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Saturday 1st July – Blackfell Fell Race


Report from Matt Podd:

A bear went over the mountain to see what he could see

And all that he could see was the other side of the mountain

So he went back over the mountain.

This AM 8.7 mile race with 2200ft of ascent starts from Kettlewell. Mr Tait, myself and a couple of runners from Harrogate wandered to the race field by the campsite in Kettlewell. This race is based on one from the Wharfedale TT series that some of the club have run.

Off we went up Top Mere Road – actually a stony track and round over Park Rash to climb Great Whernside. This is were it all goes hardcore as we had to struggle a long way down into Nidderdale to a checkpoint in the middle of a trackless tussocky bog. As compensation we passed the source of the river Nidd. A marshall at this checkpoint broke her arm as they were struggling out after the runners – hope she is OK. Then we had to struggle back up Whernside, a beast of a climb. From the summit we went a long way south to another random checkpoint in the bog. The next section is the most interesting as we had to go over to Hag Dyke scout hut. The direct route takes you through ground like the first world war battlefields. I had had a chat with the vastly experience Hon Handicapper and he said stay high, which was sound advice as I passed a good few folk on this. This is a race were prior knowledge and picking good lines pays dividends. There were runners spread all over the western slopes of the hill, many deep in the bog. However we all arrived at Hag Dyke and the glorious grassy run in the the finish, where much bollocks was talked about the best lines.

This is the hardest race of the distance I’ve ever done, but very very fine. We were lucky and had sunny (if windy on top) weather, but in clag it would be well challenging.

Ted Mason won and Dave Wilby was 4th. Results to follow on FRA here and Bingley sites.

Stiff as a board today but very satisfied.

  1. #1 by Andrew Robertshaw on July 2, 2017 - 7:13 pm

    Agreed a great navigational fell race, to catch out all those many ‘followers’ amid the fell running community 🙂 note to self for next year to try remember to book on the local camp site a bit earlier.

  2. #2 by Sara Elliott on July 3, 2017 - 6:29 am

    A great read, Matt!! Really impressive stuff. Hope the DOMS improves

  3. #3 by Antonio Cardinale on July 4, 2017 - 9:42 pm

    I was coming as well to do this Blackfell fell race then I opted for a shorter one the Oakworth Haul because I am not in good form at all . I agree with Sara Elliot about the report and the ‘really impressive stuff’, I did the Great Whernside few weeks ago with the Wharfedale Harriers’s races and I agree it is a beast to climb indeed . It is good to have on your side a top fell runner like Andrew R. a huge experience on the fell . Well done to Matt P.

  4. #4 by Caron on July 5, 2017 - 9:04 pm

    Well navigated Matt, such a shame the TTT isn’t still on, enjoyable weekend! I thought Gt Whernside was bad enough until I read this

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