Sat 8th Oct - Sun 9th Oct, 2005

KMC Fell Race Weekend

Members: Vicky Alderton, Bob Anderson, Mark Ashley, Christine Beeston, Virginia & John Castick, Robert Clark, Trish Cranston, Roger Daley, Dave Dillon, Joe Flynn, Mark Garrod, Jim & Sandy Gregson, Sheena Hendrie, Alan (H) Jones, Duncan Lee, Colin Maddison, Roger Mapleson, Craig Marsden, Neville McMillan, Al Metelko, Anna Neubert, Lester Payne, Scott Sadler, Peter Scholefield, Chris Thickett, Peter Walker (28)


Whereas last year we filled all the available accommodation, this year the hut was never more than half full. This was just as well, because although there are 31 bed spaces, the facilities are totally inadequate for 31 people.

Saturday provided low cloud, 100% humidity, and a strong cold wind, so those present settled for walking, and sussing out the terrain for tomorrow. Even so, Duncan and Vicky managed to climb in the dry at Hodge Close Quarry.

Sunday dawned dry, with 100% blue sky and sunshine. But by 10am Neville's prayer had been answered; the sun had gone away, there was cloud on the tops, a strong SW wind, and it started to rain! Encouraged by the sunshine around Manchester, several participants arrived on the day. And all the marshals appeared, mostly from other parts of the Lake District, as if by magic.

Mark Garrod made a welcome reappearance after a year's absence, this time free of injury. Several males had been doing clandestine training; unfortunately Colin's was to no avail, as he had to retire without starting. Alan Hyde appeared, having warmed up on the Langdale Horseshoe the day before! And Peter Scholefield, ace fell-runner of yore, re-appeared (how much training had he been doing?). Amongst the ladies, neither Michelle nor Julie were able to participate, but Sheena made a return to the field. Christine was encouraged to avenge last year's performance, and Anna kept her company. The field numbered 18, all KMC members.

This year's course was about 25% shorter than last year's, but this was compensated by a similar increase in the amount of up and down. Overall, the times were shorter, but not a lot.

Course: Irish Row - Hawk Rigg (NY 3006/0137) - Levers Water (SD 2797/9955) - Coniston Old Man (SD 2723/9782) - Irish Row

The first leg was relatively low level, with no real navigational problem, but it sorted out the participants into roughly the same order in which they finished. The spread of times was remarkable, from 30 minutes by Mark Garrod, to 78 minutes by Peter Walker.

On the second leg, Rob Clark and one or two others made an inspired choice of route. By reversing the first leg back to the hut, and then up to Levers Water, they stayed below the bad weather, and avoided the traverse of Wetherlam. It may only have saved a few minutes, but it avoided the loss of 14 minutes made by Roger Mapleson due to navigational errors in cloud.

The check-point at Levers Water tested people's mental resolve (as I thought it might!). Joe, Lester, and Peter Walker wimped out, and took the easy way down and back to the hut. But the rest gritted their teeth and slogged up to The Old Man, no doubt saying a few unkind things about the course-setter. The times indicated who had energy left. Roger Mapleson gained 4 minutes over Mark, Peter Scholefield put up an impressive performance on this leg, and Alan Hyde came back into contention, whereas Scott and Sheena suffered. Trish suddenly came to life on this leg, being only 1 minute slower than Sheena, and 13 minutes faster than Virginia. But Craig must have been saving himself, and put up the fastest descent back to the hut in 22 minutes, with Scott only 1½ minutes slower.

At the finish, Mark was almost 10 minutes faster than Roger Mapleson, with a close contest for third place between Craig and Al, who ran very consistently throughout.

And the winners of the trophies are:

Ken Beetham Trophy Fastest time Mark Garrod 2:20:12
Sumerfield Cup Fastest Lady Sheena Hendrie 3:16:14
Shelagh Manning Trophy Fastest handicap time Sheena Hendrie 1:52:14
Concordia Trophy Fastest first-time entrant Roger Daley 3:54:00

The full results (PDF format) are also available.


My thanks to all the checkers, especially Bob and Chris who had the worst of the weather, and also to Vicky and Duncan for producing food and drink very efficiently. Start training for next year; I'll be praying for lower cloud, and thicker cloud on the fell tops!

Neville McMillan

Meet Promo:

LOCATION: Irish Row (Yorkshire MC Hut), Coppermines Valley, Coniston, SS 293 984.

It's back to Irish Row. So those who can remember the navigational challenges of four years ago, will know what is in store. Those who can't, or weren't there, had better ask Mark Ashley.

On Saturday it is climbing - traditionally on Dow Crag, though there are many crags around Coppermines Valley, and there is Hodge Close Quarry for the E2 Lakeland slate afficionados. Alternatively some may take a sneaky walk, hoping to guess where the course will be. As usual, the Fell Race is on Sunday. Attendance by Committee members is compulsory, either to participate, marshall, revive the also-rans, or feed the hungry with bread and soup.

The idiosyncratic handicap system works to a secret formula that gets tweaked every year. But the more times you participate (without winning), the bigger your handicap next year. Trophies for fastest male, fastest female, Shelagh Manning handicap, and the Concordia Trophy, but only for KMC members. Guests can participate for the sheer hell of it!

Approaching Coniston from the N, along the A593, turn R immediately before the Black Bull pub. After ¼ mile the track goes L steeply and the surface deteriorates. Take care to avoid immovable boulders, especially if arriving in the dark on Friday night. Continue along the track towards the youth hostel. Irish Row is the line of cottages directly above the small footbridge on the R. Park responsibly; there is off-track parking on the L, 50 yds or so beyond the footbridge.

There are around 25 hut places, but please book ahead with Neville (£6 pp/pn) especially for Saturday night. Please note that to be on this meet, you must participate in the fell race, either as a runner, marshall, or official kitchen staff! The course will start and end at the hut. Course details will be posted on Sunday morning at 10.00 am. Start times (three groups) will be 11.00, 11.30, and 12.00 noon.

Contact Neville to make hut bookings, for further information, or with offers of help.

Neville McMillan

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