Category: News

The OMM 2017: Langdales

For anyone not in the know, the OMM is a two-day mountain navigation race. Pairs have to remain self-sufficient  throughout the event, carrying tent, food, spare clothing etc. There are about seven classes, and as I was partnered with a friend from my Hampshire Scout days who I’d not raced with before, we elected to race in the Medium Score category. Not too long, not too short. We would have six hours to gather as many checkpoints as possible on day one, then five hours on the second day.


Considerations before the race

There’s always a bit of fun to be had before the event to cut your kit down to the lightest possible, or the lightest you are willing to go with in terms of warmth/overnight comfort, while meeting the mandatory list requirements. Some highlights:

  • Is it worth leaving behind a spare of of socks? (41g saving) Yes, but I’ll probably regret it on Sunday morning
  • Can justify spending £450 on a new tent? (600g saving) No
  • Balloon bed (100g) or bubble wrap (50g) to sleep on? Can’t find bubble wrap, so the luxury balloon bed it is
  • Do I transfer my 2nd freezer dried dinner from an aluminium packet into a plastic bag? (20g saving) Getting bored now
  • Trail food removed from individual wrappers (4g). OK, I’ve gone far enough


General thoughts from day one

  • The forecast was for high winds, low cloud and rain most of the day. The forecast was right. It would be a good a day for good navigators.
  • Unfortunately it turns out that micronavigation is a skill that needs to be regularly practiced to remain good at it.
  • Fortunately it appears that I wasn’t the only one that needed more practice judging by the number of people we passed searching on the side of various slopes in 20m visibility
  • The first half of the day went pretty smoothly, good route choice, good nav.
  • Then we missed our first checkpoint and it wasn’t worth searching for too long as it was only worth 20 points. (It turns out this was the most debated checkpoint on the thrilling post-race Facebook chat)
  • Then we overshot another, stupid mistake as it was supposed to be easy to find and we had switched off a little. 15 minutes lost.
  • With two hours to go we reached the top of Swirl How, only to be blown over by the wind.
  • It took another 15 minutes to find a checkpoint, 10m visibility. Should have trusted my 100m pacings and not turned off the path too early.
  • We ended up being 18 minutes late back (36 point penalty), however we were rather surprised to be in 4th place at the end of the first day!



Everywhere was a bog, but we eventually found a flat spot that was acceptable. Just a shame it was the furthest point from the  water tap. All things considered I had a reasonable night’s sleep.


General thoughts from day 2 

  • We were the chasing start at 07:09
  • It was a totally different day to the day before. Clear blue skies. Perfect views. Definitely a day for the runners.
  • We skipped a few early checkpoints and headed for the big pointers. All good except for one poor bearing, which led us down a crag and into losing too much height, 10 minutes lost.
  • With around an hour to go, we pushed with just enough time to grab a juicy 50-pointer before the long downhill run to the finish, finishing with just four minutes to spare.


The End

In the final results we caught one team in front, but were overtaken by two teams from behind to end up in 5th. I was happy with that and I think I actually enjoyed the entire weekend. It’s rare to experience type 1 run at these sorts of events, I obviously wasn’t trying hard enough.

Now, who fancies the Marmont Dark Mountains?


Ian Furlong

Results here

Really Wild Boar

I had an interesting and surprisingly satisfying run today at my second Really Wild Boar Fell race (5 miles/1401ft) near the hamlet of Street off the A683 Kirkby Stephen/Sedbergh road. There was a lot of clag and it was very windy on the tops which led to a few runners getting lost (me included) and wandering in the mist looking out for shadowy figures of runners and bumping into several fell ponies! I was fortunate to be with a small group and was led back on the quick descent back down the bridle path to the finish. Quite a few runners missed the last checkpoint and we passed them as they were having to run back. This meant I was quite a few places higher than I should have been, but I will gladly snap up any advantages in a race.

I finished 78th out of 99 runners. Many of the fell running elite were out, including Mr Dave McGuire, for your typical fell race: cost 4 quid, registration out of a camper van and a couple of checkpoints that consisted of you dropping a token in a bucket. The winner was Carl Bell (Keswick), second Joe Baxter (Pudsey & Bramley), third Ted Mason (Wharfedale), Rob Jebb (Helm Hill) was well placed too. The female winner was Sharon Taylor (Helm Hill), second was Rachel Pilling (Pudsey & Bramley) and third Debbie McGowan (Accrington). Helm Hill won the female team prize, Pudsey & Bramley first men’s team. Next year’s race will be going on tour and to fit in with the FRA dinner to be hosted by P&B will be held in Ilkley around the weekend of the 9/10 November 2018.

