The long and the short of it … its brilliant results all the way


The mighty Wasdale fell race was held last Saturday. The race is a counter in this year’s fiercely contested English Fell Running Championship as well as Calder Valley Fell Runners Club Championship. So there were a good few red and white hoops on the start line with the 273 strong field.

Considered to be possibly the toughest fell race in the calendar, Wasdale packs over 9,000 feet of climb into its 21 mile route and includes England’s highest peak. Starting at the northern end of Wastwater, the route heads over the hill that stands over the famous screes, Whin Rigg, before crossing the valley to head up Seatallen, Pillar, skirting Kirkfell, and climbing over Great Gable before heading up Scafell Pike. The race then finishes with a leg pulping 3,000 foot drop down Lingmell.

Karl climbing hard with Bingley’s Rob Jebb

Calder’s Karl Gray played a sensible race keeping pace with Bingley’s Rob Jebb over much of the route. They were neck and neck at Beck Head in 6th and 7th place, before the climb up Great Gable, sharing foot and water offered by spectators. Karl then pulled though the front runners finishing in a spectacular 2nd place taking 3 hours 50 minutes and 5 seconds. Not bad for a 47 year old and one of his best results ever! The race was won by a Carl Bell of Keswick who was over 9 minutes clear of Gray in the fastest time since Andy Styan in 1990. Andy Swift was second Calder runner in 27th place, shortly followed by Ian Symington in 32nd.

The women’s race was much tighter. Anna Lupton of Black Combe was first woman in 4 hours 41 minutes and 26 seconds, closely followed by Nicola Jackson of Preston only 2 seconds later. Helen Buchan was first woman back for Calder, followed by Jackie Scarf.

Calder Results

2nd Karl Gray – 3:50:05
27th Andy Swift – 4:29:14
32nd Ian Symington – 4:33:58
70th Stephen Edwards – 4:59:00
94th Phil Scarf – 5:19:04
114th Dougie Zinis – 5:30:06
127th Iain Illstone – 5:41:07
131st Paul Haigh – 5:45:08
138th Johnnie Watson – 5:47:35
209th Helen Buchan – 6:25:10
225th Jackie Scarf – 6:39:22

Alva Games

Will & James on the podium @ Alva

Calder Valley Juniors, Will Hall was 1st and James Duffy 3rd at the Alva Games held near Sterling, Scotland as part of the British Open Fell Runners Association. They are both doing really well in the BOFRA under 13 champs (Will 1st and James 4th). Will is on course for winning both the FRA English championship and BOFRA championship this year. In the senior race an injured Ben Mounsey kept his senior title hopes alive by placing a fantastic second place behind Wharfedales Ted Mason who’s won this race on numerous occasions. Mounsey, who is an excellent descender, had to take it steadier than he would have like to protect an already painful knee.

Another strong showing from vets keeps them in medal contention

Despite the scorching weather, the sweltering heat did not put a large number of Calder Valley runners off heading to Tebay for the English Championships race. Tebay was also one of the races in the CVFR club championships. The 8 mile race (3,000 ft climbing) saw 451 runners finish, with Ben Mounsey first back for CV in a time of 01:15:13 placing 7th. The eventual winner was Sam Tosh of Rossendale Harriers in a time of 01:12:51. Karl Gray took second in MV45 and finished 13th overall. In the same age category Gav Mulholland had another excellent run placing 4th and with a win, a second place in the other races he is in an excellent position to win an individual vets medals. The vets team are also in a strong medal winning position with 3 races still to be contested they sit in gold medal place.  In terms of the club championships after Tebay, very little changed at the top. In the handicap champs James Cooke held onto first place going into the Cragg Vale club championship race next week. It is all to play for still.

