn’t long before the rest of the Striders gang returned. Jan stormed in as winner of her category and along with Anita we were all over the moon to be crowned winning ladies’ team (which in the fell racing world means lots of wine!).

All in all I thought it was a great race – proper fells and proper biting winds but completely runnable and beautiful scenery. Strongly recommend the Eureka to anyone who fancies trying fell races but make sure you take plenty of clothes – it’s cold up there!

(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)

Eskdale Eureka, Castleton, North York Moors, Sunday, December 8, 2013

BM / 8M / 1100'

Jan Young

Sixth fell race in NEHRA Winter Series, starting from exposed car park on Westerdale Moor edge, Castleton, NYM. Fast gallop downhill to Dibble Bridge, across a youthful River Esk, skirt Westerdale Moor edge and cross Little Hograh and Great Hograh Moors against the wind, drop down into Baysdale and short steep ascent out, to have the wind on our backs along Kildale Moor edge, crossing Esk at Hob Hole by footbridge or foot wetting ford, steep road ascent for 500m, then backtrack to end with a 500m uphill finish! Some fiddly bits through heather with hidden rocks, some wider rough tracks, boggy bits always included.

Hardened fell racer, Paul E. declared race too short, he’d just got going after 8 miles. Funny I didn’t feel like that! Good to see Dave’s injury no problem, thanks to Camilla for driving and her enthusiasm and well done to Shaun, 3rd MV55 and Mike B, 2nd MV55 scoring valuable series points. [… and Jan won the FV60s! Ed.]

Five layers on against freezing wind waiting for car park presentation; Camilla had given lifts to Peter, DFR runner and regular winner and Lucy 5th female, so car loaded up with wine/ chocolate winnings!


Pos Name Club Cat Catpos Time
1 Peter Bray DFR M 1 59.12
19 Paul Evans M 12 64.54
28 Kay Neesam New Marske FV45 1 68.59
44 Michael Bennett MV55 2 73.30
50 Shaun Roberts MV55 3 76.00
100 Jan Young FV60 1 93.38
103 Dave Shipman MV55 11 96.07
104 Camilla L.-Maatta FV45 5 97.32

113 finishers

(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)

Eskdale Eureka, Castleton, North York Moors, Sunday, December 4, 2011

BM / 12.6km / 470m

Shaun Roberts

Heading down to the North York Moors for this one, aiming for Winter Series points on this occasion, rather than Grand Prix ones at the Hobble, I was wondering if the conditions on the course were to be as extreme as on the last time I did this race. Then all the tracks were under six inches of water after weeks of rain … some parts were more full rushing streams than runnable paths. As it was to turn out, though, the moors weren’t in bad shape, and the route had also been improved by the omission of about half a mile each way of tarmac at the start and finish. Met Dougie, Nigel, Nina and Jan before the start … Jan wasn’t feeling too good, but helpfully volunteered to sweep up after the field, so she was to get some exercise anyway.

You go *that* way, then you come *back*.

A bit parky before the off … a very cold breeze … but then we had a good start on a gently-sloping trod to take us down to a footbridge, then a sharp climb where, warming up significantly, I took all the cold weather gear off … and lost my Buff … doh! Quite liked that one.

Runners who did the Hobble may weep looking at Dougie's shadow here ... this effect was caused by the *sun*!

Away to the west skirting Westerdale Moor, then a longish climb up Great Hograh Moor … it was here last time that I remember a choice of three streams to wade through … much better this time around. A lovely descent into Baysdale next, then a bit of an uphill walk. I noticed here getting my feet wet for the first time – definitely an improvement on last time – also, here we were running in bright sunshine … and fine hailstones. Quite surreal. Now a lovely fast runnable bridleway heading back east. After a bit of bracken-bashing and crossing a ford, we had the only bit of tarmac left on the course, and then events deviated a tad from my plan, which had been to follow the ‘recommended’ route back home the way we’d come out. Most of the field up ahead hung a left, onto a nice path through the heather, so following the usual ‘a million flies can’t be wrong’ principle, I did too, and luckily, a fine fast track it turned out to be. Unfortunately, it emerged above the same path-less, heathery, stony bank that Nigel and I had lost time on last time, but at least I knew exactly where I was, and just got on with it and scrambled down the thing.

Not a bad climb back up to the car park finish, by which time conditions had deteriorated sharply … very cold wet wind coming in now. I got straight into the car to get into some warm stuff, before catching up on how the others had gone on … think we all enjoyed this one. Then off to Danby’s Visitor Centre to get warm.

