A great report from Matt Podd
AS 8 km, 427m climbing
I’ve always fancied running this race which has a serious reputation and is a two hour drive from Otley up into the far North West of the Yorkshire Dales, but always been put off by the drive and perpetual bad weather. However, Andrew and Caron offered me a lift this year and I weakened. They have often run or marshalled at it as it was organised by friends of theirs; Debbie and Gary Devine of Pudsey, but now resident in France. This year they had passed it over to Howgill Harriers, though Gary still ran (and beat Andrew).
So off we set at 10.00 for the drive, in pissing rain – looks promising! We arrived in open country and parked on the side of a muddy track to breezy cold conditions and made our way to the tent to register – proper fell race this! Fantastic country house with a walled gardens and sculpture nearby. Paid our £8 and retired to Caron’s car to get warm, drink coffee and put on a lot of kit.
We emerged just before the start for a brief warm up and a man stood on a wall and said off you go – so we did, running up the Pennine Bridleway to the High Dolphinsty Gate where we turned right and climbed up White Walls to The Nab. On over the summit plateau of Wildboar Fell passing Blackbed Scar and Yoadcomb Scar (Great names for these features, but wait it gets better!). We were well into the clag by now and there was a fierce gale blowing, very few other runners around and it felt a little lonely and vulnerable, so I put my coat on. On to marshals at a windbreak and then across the plateau to the trig at 708m.
Now the fun starts and we leave paths and tracks behind to make our descent, many got their compasses out here, but I relied on luck and the marshal going “its that way”. The right route choice really helps on the descent as you can end up in the bog from hell if you get it wrong. I was lucky as I descended passed Sandtarn Riggs and didn’t blow it at Scandal Head. On through reeds, tussocks and bogs to eventually emerge at the checkpoint at Hashygill Moss. Here we re-joined our outward route and descended back to the finish passing High Stennerskeugh farm. All the way down I knew Caron was not far behind and had to press on to just beat her.
We all retired to The Fat Lamb public house for the convivial presentation. Unfortunately, they had a £10 card limit which meant I had to have 2 pints. So, for the long drive back including a very necessary wee stop. A very fine fell race, well worth the travel – thanks to Caron for driving.
Won by Carl Bell in 39.57 and 32, Beth Hanson in 49.36 – both of Ambleside AC.
31 Andrew Robertshaw 48.42
78 Matt Podd 73.02
79 Caron Ralph 73.17