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 –

Coley race was no Canter for Gray

Calder Valley Fell Runners’ Karl Gray has set his sights on another Great Britain appearance in 2017 after stretching his legs in Tuesday’s Coley Canter race.

Gray, still a mighty force over the fells at the age of 47, finished second to Salford Harriers’ Gary Priestley in the eight-mile contest near Halifax.

Calder Valley members have organised the festive race for many years. Gray has been in charge for the last eight or nine and was keen to support fledgling club Northowram Pumas in their first staging of the event.

He was pleased with his second place in a field of 73, having expected fellow international Priestley to be quicker than him over a distance short of his best.

Valley’s Gav Mulholland, who added some more star quality to the line-up, came third.

Gray was keen to test his fitness levels ahead of an attempt to gain GB selection for the World Long Distance Mountain Championship in Italy in the summer.

The physiotherapist from Hove Edge came 12th in last year’s event in Slovenia and helped GB to the silver medals.

The Coley race confirmed that he was “not in bad shape.”

He added: “Gaining selection for the world mountain race will be my main target next year.”

Gray is pleased that the Three Peaks race, a 26-miler in the Yorkshire Dales in late April, will again be the selection race.

He plans to take in the Wadsworth Trog and Heptonstall Fell Race along the way.

“If I am not selected for Italy I will probably do the Lakeland Classics,” he added.

Gray gave the thumbs up to the Pumas’ organisation of Tuesday’s event, which is now run from Northowram Fields Cricket Club, a couple of miles from the previous starting point at Shelf Hall Park.

The race links up with the original route at Coley Church and is a mile or so longer than before.

Gray said he and fellow Valley runner Ben Mounsey had encouraged Priestley to come across from Lancashire for the race.

“The weather was brilliant which made a nice change from the wind and rain when I used to do it. We had to cancel it twice because of ice.”

Gray said he, Priestley and Mulholland had forced the pace.

“I felt good going past Coley Church and Priestley Green so I tried to push on and we dropped Gav (Mulholland).

“Going up Judy Woods Gary got 20 metres on me and he maintained it to the finish.”

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Beastie –

306 Santas let loose on the Bronte Countryside

In the ever popular Stoop race, ran by 306 Santa-hatted runners over the lovely Bronte landscape, Jo Buckley had a good race finishing as third lady and first V40 in 40 minutes 31 seconds. Mark O Connor was the first Calder Valley man back, in 22nd place in 37 minutes and 17 seconds, followed by Dougie Zinis in 39th and Jo Buckley who was 51st overall. Her team mate Lindsey Oldfield who loves Woodentops races @ Penistone ran well in a time of just over 44 mins.

Always fiercely competitive and attracting some of Yorkshire’s fastest fell runners, this year The Stoop was won for the fourth time by Tom Adams, beating eight time winner Rob Hope by over a minute, completing the five mile course in an impressive 30 minutes 14 seconds.
Full results here

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon –

Winter Training Pack Runs From 2016 (3rd series)



Below are details of the winter training runs on the road with options on the length and Strava Segments marked in blue on the map to go for. You can record your time on the dry board in MCC. They will be pack runs so runners in your particular group will regroup and no one will be left behind. Contact Lee Shimwell ( if you need any information.

There’s also 2 off road groups who are allergic to tarmac so prefer to stick to the moors with their head torches on. For more information contact Richard Sunderland ( for the speedier Off Road group and Charlotte Wetton ( for the steadier Off Road group.

Andy Clarke will be doing a Thursday night quality session @ 6.00pm from Savile Park Moor, Nr. St Jude’s church corner.For more info please email Andy (

Please remember to turn up in appropriate kit for all training sessions for all weathers. Information here.