On the Sunday several CV fell runners also took part in the Helm Hill race near Kendal, which is part of the British Open Fell Race Association (BOFRA) series of events. The races are characterised as being fast, short (1 miles – 5 miles) and with a substantial amount of ascent. Helm Hill was no exception and provided the runners with 900 ft of climbing over 3.3 miles. William Hall did exceptionally well in the U12 race, coming home with a substantial lead as 1st boy. Patrick Casey also had a great race finishing 6th. As for the seniors, Ben Mounsey was out in force, having already finished 1st the weekend before in the Hawkswick Dash BOFRA race. This time he finished in 2nd place – still an excellent result having competed in the English Champs the day before!

Elsewhere in the fell racing calendar Steve Smithies had a good race a Brown Wardle in East Lancashire, finishing 9th and Paul Gilbert battled through the heat at the relatively new Castle Canter race at Dobroyd Castle to finish 8th.

Tebay results and photos here

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Paul Gilbert –


Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon Success

Bill Johnson’s take on their fantastic win….

We’re both looking particularly haggard at the end of the LAMM after a second day of complete 100% effort.

Absolutely delighted to win the score class with Phil Scarf.

Day 1 saw glorious running over the tops of the Fannaichs, followed by a fast descent to the valley bottom to keep warm in the sudden hailstorm. We pushed hard from there to pick up every point we could in the 7 hours. It felt like a lot of effort for each of the extra 10 pointers, but we reckoned that those small margins would make the difference.
And so we ended the first day with a slender 16-point lead.

Halfway through day 2 came the crux. We reckoned we could take a ‘safe’ route to get a good score of 215 and finish in time. Alternatively we could put in an additional 2500′ climb up Beinn a Claidheimh and get 20 points more (by missing off a couple of later controls). We reckoned 75mins to get up, 40mins down. Big climb, a risk that we might underestimate how long it would take, or be too trashed to finish in time – and all for just 20 points more. But for all we knew Darrell High and Daniel Holmberg (2nd team) might do it, so we had to.

It took us 70mins up, 35mins down and we gave it everything from there to the finish below An Teallach, to take the win. 🙂 

Members Summer Solstice Run

I am arranging a Tuesday club away run to coincide with the Summer Solstice on June 20th (day before, I know…). The run would head from the Robin Hood pub in Cragg Vale up to Great Manshead and back down – leaving at 6:45pm. Please do not turn up at the Robin Hood pub in Pecket Well. 

Two routes are attached – both anti-clockwise. A long version, primarily aimed at a faster group (14km) and a short version, aimed at a steadier group (11km). With the plan to meet at the trig point on the hill at around the same time for some sun and good views. Both routes return the same way. 

I can lead the faster group and James Cooke said he would lead the steadier group.

Roger at the pub said he can put food on after. Probably chip butties. So… if you want some food, please email me at by Thursday 15th June. Please don’t tell me in person, as I will forget.   

There will be a strict ‘no Strava art’ policy in place and will be enforced on the night. Sorry Ian. 

Cheers Paul Gilbert

Summer training runs will ALL be on the fells


Meet at Mytholmroyd Community Centre at 6.45pm. Now that it’s light nights we will be running off road. Yippee. Various groups of different abilities. All welcome to this all inclusive club. Plenty of opportunity to get out and enjoy the fells on these glorious spring and summer nights. More info here.

Please note away run on Tuesday 20th June. Summer Solstice run.

Come and have a go @ fell running routes

Happy faces on the fells

Below are the proposed routes for the “Have a go at fell running”. They’ve been designed to steadily build up your fitness with the final week being a local race in Hebden bridge. You’ll be well looked after by a friendly, encouraging group and you will just love the local footpaths in the valley. You probably never even knew they existed. 

