Tyne Bridge Harriers are also very well represented on the Fells as well as the Roads & one of our resident fell runners Trev Wakenshaw sends in this report from Sundays race.
Windy Gyle Fell Race
Sunday 26th June 2011. 9 miles – 1800 feet
Sunday dawned a beautiful sunny day and I got up with a spring in my step (yeah, yeah) and after getting my things together, had a rather pleasant drive to the Coquet Valley for the Windy Gyle fell race – a truly inter-nation race if ever there was one (more of that later).
Registration is a somewhat relaxed affair at fell races and usually consists of someone sitting in their car taking the race fees and giving out numbers. This one was no different and I paid my fiver entry and was handed my race number. So there I was all ready to go a full half an hour before the race actually started. Absolutely unheard of for me that as I usually arrive ten minutes late.
By 10:30 we were all lined up at the start on the narrow road and after some instructions/advice from the race race organiser, we were off. The start of the race is along a tarmac road for about 300 metres before passing through a gate and heading for the first climb up Barrow Law which is mercifully short. Once at the top I realised my legs were devoid of life due to the previous days Northern Rock Cyclone and just continued at a steady jog across the moor to the first checkpoint at Murder Cleugh (hmm I wonder how that place got it’s name?).
After crossing the farm road, it was over boggy ground towards Little Ward Law and the climb up to Windy Gyle itself. This is where the international bit comes into it as when you approach the summit of Windy Gyle you have to cross the border fence as the summit is actually in Scotland. There’s a massive cairn here as well so you can’t really miss it and after checking in with the marshals, there follows a fabulous descent on springy peat before crossing the border fence to return to England once again. The following bit towards Plea Knowe is on an exposed ridge and it’s always windy. Today was no different with a strong cross wind, but thankfully it’s not too long before the route loses a bit of height and gains some shelter.
The last few miles are along an old drovers route called the Street. There’s a few short uphill bits to it, but it finishes with a mental grassy descent which ends at the stile which leads you to Rowhope Burn bridge and the final few hundred metres along the road to the finish.
I think there was somewhere in the region of 40 runners in the race (no results out yet). I finished in 01:44:00 which was a lot slower than the previous year but I hadn’t done a cycling event the previous day last year.
Fell races are great fun and if anyone wants to have a go, give me a shout and I can advise on races and required kit. You won’t have more fun than this for a fiver.