Calder Valley’s fell running aristocrats, ‘King of the Hill’ Ben Mounsey and Karl ‘Earl’ Gray lorded it up over their local manor in the Hebden 22.

Ben and Karl HB22

CVFR Karl Gray & Ben Mounsey on the Hebden22 (2015)

On an icy Saturday morning, the winter sun finally set the frosty landscape sparkling, providing ideal conditions for a fast run. After a glittering 2015, Mounsey and Gray smashed the course record, finishing together in 2 hrs 42 mins. The international pair were 18 minutes clear of third-place club mate Kevin Hoult. A large contingent of Calder Valley Fell Runners completed the event, including the inspirational Kay Pierce who celebrated her 70th birthday by running the 22 in 6 hrs 30 mins to finish 213th. Calder women’s captain Helen Buchan put in one of her best runs as fourth lady in an impressive 4 hrs 2 mins.

The event was organised by the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA). It was originally aimed at hikers and ramblers but has developed into an unofficial fell race as word spread that it offers a superb route, great company, and excellent organisation for runners and walkers alike.

The Hebden, now in its ninth year, features an epic 22 miles of moors, woods, and valleys, including 4000 feet of ascent, as it passes through Brearley, Wadsworth, Old Town, Hardcastle Crags, Heptonstall, Colden Clough, Blackshaw Head, Jumble Hole, Stoodley Pike, Broadhead Clough, and Cragg Vale.

The unmarked route demands navigational expertise over remote and hilly terrain, all combining to offer an irresistible challenge for fell runners looking for a big test of wit and endurance.

There is a 15 mile “short” option for those who prefer an early finish.

As usual the event was a credit to the efforts of organiser Allan Greenwood and his team of LDWA volunteers, who catered for 268 competitors on the long route and 85 on the short route. They provided piles of food and hot drinks at checkpoints plus a hot meal at the finish line.

It was the first local running event following the Boxing Day floods.  Undeterred by the loss of St Michaels Church Hall, the LDWA team took advantage of the kind offer to use Mytholmroyd CC as race HQ.

Mounsey said: “We intentionally set out to break the course record.

“We are both in fantastic form and even though I’d just recovered from a serious bout of man ‘flu it didn’t affect me. “Despite the route being slightly shorter than the usual 22 we would’ve still broken my old record.  I set a ferocious pace and Karl hung on and sat behind my lead.  “We are aiming for the Three Peaks and based on this we should have a good run.

The snow and ice created a picture postcard winter scene around the Haworth moors for the Woodentops Soreen Stanbury Splash race on Sunday morning.


Calder Valley Fell Runners were also represented and won the women’s team prize.  The freezing conditions meant that the race was in fact run over the Stoop course –there was simply too much ice on the Splash course to make it viable.

The runners took on a pan handle shaped route that led out to the Stoop stone and back, taking in trail, frozen bogs and thick icy mud along the five mile course.

Dave Woodhead’s customary words of encouragement and advice to ‘stay on your feet on the way down’ were heeded by most, although cuts and bruises from falls in frozen bogs were evident on the legs of some of the finishers.

Valley’s winning women’s line-up comprised Jo Buckley, who was third lady to finish, Lindsey Oldfield and Rachael Crossland. Valley’s Jon Smith put in a fantastic run to finish 12th

The race was won in runaway fashion by Ilkley’s Tom Adams in 31.14. He was followed home by clubmate Jack Wood in 32.48. The first woman home, in 34th overall, was Holmfirth’s Helen Berry in 39.03.

12 Jon Smith 36.27
36 Iain Powell 39.28
40 Lee Shimwell 40.03
54 Jo Buckley 41.12
71 Jacke Ackroyd 42.22
78 Lindsey Oldfield 42.42
119 Johnnie Watson 45.16
157 Jez Wilkinson 47.48
168 Rachael Crossland 48.50
210 John Nunn 52.36

Minta on the Trigger

Calder Valley line up for epic Trigger race

Nine hardy souls from Calder Valley Fell Runners lined up early on Sunday morning for the annual Trigger race – a tough fell run that takes the competitors from Marsden in West Yorkshire across the bogs and rocks of Bleaklow, Blackhill and Kinder to Edale in the Peak District.

