Viking Chase 4 Peaks Fell Race – 21/09/14

Report submitted by Lisa Taylor

The Race Viking Chase 4 Peaks Fell Race
Overall Score (out of a possible 35) 24
 
PB Potential 0
Atmosphere 5
Organisation 5
Scenery 5
Value for Money 5
Beginner Friendliness 2
Club Support & Social 2
 
In Short Beautiful views but you have to earn them J
In Full VK This is the last race in the Esk Valley Fell Club summer series and a fundraiser for Cleveland Mountain Rescue. I’ve done a few of the series before but have never had the chance to run this one. It’s always a joy to be out on the North York Moors, so I was looking forward to it.

Leaving the Black & Gold in the wardrobe, Jason & I were playing in the away colours of Northumberland Fell Runners for this one.

We drove up the steep road up Carlton Bank to the start at Lordstones Café. Getting out of the car, it was freezing – a shocking contrast to the temperature when we left the house. Registration and a kit check & we were ready for the off.

It didn’t take long to reflect on the title of the race and realise that anything with 4 peaks in the title wouldn’t be flat. In true fell running tradition, it was straight into an uphill which was steep but runnable. Not much time to get your breath back & into a difficult downhill down the steep flags on the Cleveland Way. These are the worst kind of terrain for me to descend & as I resembled Bambi tip toeing down them, a fair few people sped past me.

Then it was back round past the start line & back into the second of the 2 peaks which was a bit more of a walk than a run. Determined to find a better line down the next descent and avoid the flags, I took a fell trod to the side of the path, following a few wiry fell runners who looked like they knew where they were going (they didn’t). Stuck in a tangle of bracken & ferns, I realised we’d all gone a bit wide of the line and we’d lost a fair bit of time & places trying to get untangled & back on track.

The 3rd peak took us up onto the moor where the sidewind nearly blew me off my feet. Another downhill, then a quick sprint through a field of cows who had thankfully moved a little bit to the side & it was onto the final climb up to the Wainstones.

A final tricky descent down (again poorly executed) & then it was only 2 miles to the finish line. I was under the impression this was a flat run to the finish but it was still a bit undulating and my energy was now running low.

Pushing my legs on through the little uphill of the finishing field, I finally reached the finish line relieved and reminded of just how hard fell races can be. A bag of Haribo & cup of water in the tent & I felt a bit better although I vowed never to do a fell race again. Once I got home I reviewed my calendar to find the next one’s in 2 weeks. Better get those fell shoes clean then. ;-)

With 1800 ft of ascent over 8 miles and some tricky descents this race maybe isn’t the best choice for newbie fell runners although it is well marked & marshalled. Details of all the Esk Valley races can be found here: http://www.eskvalleyfellclub.org/

 

Lowther Trail Run – Sunday 10th August, 2014

Report by Mike Gill

The Race Lowther Trail Run
Overall Score 24
Please score the following categories out of 5  
PB Potential 2 – Steady away from the show ground and then the climbing starts and  some lumpy bits to follow so limited PB potential
Atmosphere 4 – Despite the very wet conditions it had a good feel
Organisation 4 – Good initial instructions and signage into a dedicated parking area at the show ground, route well taped and a couple of water stops/dibber points
Scenery 5 – Very scenic with good views of Ulswater from one of the tops
Value for Money 5 – Your £10 entry fee also got you into Lowther show after for free
Beginner Friendliness 3 – Billed as a Trail Run but more like a Fell Race so not for the faint hearted, friendly supportive group of runners
Club Support & Social 1 – Only Bounder out on the day (would recommend more do it next year)
Tell us more…  
In Short Hills, rough stuff, river to plodge through & lovely views

 

The Bounders have taken part in the Lowther Trail Run which has been part of the Lowther Show for many years. Initially discovered by Gordon Hindson it quickly gained a place in our running year. Lowther Show (just outside Penrith) is a large show initially held over 3 days Fri, Sat & Sun and the run used to take place on the Friday. The route then was about 60% on lanes and the rest off road. After 2 years where the weather washed the show out completely it ceased to be put on. Thankfully it is now back stronger than ever.   A 2 day event now over Sat & Sun with the run being held on the Sunday.

My day started with a dreek prognoses for the weather due to the tail end of hurricane Bertha heading towards the UK. Sure enough it was wet and stayed wet for the whole day but the forecasted high winds didn’t appear and the temperature at 13/14 was ok with no wind to chill you. The initial instructions were clear and precise and guided us into the Lowther estate and to a reserved car parking right next to a large marque which was race HQ and also looked out onto the carriage driving arena where we had a grandstand view of the magnificent horses and carriages going through their paces.

We had got there with over an hour to spare so registration was quick, number put on, a dibber fastened to your wrist for the 2 checkpoints later to be encountered. The rain continued pouring down as the runners gathered. A fit looking lot I must say with a good lot of females running. They all had the lean mean look if you know what I mean.

Given the wet conditions we were asked at the briefing to carry a waterproof and not to depend on others if in trouble. A simple whistle and we were off from in front of Lowther Castle.

L1

The first bit was a downhill clatter over the meadow in Lowther Parkland, a sharp turn at the bottom before tracking the river, crossing a bridge and then the huffing and puffing started as we pulled up through Askham Village and onwards up the fell to Heughscar Hill. (Fab view of Ullswater below) We then changed to a southerly direction as we descended to the Cockpit. By then I realised that today wasn’t going to be a fast run for me, my legs were very heavy from the previous days hard hilly cycling sportive at The Hell of Hexham. So I mentally readjusted and decided that today was going to be for enjoyment only. Felt good after that decision.