Date Route details Distance/Climb Map
Jan 12th Birchcliffe Burner –
Main road to Hebden, Birchcliffe, top road to Midgley (headtorch needed), Down John Naylor Lane (next to school), up Hand Carr Lane, down Scout.
short run-
Up Midgley road and down to Ludfoot, Fartlek back along main road to MCC
Shorter option down Midgley Road4.7m, 800’


Jan 19th The Steep One
Main road to Hebden, up Mytholm steeps to Blackshaw head, back down via Heptonstall. Committee Meeting—
9.5m, 1225’ MAP
Jan 26th Cragg Vale Crawl –
Scout Road, Steep Lane, Mirey Lane, Upper Fieldhouse Lane to Triangle, A58 to Tesco, Sowerby New Rd, Sowerby Lane, Scout Rd to MCC.
9.6m/1383’ MAP
Feb 2nd Long Haul up to the Hounds
Burnley Rd to Hebden, up through Heptonstall Cobbles, down Lee Wood Rd, up Sandy Gate Lane to Chiserly, Heights Rd to Midgley, Midgley rd to MCC.
Shorter option: miss out climb back up Birchcliffe (7.2m, 888’)
Feb 9th Le Chugg
Up Midgley Rd, Luddenden, Stocks Lane, down to Booth, back via Midgley and down Midgley Rd to MCC
Shorter option carry on down to Luddendenfoot and a long main road back (less climbing)
Feb 16th The Steep One
Main road to Hebden, up Mytholm steeps to Blackshaw Head, back down via Heptonstall.
9.5m, 1225’ MAP

Awarded for the best season ever …

winners of the Amateur Male Team of the Year, Calder Valley Fell Runners Mens over 40s and Senior Team, Shaun Godsman, James Logue, Ben Mounsey and Karl Gray with Halifax Courier Sports Editor Ian Rushworth.

winners of the Amateur Male Team of the Year, Calder Valley Fell Runners Mens over 40s and Senior Team, Shaun Godsman, James Logue, Ben Mounsey and Karl Gray with Halifax Courier Sports Editor Ian Rushworth.

Calder Valley had a stellar 12 months on the fells so it was no surprise that they were nominated in a few categories at the recent Halifax Courier Sports Awards. They were nominated and went on to win the Amateur Team of The Year prize. This was jointly awarded for both the seniors and V40s men after their best season ever by mopping up English and British team titles before adding the British Relay Crown recently.. This was followed by Ben Mounsey being voted the Amateur Male Sports Person of the Year much to his surprise!!! Ben has stepped up a level in his sport this year being honoured with both English and Great British vests and he was GBs top runner at an event in Italy recently. He revealed the secret of his success to the audience – a 70 mile per week training schedule. Co host Pete Emmet had the audience laughing when he said that was a far as he did in his car!!!

Here’s what Ben had to say  …

A couple of weeks ago I’d been contacted by our local newspaper, The Halifax Evening Courier, to tell me that I’d been shortlisted for ‘Amateur Sportsman of the Year’ at the annual Calderdale Sports Awards. Obviously I was both extremely flattered and excited about attending the event. What made the news even sweeter was that my good friend and training partner, Karl Gray, had also been shortlisted. In addition to this both the Calder Valley Open and V40 teams were in the running for ‘Best Amateur Sports Team 2015’.

Karl was crowned the World Mountain Running V45 champion in September, capping yet another fantastic season and cementing his name at the top of the Calder Valley ‘Legends’ list. I’d like to think I’m close to climbing up to those dizzy heights myself but I’ve still a way to go before I match Karl’s great achievements over the last decade.

The club nomination for ‘Best Team’ was no great surprise to me, both the Open and V40’s were crowned English and British fell running champions a couple of months ago and of course we managed the ‘Grand Slam’ by also winning the British Fell Relays last month at Pendle. A fine season indeed. I was hopeful of us walking away with at least one trophy at the awards ceremony.

The presentation was once again held at The Venue, Greetland and as ever it was a well organised affair. Huge thanks to both the Evening Courier and all the sponsors for organising and funding the event. I also need to praise all of the hard work and genius that goes into writing the sports reports. Jim Mosley, Tim Brooks, Steve Grimley (CVFR) and of course Ian Rushworth (Sports Editor at the Courier) and his team. I think it’s fantastic that Calderdale’s finest sports stars are recognised for all their hard work and commitment.

Martin Howard (Calder Valley Junior Fell Runner) was also nominated so Kudos to him for a great season, one to watch in the future I’m sure.