25 April – Get a feeling about what this fell running thing is all about. Lovely running on the moors.  
Route 1: along river > Bell House > Broad Head > Daisy Bank (easiest route this week)

2 May – Going up to the Trig where the photo was taken and you’ll all be this happy too. 
Route 2:
Redacre Woods > Sheepstones Edge > back to Crow Hill > Down Wicken Hill

9 May – Ah up to one of the iconic monuments in the area. You’ll have a feeling of a great achievement when you get there. 
Route 3: Bell House > Stoodley Pike > Erringden

16 May – Steady away start to get the legs going and then onto the lovely moors. Nice flat finish after all the hard work. 
Route 4: Midgley Road > Crow Hill > Calderdale Way> Brearley> Cycle path

23 May – Please note meeting at Hebden Bridge Train Station @ 6.45pm (recce of Hebden Bridge Race this week so legs have time to recover)
Race Map

30 May – Similar to route 2 but longer now you are getting the hang of it and loving it. 
Route 5:
 Redacre Woods > Sheepstones Edge >Shaft > Ferney Lee >  Crow Hill > Calderdale Way > down Wicken Hill

Thurs 1 June – Culminating in all your hard work over the past 5 weeks in a great little local race. Hebden Bridge Fell Race race route map

Was it North by Northwest?

The CVFR gang with compasses to the ready

Twelve Calder Valley Fell Runners headed north (or was it north by northwest?) to Kettlewell in the Yorkshire Dales for a fantastic weekend of navigation training. CVFR vests are often likened to ‘Where’s Wally?’ shirts or pyjamas, so teammates at ‘Nav Camp’ were hoping that their pyjama party wouldn’t result in a search party.

Thirty runners, supported by a dozen instructors – including top navigators Mandy and Greg from Todmorden Harriers – were bunked at cosy independent Kettlewell Hostel, whose flapjack alone made course attendance well worthwhile! The course is organised and sponsored by the sport’s friendly parent body The Fell Runners’ Association and held twice-yearly, with a Lake District edition taking place in September.

Runners were taught the rudiments of compass bearings and identifying features from maps at scales from 1:5,000 to 1:50,000. Soon, techniques such as ‘contouring’, ‘aiming-off’ and looking out for ‘handrails’ and ‘catching features’ were added to the repertoire. Runners are split into small groups throughout the weekend, each led by an instructor, so those already familiar with the basics from their Duke of Edinburgh days were able to delve deeper, flush out personal bêtes-noires and unearth some lesser-known tricks of the trade. Everyone came back better navigators than they started out.

A mix of theory sessions over a brew in the hostel, walking on the open fell to learn how to navigate off sinkholes and sheepfolds and tips for tracking down re-entrants, the weekend also throws in a few chances for fun competition – this is fell running after all!

Runners were unleashed on to a short orienteering course, wielding compasses, and learning that a suspiciously grey waterbody on a map may well be a quarry! Back for a debrief and a hearty feed, things were ratcheted up a little for a night navigation session. With pairs set off at intervals, and challenged to find controls in different orders, they could rely only on Map, Compass, Observation & Communication (and hope their headtorch didn’t fade before they did).

Keen to train runners in all elements of the sport, the organisers don’t neglect a bit of endurance training, offering two ‘very optional’ pre-breakfast runs, setting out from the hostel mere hours after some bleary-eyed runners had found their way back from the local boozer.

On Sunday was a 10k solo navigation challenge. Again, start times were staggered. Runners prepared their own routes in advance, then it was up to them whether they stuck to their planned routes or ad-libbed it based on conditions under foot and things that may or may not have been short cuts! This was a brilliant chance to practice and consolidate new skills, and it was fantastic to see runners who had come with a sworn enmity of map and compass zipping their way around and hunting down the 10 well-concealed controls.

This mass up-skilling will no doubt lead to things hotting up in the Calder Valley Fell Runners’ Club Championships, with the Ladies Veteran Trophy – which went unawarded in 2016 due to lack of participants – looking to make a come-back with the force of one of Ben Mounsey’s scalded-cat starts. Medium and long category fell races often require runners to navigate their way around courses. The inaugural Hebden Bridge Mountain Marathon will be a great place to test out skills in a competitive environment.

If you enjoy running in our stunning woods and fells, why not try coming joining a local club, where you’ll find camaraderie and support, as well as cake and ale? Calder Valley Fell Runners will be hosting introductory sessions from Mytholmroyd once the clocks have gone forward. Next stop the Fell Runners’ Association and ‘Nav Camp’!

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tamsin Cooke –