John Minta & Jake Ackroyd

Left CVFR John Minta and Jake Ackroyd

At twenty linear miles with 4,500 feet of climbing, the route alone is hard enough. But taking place in snow and sleet, strong headwinds and with difficult navigation between checkpoints, the Trigger is an incredible challenge, with many of the 203 runners taking part clocking up closer to 25 miles.

Ian Symington

Ultra Supremo Ian Symington

First home for Calder Valley was the Blackshaw Head’s ultra-supremo, Ian Symington.  The reigning British champion of the Run Further series of ultra-marathons, Ian finished in 31st place in just under 4 hours and 30 minutes.

Next back for Calder Valley was John Minta in 48th place in 4 hours and 45 minutes and Jake Ackyroyd in 5 hours and 3 minutes in 69th place, both having fantastic results and showing strong starts to another season of long fell runs for them.


Helen Buchan, captain of Calder Valley’s women’s team, had an excellent run and was the next runner home for the club. She was sprayed with fragments of clay pigeon at the crest of the second climb, and successfully battled with Julia Nolan of Dark Peak at the end of the race, to finish 5th woman in 5 hours and 13 minutes.

Helen Buchan

Mileage and climbing machine, Helen Buchan

The men’s race was won by Nick Barber of Pennine Fell Runners in an impressive 3 hours and 40 minutes. The first woman back was Nicky Spinks of Dark Peak Fell Runners in 4 hours and 17 minutes.

31 04:29:49 Ian Symington
48 04:45:09 John Minta
69 05:03:08 Jake Ackroyd
86 05:13:43 Helen Buchan
91 05:17:27 Garry Hodgkinson
111 05:26:00 Mike Wardle
132 05:41:42 Simon Fisher
135 05:43:25 Philip Beecroft
182 06:47:53 John Nunn

Bagpipes start the Auld Land Syne

Auld Land Syne

The last race of the year in the fell running Calendar is the Auld Lang Syne.  Always a popular race 419 runners, many of them in fancy dress, gathered in the old quarry at Penistone Hill, Haworth to be greeted by a kilted bagpiper.   The race then heads out over the Haworth Moors to the Trig point above Top Withens.  The Brownlee brothers often compete in this race but with pre selection for the Rio Olympics already achieved, who could blame them for saving themselves.

Lucy Collins Auld Lang Syne

Lucy Collins Auld Lang Syne

Math Roberts Auld Lang Syne

Math Roberts Auld Lang Syne

The race was won by Chris Farrell of Horwich in 41:19 with Math Roberts first Calder Valley runner back in 16th place.  Calder women had some good results with Lucy Collins in 6th (57th overall) just three minutes behind the winner, the Holmfirth dynamo Katie Walshaw.  Jo Buckley came in just over a minute later in 7th (69th overall).  Calder women were second place behind a strong Holmfirth team.

16 46.41 Math Roberts
57 52.15 Lucy Collins
60 52.23 Mark Wharton
69 53.26 Jo Buckley
75 54.19 Jack Denton
102 56.32 Iain Powell
134 58.06 Stephen Smithies
136 58.13 Jake Ackroyd
140 58.27 Lindsey Oldfield
290 69.23 John Nunn
297 69.57 Dave Culpan

Giant’s Tooth

Following the Auld Lang Syne, on the first of January is the first race of the year, the Giant’s Tooth, which starts at Ogden Reservoir.  A three mile hangover blaster round the standing stone that is allegedly the last tooth of Ogden the Giant.

Richard Anderson of Holmfirth won in 17 mins and 44 seconds.  Calder Valley’s Tristan Sheard was first back for the club, under the twenty minute mark, and a good result in sixth place.  Racing snake Steve Smithies was 30th, completing two races in two days.  116 runners competed.

6 00:19:38 Tristan Sheard
19 00:20:41 Richard Sunderland ?
30 00:22:26 Stephen Smithies
40 00:23:43 Johnnie Watson
53 00:25:15 Gillian Wisbey
64 00:26:13 Stella Christanthou
71 00:26:44 Philip Jones
84 00:28:39 Steven Cavell

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 (lee_shimwell@hotmail.com) 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 (mail@richardsunderland.co.uk) for the speedier Off Road group and Charlotte Wetton (oxygenplease@hotmail.com) 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 (katieandy@hotmail.co.uk)

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