What did cross my mind was that if the top female award had gone to a runner then perhaps it would lessen the chances of a male equivalant doing the same. At least we were up for the team prize I thought. Also strange to think that our Calder Valley Open team were competing against the vets too, I suppose it doubled our chances of winning!

Team trophyWhen they announced the nominees for ‘Best Team’ I was really nervous, I realised then how much I wanted us to win. I joined Calder Valley about 8 years ago and during this time I’ve seen the club grow in stature and watched the men’s team slowly transform into the best team in Britain. I’d like to think I’ve played a significant role in making this happen. I remember running for Stainland Lions in 2006 at Thieveley Pike when it was an English Championship counter that year. It was my first champs race and I came 10th, beating Karl who was competing for Calder Valley. After the race he and Jo Waites both asked me to join the club. Karl is one of my fell running heroes so naturally the thought of racing in the same team as him was very appealing. I laid my cards on the table and negotiated a contract that was to massively change the fortunes of both great clubs. I agreed to join Calder Valley in a record breaking deal…2 pints of Guinness and a packet of Big D peanuts. Sky Sports got hold of the news and it was all over the telly for a couple of weeks, I’m pretty sure most of you reading this will remember it well, ground breaking stuff 😉 Also as part of the deal both Jo and Karl signed 2nd claim for Stainland and the rest as they say is history! Stainland Lions began smashing the local Cross Country league and Calder Valley went from strength to strength as many others at Stainland followed my lead. Since then the club have signed Gav ‘Mad Legs’ Mulholland, Shaun ‘Lardy Lancs Lad’ Godsman, Alex ‘The Flying Postman’ Whittem, James ‘Logie Bear’ Logue, Tim ‘Timbo Baggins’ Ellis, Richard ‘Ironman’ Pattinson, Math ‘The Welsh Whizzard’ Roberts, Jason ‘Benjamin Button’ Williams and Daz ‘Special K’ Kay, to name but a few! Success breeds success. As well as being team mates we’re also great mates so I wanted to win the team award just as much as the individual.

When they announced the winner I was chuffed to bits…Calder Valley Open….AND V40 team! We’d all been honoured! A brilliant decision and one that celebrates our 10 year journey of becoming the best in the country.

A very happy Ben with his award (photo courtesy of Halifax Courier)

A very happy Ben with his award (photo courtesy of Halifax Courier)

Bens Trophy

Shortly after we returned to our seats it was straight onto the main award for the night…’Amateur Sportsman of the Year 2015’. They announced the four nominees, including Karl and then me. I genuinely would have been happy if either of us had won, I honestly believe we’ve both earned it this year.

There was a long pause as the sponsor announcing the award fumbled with the envelope. At first I didn’t recognise the winner, his name wasn’t familiar. In fact I couldn’t even remember him being announced as a nominee. Then I realised it was me! The guy reading my name was obviously a ‘back page courier virgin’ because he couldn’t even vaguely pronounce ‘Mounsey’ . Still I didn’t care as I walked up to the stage because I was proud as punch.

For me this award represents the 2,700 miles, the 395 hours and the 380,000 ft of climbing that I’ve done so far this year. I’ve trained hard, raced hard and earnt every bit of success that I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying. It’s not come easy and I’ve not taken my fitness for granted. So when I say it’s one of the finest achievements of my career I really mean it.

Karl Gray … the V45 World Champion

Karl The World Champ

In a season full of achievement for Calder Valley fell runners, they can now boast a bona fide World Champion among their ranks. Brighouse’s Karl Gray, for many years the club’s leading light, claimed the crown last weekend at the World Mountain Running Championships in Betys –y Coed in Snowdonia.

Gray, widely regarded as one of the country’s leading all round fell runners, being expert over multiple distances, showed that even at the ripe old age of 46, he is still a runner of fabulous ability. This he demonstrated fully over the demanding six mile route.

Gray said “It feels amazing being a world champion. I’d had an eye on this race for most of the year and started to do shorter, intense training sessions through the summer to prepare me for the fast six mile course. I’m much more suited to races over 15 miles now and usually only start getting warmed up at the six mile mark.”

