Cracken Edge Fell Race

Recce of Saddleworth Round, Navigational Jinx, and the Cracken Edge Fell Race

Last week saw some action packed running antics, Monday 30th July was a recce of the Saddleworth Round fell race, Tuesday was a navigational race with club members, and Wednesday saw the Cracken Fell Race from Hayfield.

Monday, Claire and I ventured out on what was a hot day, hot with a bit of cloud, to recce the Saddleworth Round, a new fell race being organised by the Saddleworth Runners. We started off above Uppermill and Diggle at Running Hill Gate and Running Hill Lane, and made our way to the summit of Alderman above Dove Stone Reservoir, dropped to Dove Stone, then up Ashway Gap which was hot and humid to then head for Fox Stone, with a fast run down to Dove Stone. Weather still good. The climb up to Chew Reservoir took a while, and so we began to cross to Laddow Rocks, at this point the heavens opened with driving rain, that changeable, which required cags to keep warm. It's a long old drag to Black Hill, and then a long run down from Black Hill via the old Pennine Way route to the Holmfirth Road. You then cross to pick up the Cotton Famine Road to head back, which proved to be quite a long drag on tired legs as the race is over 16 miles with 3k of cumulative climb. A good experience and recce before the race on Sunday.

Tuesday was the traditional club night with a difference. Jim Butt kindly organised an orienteering event around Dove Stone (back there again) utilising the fixed orienteering locations. All in all good fun, but if honest I was out of practice, running solo, and rushing too much which led to some terrible navigation and thus timekeeping within a 1.5 hour allowance, suffice to say I ended up mid-way down the scoring. But had a good run. Matters became complicated on realising as I headed back to the finish that I had lost my mobile phone when taking a tumble at a checkpoint above Dove Stone in ridiculously deep tussocks and grass (note to self, where were the sheep?) I borrowed Ron Gilmour's iPhone to find the exact location and off I ran with fading light leaving the others behind. On getting back to the tussocks it became apparent that whilst I might be in the right location, finding the phone was the proverbial needle in a haystack... Thankfully I remembered my Garmin watch is able to get the iPhone to make a noise. So after wandering about to Bluetooth connect both, I pinged the phone and luckily found it buried in a tussock - very lucky indeed.

Wednesday Ted and I went on an adventure to head back to the same site, with my having lost a Staedtler pen when trying to find the phone; a comedy of errors. No pen could be found and Ted had an ordeal in the grass.


Wednesday, having the taste for running led me to head for the Cracken Edge Fell Race over in Hayfield at 7.30pm in the evening and run by the Kinder Mountain Rescue Team as a fund raiser. I arrived there later than planned and was the last runner to sign up, with a dash to the start, of which I had no clue; by the time I arrived the runners were formed, over 200 of them. I was a good 50 metres away when the horn sounded... I was literally the last runner. There was no choice in stiflingly hot weather but to leg it past runners up an initially tight track. Plenty of "excuse me" and darting between bodies. I ended up finishing 86th out of 220 runners, so I managed to pass 134 runners, all in all quite pleased in tough conditions on a fast race, but I won't be repeating that again. The race is 7 miles with 1.5k feet of climb and as I said fast.



(Whilst all of this was going on, in the background was the knowledge that my father had been in hospital since 23rd August, having picked up a serious infection.)