Report by Andrew Robertshaw:
Thanks to Colin Best’s hospitality at his Northumberland holiday home at Adderstone, nr Bamburgh the pair of us traveled to the remote start near Alwinton, deep in the north Pennines.
Fell racing is often a case of ‘horses for courses‘ and I think this one was pretty much a perfect course for me. Long climbs, no tricky, technical sections and relatively gentle descents, covering 8 miles & 1800ft of ascent.
After a short road section and climb, there was a fast section across to the first checkpoint. At this point I found myself at the front of the field and hoping some of the locals knew the way as this was a ‘proper fell race‘, or in other words an unmarked course. However soon afterwards it was obvious none of the lead group was confident of the way, as we took a bad line up a tussocky climb rather than contouring round on the good track. After we caught a guy from the local Alnwick club who’d gone the correct way I decided I might as well strike it out alone and hope!
As Colin had done the race last year I knew the route followed a good path all the way, so hopefully I’d be OK. The climb up to the summit of Windy Gyle was clear, then a left turn & descent to a gate crossing. At this point I wasn’t 100% confident so waited a bit, got the race map out & after a moments thought, decided to carry on in the same direction. After finding the marshals at the 2nd left turn at the end of the horseshoe course I was a lot more confident I should be OK to the finish & so it proved, coming home 1st in 1:05:04.
Despite suffering with a quad. problem for the last few months Colin ran well to finish just a couple of minutes or so slower than last year in about an hour 37 minutes. Official results here, (clock malfunction, so unfortunately no time recorded for Colin at present).
In 4th & 1st v50 was fell running great Colin Donnelly, whose one of many achievements is the still standing record for the Welsh 3000’s (click on the link to see a video) & this weekend’s Buckden Pike.
Next year anyone?, I think I’ll have to make a return. A great race & views across the northern Pennines.