Tag Archives: Saltergate Gallows

Saltergate Gallows, Sunday, November 6, 2016

BM / 10.6 miles / 1411 feet

Penny Browell

A typical Dave Parry prize giving, from Saltergate Gallows 2011This is one of the Esk Valley races which I’d always fancied as it starts in Levisham, a lovely village where I’d been on holiday a few years ago. A few weeks before the race it was announced that this year’s would be run as a memorial to Dave Parry, who had been the face of Esk Valley races for years and had recently very sadly lost his battle with cancer. After hearing this I decided that although I’m cutting down on races, this would be one to put in the diary.

As the day approached the weather forecast was not the best – a part of me was quite pleased though as it had been a while since I’d run a race in bad weather and I do always enjoy the extra challenges it can present. However as we drove down I reminded myself you should be careful what you wish for. The rain was heavy and the winds strong and I started to wonder whether I really wanted to run in this. On arrival the rain kept coming and going – I think I must have changed my mind about whether to wear my waterproof about 5 times but when we lined up at the start and it started to hail I realised I had to face the fact that this was going to be a wet one… There was a decent turnout of Striders to pay their respects to Dave and the cheer when his name was mentioned went on for a good long while as was fitting. It didn’t feel right to be running one of these races without him there to send us off..

But off we went and within a couple of hundred metres I felt terrible. The race starts with a hill and I just felt exhausted straight away. I had hoped to try and stay somewhere near Geoff and Tom but they sped away and out of view within minutes… Once we were off the track and into proper fell racing I started to enjoy myself more. OK it wasn’t going to be my best race ever but I could still make the most of being in this lovely part of the world. The race is a kind of figure of 8 and really has a bit of everything – some fairly steep climbs, nice descents and a reasonable amount of track where you can get a bit of speed. As I settled in I started to pick off a few runners and on a long steady climb I spotted Geoff ahead of me and wondered whether I had it in me to make this the race I pay him back for James Herriot earlier this year. To be fair he had run more than 20 miles in the Lakes the day before but still I’ll take any situation to try and get a victory! So at the top of the hill I did indeed pass him, only for him to get me back on the descent…. At about the 6 mile mark there was a steeper climb through knee deep mud. I smiled to myself as I remembered asking Tom whether he thought it would be muddy and he’d given me a look as if to say “Are you mad?”. This was proper mud, rain, wind and everything and I was loving it! On this climb I managed to pass Geoff again who murmured something about it being all downhill from here. I thought that seemed unlikely since we still had more than 4 miles to go but carried on. (It later turned out Geoff had his watch on km rather than miles and thought the race was nearly over!)

The last part of the race was fairly easy with nothing too steep and less difficult underfoot – although there were some impressive puddles a couple of which had me submerged up to my thighs. As I slowly picked off more runners I spotted Shelli Gordon ahead. For those who don’t know Shelli, she is an amazing runner who wins pretty much all of the Hardmoors races. I tucked in behind her as I didn’t think I had a chance of beating her but as there wasn’t far to go and I still felt good I decided to chance it. Once I was past her I noticed someone else I recognised way ahead of me. With not far to go and a fairly flat last half a mile I thought I should try and catch him. I’ve only ever managed to beat Tom when he fell at Captain Cook’s and it would make my day to manage it today after such a shocking start. However there were still about 6 people between us and a long distance. I started to make ground, passing a couple of people but then he turned and saw me and immediately sped up! I did my best to catch him, passing the remaining 4 or 5 people who separated us and doing my best to sprint the last section back into the village but it was not to be. I did however pick up a prize for third lady and very much enjoyed my cake and tea in the village hall afterwards.

Esk Valley races are always a joy – great atmosphere and for anyone who hasn’t run fell races before they are a perfect introduction. Plus at £5 to enter what’s not to like…


Pos Name Club Cat Catpos Time
1 Harry Holmes York Knavesmire MO 1 75.02
20 Helen Cross Individual FO 1 95.08
26 Tom Reeves M50 4 98.21
27 Penny Browell F40 1 98.39
29 Shelli Gordon New Marske Harriers FO 2 99.22
43 Michael Bennett M60 1 105.50
64 Nigel Heppells* M60 5 118.08
88 Anita Clementson F45 4 148.38
94 Jan Young F60 DNF

93 finishers
*Nigel Heppell. Two Ps Two Ls. And now an extra S as well. You can never have too many Nigels.

(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)

Saltergate Gallows, Levisham, Sunday, October 16, 2011

BM / 17km / 430m (or longer, depending on route choice)

Shaun Roberts

Now modelling light-blue slinky undergarments ... but what the hell's happening to my shorts??? Phil Green (NFR) is not impressed, whatever. It’s a hellova long way to get to this race, the second in the NEHRA Winter Fell Series, which starts in the dinky little village of Levisham – and only Dougie and I made it down there this time. The start has been moved from the car park overlooking the Hole of Horcum, and this has lengthened the race, now making it eleven miles long. So was it worth the long drive down? Absolutely!