Drove home into Weardale to find cars emerging with six inches of snow on them. I guessed the Hobble must have been interesting once again, and from Phil’s report it looks like it was! Finally, Dear Reader, you’ll be concerned about the Buff … Nigel picked it up! Pint heading his way sometime soon …


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Cameron Taylor Esk Valley FC MJ 56.18
13 Cath Williamson Loftus & Whitby F 1 64.40
51 Shaun Roberts MV55 3 75.05
69 Nina Mason F 5 80.04
71 Nigel Heppell MV55 5 81.24
89 Dougie Nisbet MV45 9 91.38

107 finishers.

(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)

Eskdale Eureka, Castleton, Sunday, January 30, 2011

BM / 9m / 1610'

Jan Young

A calm, dull day saw Dave Shipman and I following the pack upstream, then onto Westerdale Moor, Little and Great Hograh Moors, before crossing Baysdale Beck to return to Castleton via Hob Hole ford. River levels being low, no van in the Esk this year! Plenty of mud and wet socks. Dave waxed lyrical about the views, enjoyed the course, nicked half my apres race snacks. He had nowt! Can’t grumble as he did drive, we weren’t last or lost and earned series points!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Lewis Rodgers Loftus & Whitby M 65.59
33 Shelli Gordon New Marske Harriers F 1 76.00
100 Jan Young FV55 100.50
101 Dave Shipman MV55 101.15

112 finishers.

(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)

Eskdale Eureka, North York Moors, Sunday, December 6, 2009

BM / 12.6km / 470m

Nigel Heppell

10 – 9 – 8……..? How far did we have to run? This race in the North York Moors had long been advertised as 10 miles but as the date approached the Esk Valley organisers mysteriously changed it to 8 miles and rumours began about ‘missing out the top loop’. On the day, a couple of GPS’s registered 9.1 miles and my legs agree with that – or at least they did once circulation and nervous sensations returned to them.

Jan, Shaun and I arrived with some misgivings about the weather having had heavy rain overnight and on the journey down but were pleased when it held off for the start. Having been advised not to try the riverside route because the bracken was ‘chossy’ we took off up a steep road and plunged down the other side towards the overfull river whose muddy/rocky embankment we floundered along in companionable silence apart from the usual huffing and puffing and occasional curse. Across the wooden Dibble bridge and a long steady climb up onto Westerdale and then Hograh Moors the rain started again and it was soon heads down as chunky raindrops borne on fearsome winds tried to drill through my skull; it was not a day for enjoying the views. The moorland peat and bogs were overloaded and each track turned into a raging torrent to mid-calf height making running quite difficult and numbing everything that got splashed.

Somewhere along here I passed Shaun just before fording a ‘little’ stream and tried to build up a lead across the Baysdale valley – no good – Shaun came past me running stongly uphill and I followed him onto Kildale Moor. Here the track was so flooded we ran in water for a good mile or two and I managed to get past again, accompanied by some choice mutterings as Shaun collided with submerged rocks and potholes. Soon we were near to completing the ‘top loop’ and some runners shot off down the hillside whilst others headed for the road. We all had to cross the Hob Hole footbridge and were bemused to see a white van pinned to the side of the bridge by water pressure, having been swept off the road upstream.

Nigel, with Shaun in hot pursuit, at the footbridge at Hob Hole where (allegedly) a poachers' van had been swept.
Photo courtesy and © David Aspin

Half a mile of uphill road saw Shaun sail past me again and then it was back onto the moor to retrace our footsteps to the Dibble crossing, except I didn’t recognise any of it. I caught up with Shaun again and along with another two competitors we even looked at the map before slithering down a hill on our backsides to the crossing. I’d got a lead of 100m over Shaun until we reached the final mile of road and the inevitable happened leaving me 20s behind.

Two further items:

  • Unusually for me I had to stop and re-tie a lace twice during this race, very difficult and best avoided with numb fingers;
  • Suffered my first ever dose of nipple rash – what can I say other than to other sufferers and breast feeding mothers – respect! Might have found a new use for corn plasters tho’.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Dan Middlemas Esk Valley M 1:08:31
9 Catherine Williamson Loftus & Whitby F 1 1:14:19
41 Shaun Roberts MV50 1:28:17
42 Nigel Heppell MV55 1:28:37
85 Jan Young FV55 1:50:00

86 finishers.

(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)