Pre-race, Karl’s ambition was to be among the medals, but was wary of the strong field and knew he had a job on his hands. “I felt great and led the field up the first climb,” he said.

“Near the top, and as the terrain started to level out, Salford Harriers’ former British and English international mountain runner, Martin Cox, took up the running and pushed the pace.  I noticed that we were away on our own at this point and I was on my limit following him. I hung in there and managed to open up a gap on the descent, and with the recent overnight rain making for a wet course, this suited my fell running style especially on the descents and tight twisty terrain. I managed to maintain this gap on the very tough second climb and opened it up a bit more on the descent into the finish, allowing me time to saver the moment during the last 100 metres to the line.”

Karl Gray WMRC

Karl, who has had to live with star team mate Ben Mounsey hogging the headlines of late, was understandably thrilled with his success. “This is without doubt the proudest achievement so far.”  Gray said it had been a great year so far for himself and Calder Valley Fell Runners.

“The club has won both the men’s English and British open and veteran 40 fell titles. The female v40 team has secured an English bronze and I’m the 2015 vet 45 joint English champion.  “The amazing team spirit has kept me focused and motivated all year.”

Ben’s brilliant season earns him a British vest

Ben M England 2Building on his brilliant 3rd place at the recent Snowdon Mountain race, Calder Valley’s Ben Mounsey was yet again to the fore at last weekend’s Home International race at delightful Betws-y-coed in North Wales. His ripping run at Snowdon had cemented his England credentials and Saturday’s race saw him pitted against the best fell and mountain runners the UK can muster.

Perhaps it was the red and white of his new England vest that reminded Ben of his beloved Calder Valley, fell running’s original red and white hoopsters, but Ben was more than at home alongside the great and the good of today’s elite. One can either be daunted or inspired by such company, and adrenalin, nerves and self-doubt can wreak havoc in even the most able athlete’s mind. But Ben, fortified physically by his now legendary 500km training months, a record of number one spots that would do One Direction proud, and of course, that confidence boosting 3rd place at Snowdon, showed why he is now the real deal and feared across the land.

The stakes were even higher with places ultimately up for grabs to be picked for team GB and a chance to run alongside runners of near Olympic calibre. Ben, understandably nervous before the race explained, “I’m not going to lie, when I saw the line-up for the Home International (which was also the 3rd counter in the UK Mountain Running Championship AND the World GB Trial) I honestly thought I was aiming for a top 15 at best. The field was seriously stacked with the very best mountain runners in GB, Ricky Lightfoot (serial 3 Peaks winner) the only absentee. It’s the strongest field I’ve ever raced against in my 10 years of competing. However If anything I do thrive on the competition and I was well up for this one. The only thing I wasn’t happy about was the course- seriously fast, runnable and not technical at all which really suited the roadies who flirt with mountain running.”

Ben’s usual trick of firing off from the gun has worn somewhat thin in recent months in local fell races. He is a one man winning machine and has struggled to find any takers to go with him. Races are over within a 100m or so. However, among a field as good as this, they all play this card so the start is akin to an F1 grid, where its right foot down for the first corner and we’ll see who blinks first.

The race was based on three laps of a specific course. Ben had to gird his loins and swallow hard to keep tabs with the leaders on lap one as a fearful pace ensued. Ben picks up the story once again, “The positions changed after every lap, all except 6th which I was never prepared to give up. The 3rd and final lap nearly broke me, I’ve never destroyed myself as much to protect a position in a race. With England International Chris Steele breathing down my neck on the final descent I throw myself down the track and gave it everything I had left to hang on for 6th. We also won the team beating Scotland to first place. I still can’t believe I’ve managed to do it, especially on a course which really didn’t suit.” To put the result in perspective Simon Bailey was 10th, Rob Hope was 12th and Lloyd Taggart 24th – all three recent British Champions. The race was won by Scot, Robbie Simpson, a seriously good athlete who will spearhead the GB team, a team that will now include Ben whose astonishing 6th place has done the trick and assured him of a team GB vest.