There’s a bit of an uphill drag to get out on the open moor, then past Dundale Pond, and over to touch Skelton Tower, before a nice run over the moors. Here I met up with a lovely-looking little group of Highland cattle, who, I find, are not normally any bother at all, but on this occasion, one of them got a bit alarmed, and started doing comical little jumps into the air. Err, and then starting walking towards me – I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I thought … I legged it into the long heather, thinking “Sod this for a game of soldiers!” [ There may have been better things to think … where the hell does that one come from? ]. Then on – adrenaline levels perhaps up a bit – and down the side of a ravine, through Pifelhead Wood, and across the NYM railway line before a lovely flattish section.

Off to pester some more runners ... Now something happened, several times over, that makes fell-running the wonderful sport that it is. Something unnoticed, imperceptible, but that is still going to cost half a dozen runners, including me, about seven minutes each. We missed a junction. Each of us failed to notice a turning, off and up into woods, carrying on oblivious until the front-runner turned back, saying he’d hit a dead-end. Doh! We were cursing Dave Parry, I can tell you, saying none of us had noticed a turnoff … until running back we saw the six-foot pole covered in marker tape, extra tape showing the path … we couldn’t believe how we’d missed it!

Dave calls for even more wine to be brought forth ... Anyway, we’d run the best part of a mile extra by now … we climbed up into the wood, up muddy steps, and then had another long fast bit back westwards, but this time with the unexpected bonus of having lots of runners to overtake! The latter parts of a fell race can be a bit of a procession, but not this time – lots of traffic, plus a sort of ‘race within a race’ between those of us who’d lost all this time.

Down to the railway line again, up Angel’s Staircase, a bit more moor and a final little climb before a lovely run back home over open moor, in what was turning out to be lovely sunny weather.

Good selection of cakes washed down with tea in the village hall, then the usual and excellent distribution of prizes in the form of wine from Dave afterwards.

Definitely worth the drive!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Stuart Carmichael City of Hull Harriers MV40 1 1:16.03
45 Shaun Roberts MV55 2 1:46:20
68 Dougie Nisbet DFR MV45 10 2:02:15

82 finishers.

(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)

Saltergate Gallows Fell Race, North Yorks Moors, Sunday, October 17, 2010

BM / 9m / 1400'

Tom Reeves

What a great day for a fell race. Sunny dry with a very light cold breeze. I was the only Elvet Strider on the start line as we set off along Levisham Moor skirting around the strangely named Hole Of Horcum. The ground was good indeed – too good for me, I was quickly overtaken by lots of runners on the largely flat wide path. If you are a trail runner this is a good race for you to try with a good 75% on very good tracks. The course has been changed this year and is a figure of eight. The route doubles back on itself along Lewisham Bottom and is a bit of a tough run through the heather. The toughest bit comes on the second loop of the figure of eight – the Angels Staircase is very steep and very muddy. Then it’s a sprint back through the woods, a good long descent then two naughty climbs to the finish.


(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)

Saltergate Gallows Fell Race, North York Moors, Sunday, October 18, 2009

BM / 8.5M / 975'

Nigel Heppell

Two Striders tried this one out for the first time on Sunday, attracted by the prospect of enhancing their standing in the Northeastern Fell Running Championships series. The race starts above the gloriously named ‘Hole of Horcum’ (see link below) and charges off down a long and slightly descending ridge on a good track allowing the ‘whippets’ to stretch out the field considerably. Nice and sunny here running into a cool breeze rapidly changed to hot and sticky as the course turned through 180 degrees past ‘Skelton Tower’ and began an equally long drag back uphill along ‘Levisham Bottoms’ before plunging down the ‘Angel’s Staircase’, through the woods and under the NYM railway line to the accompanying sounds of steam being let off somewhere – don’t think it was the runners tho’ – followed by a nice muddy/rocky track up the opposite side of the valley and a long haul across the top of ‘Yaul Sike Stack’ – that’s just above ‘Killing Nab Scar’ in case you were wondering – and then an interesting slither back down to the valley bottom on near-vertical soft wet clay churned up by the race leaders. This bit was equipped with a rope handrail by the race organisers and was said to be the preferred route because the usual descent off ‘Neadle Point’ was in dangerous condition!

Having got all the way down and across the stream and railway line again, it just remained to skirt the boggy rim of ‘Pifelhead Wood’, negotiate the trod alongside the ravine, skip through the pasture with the highland cattle- nice and placid with bemused expressions – and then go for the final short climb which seemed to be too much for a lot of people to run, before two stiles and a dash to the finish.

It was a bit hairy at times.Photo courtesy and © David Aspin

A very scenic race if you can take your eyes off the track ahead for a moment or two, and lots of prizes at the end although, sadly, none came our way! Honourable mention to Sarah Lister, winner of her category.

Note: this race coincided with a WWII weekend organised by the NYM Railway and we were treated to the sight of lots of old vehicles on the road, everyone in period costume and juggling for space in the carpark with open-topped Bentleys and Jaguars.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Lewis Banton Clown AC M 1 62.21
40 Shaun Roberts MV50 7 77.39
67 Nigel Heppell MV55 4 80.28

124 finishers.

(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)