The run was billed as a Trail Run but in truth it was more a Fell Run with only about 2 of the 13 miles being on road. We had a stream to plodge through, the girl running next to me asked ‘is this the river crossing?’ fraid not I replied. That came a little later as we had to wade through the River Lowther which was about knee deep (with a safety line rigged up for the nervous) That was good, wet feet matched the wet rest of us!! Shortly after that we got our comeuppance when we had to haul ourselves up Knipe Scar. Yes I walked up it….didn’t see the racing snakes at the head of the field but I comforted myself by agreeing that they too couldn’t have ran up that could they?

At that point most the graft was done and after some undulations over grassy bits we started a long descent back into the Lowther estate. I had half a mile of climbing through some woods and out I popped by the Castle itself and trotted over the line feeling rather smug with myself as it was all over. Still chucking it down but not cold.

This run is one to bring the family over to as Lowther Show has loads going on and would keep everyone from children to grownups well occupied all day. Your £10 race entry gets runners into the show free and you can purchase discounted tickets for extra people when you enter the race (sorry run)

Despite the rain Ann and myself had a great day out and I even picked up the Gadgy prize, a nicely engraved crystal tankard courtesy of sponsors Isuzu.

L2As the race organiser said at the end he was very pleased to see an increased number running (about 80) and to spread the word for next year. Word spread Bounders put the Lowther Trail Run in your mind for next year.

Mike

 

Cross Bay Challenge, Morecambe – 6th July 2014

 1

Report by Stoo Gordon

The Race Cross Bay Challenge, Morecambe
Overall Score (out of a possible 35) 24
   
PB Potential 0
Atmosphere 4
Organisation 4 – Lack of clean running water at finish
Scenery 5
Value for Money 3 – £29 + £10 for t-shirt (optional)
Beginner Friendliness 3
Club Support & Social 5 – Thanks to Nigel Cook
   
In Short Great experience, Very Scenic, Great Fun
In Full  The first time Nigel Cook mentioned the Morecambe Bay, Cross Bay Challenge, I immediately thought of the cockle pickers that got caught by the tide and thought, that could be tricky. I then read several reviews from people like Nigel, who had previously, ran this race. All said the same thing, that it was fun, friendly and scenic. Not a mention of Scary anywhere. So the Gordon posse set off on Sunday morning (passing the Matalan crew just setting off on their jaunt) on the 2 hr drive to join the 400 people on the Beach at Hest Bank.Now if you went the way Nigel did, being on his own, you had to travel to Flookburgh to leave your car at the finish and get one of the buses at 09:30, back to the start (45min). Which meant a lot of hanging around at the start, as the race began at 12:30. That aside I was looking forward to giving this a go and was glad Nigel was there for company and a bit of guidance along with the experienced guides on quad bikes of course.2

The weather was really quite good : breezy with plenty sunshine. The views from the start were stunning and as far as the eye could see, was the Bay stretching out in front of us. You could see the opposite side of the Bay and to be honest it didn’t look that far, not 13.1Miles. But then you don’t go directly across do you? When you look at the route you go a long way inland first, before you cross. There is a reason for that. It’s to cross the River Kent.

3

We set off after a small briefing, reminding us to stay within the marked zones or you might end up in the quicksand. Gulp! The initial few miles were on very wet, wrinkled sand, not the most comfortable conditions, but that was soon forgotten when we approached the first water crossing. The racing part of the challenge ground to a halt. Splash!, in we go, woohoo what a laugh and actually quite heavy on the legs trying to wade across about 30-40ft wide thigh deep lukewarm water.

4

That was the first of many water crossings of varying depths, most notably the bit where we crossed the River Kent. Now by this time I was quite used to getting wet but this was different. The under currents in this crossing would have swept a small child out to the Irish sea in no time! Not being much bigger than said small child, I somehow managed to make it to the other side. There is a marshal posted here (probably to let the coastguard know if you fell over) so that was alright, I felt it was safe. It was slow going but strangely enjoyable and cooling as the sun was now beating down constantly. Another crossing achieved we plodded on with soggy sand filled shoes. At this point I remembered Nigel telling me to run in my oldest running shoes as I was not going to be taking them or my socks home.

(Those of you who know my bright yellow, self cleaning, trail shoes, will be happy to know they are safe and well. One of my 3 pair of Asics had to go.) There was a point about ¾ of the way through that we came across a huge expanse of flat sand with nothing to see except sand in the distance. But if you look to your right at this point, It is then your eyes are treated to the magnificent view of the lush green coastline. Stunning hills in the background, a feast for sore eyes. It was around here Nigel spotted the finishing Marquee like a mirage in the distance. It took a long time in getting any closer. Final water station at 10 Miles then onto the finish in just under 2hr 30m.

Water stations were at 4M, 7M, and 10M. Finish line facilities included Sports massage for a small donation to Cancer Care, other merchandise including your t-shirt could be purchased here and there were a variety of refreshments on sale. Portaloo toilets are available at the end but no showers or running water.

5

The Gordon Posse went back to the start point to watch the tide cover our tracks, and of course to have fish and chips.

It was a really good day out. I Would certainly recommend this to anyone thinking of doing it. I personally am looking forward to doing it again.