–Sharon Williams

Sharon with her eyes on the prize. Plus some boars. And a Fishwick. Image by @fellrunninbrief

Where am I again? A very brief report from the British Fell Relays

After getting lost on Ilkley Moor a couple of weeks previously when I was actually the tailrunner/ sweeper  at the Rombalds Romp, it was no great surprise that I approached this event with fear and trepidation! As it turned out I had nothing to worry about, as we were promised that leg 4 would be “fully marked and marshalled” in other words, it’s the leg for navigational numpties, isn’t it ? (No offence, Clare and Emma.) I got round OK but my, it was tough and I got muddy as well. My race photo arrived today and it stated I was on Moel Eilio, oh I hadn’t realised I was there! I knew I was in Wales somewhere though.

Dave Beston


British Fell Relays

We had three teams entered for the British Fell Relays (also known as the FRA relays), which this year were held in Llanberis, Wales, on Sunday October 15, the day before Hurricane Ophelia was due to arrive. The teams were FV40, Male Open and NFLR Boys n’ Girls (mixed). Conditions on the tops were what fell-runners call “a bit breezy” (see earlier point about Hurricane Ophelia), but all our teams did brilliantly. Thanks, Dominic, for organizing all the teams, and well done to all our runners. Top three places:  Dark Peak, Edinburgh University and Keswick. Well done to them, and many thanks to Eryri Harriers for their very successful hosting of a great event. Our results:

And a few images, taken by Dave Cooper, Dave Beston, and Dominic Nurse.

Langdale Horseshoe Fell Race and Me

What is it about Langdale and me? Every year I do the race there’s a “problem” and a “success”. On the problems front, over the years there’s been terrible cramp, a lack of fitness, bashing my knees, getting stuck on the Bad Step, wonky lines etc. In an attempt to resolve these problems, I go back to Langdale every year to practice. This year’s focus was on three tasks of getting the lines right up Bowfell, up Crinkle Crags and the line between Great Knott and Cold Pike on the way to Pike of Blisco.

Yesterday these all went pretty well with ongoing attention needed on the very slippery rocks, at times we are literally going at a snail’s pace. So, all is going well for me and I arrive at Pike of Blisco in 193rd position having moved up from my 268th position at Stickle Tarn. I head off east, feeling good, knowing my way down to the finish. Oh such confidence!

I realise after a while I’m not recognising where I am. I stop, relocate. Ah, I’m looking South onto Wrynose Pass. In my slightly disappointed and not thinking state (to put it mildly) and my need for something definite in the landscape I continue south onto the road (lots of lessons in this about my ability to keep thinking in the midst of tiredness and a race mindset – I should have headed north). I make my way round by a circular route to the final checkpoint at the cattle grid beneath Side Pike and I’m now in 296th position! I finish in 305th position. Mmm, all I can do is smile, feel a little sheepish and giggle to my-self. So, the practice for next year is …. One consolation is that the route over Blea Moss, past Tarnclose Crag and Blea Tarn is beautiful, well worth a picnic. — Alan Hirons

Images by Cal Ferguson and Hilary Barber

Kettlewell Anniversary Fell Race 2017

Full details


20 Years in the Making – Alan’s BGR


Moot Hall after 23.44 hours

Huge congratulations to NLFR’s Alan Hirons who realised a 20 year dream at 10.28pm on Sunday 22 May 2016 when he touched the doors of Keswick’s Moot Hall to complete his Bob Graham Round in 23 hours and 44 minutes.

Alan’s attempt was initially scheduled for an 11pm start on Friday 20 May, but with pounding rain and high winds forcast he moved it back 24 hours. A wise decision not taken by three other attempts starting that night, forced to abandon after losing too much time to bad weather.

By Saturday night the weather had calmed and Sunday brought sunshine and low winds. On a 23 hour schedule over the classic clockwise route Alan teased his supporters by pushing it close at the end of legs 3 and 4. But in the end it was never in doubt as he finished with over 15 minutes to spare – even opting to avoid the road and take the longer trail route from the bottom of Robinson into Keswick at the end of Leg 5.

It was a truly fabulous day and worth every minute to see Alan’s smile as he finished.


Ascending Dale Head Leg 5

Supporting Alan on the Round were a crack North Leeds team (with a little help from Borrowdale, Horwich and Pudsey P):

  • Legs 1 and 2: Matt John
  • Leg 3:  Greg Weatherhead
  • Leg 4:  Mike Ayers, Brendan Bolland,     Anthony Meanwell.
  • Leg 5:  Sara Demaine, Dom Nurse and Mike Ayers.
  • Road:  Hilary Lane, Hilary Tucker and Di

North Leeds Orienteering

On Tuesday 3 May NLFR will be holding an open introductory orienteering session in Adel Woods under the guidance of one of our AIRE members RIchard Foster. All welcome.

On its own orienteering is a lot of fun, but also the skills gained in running and navigating a course with a map in your hand, transfer to fell running. So whether you need to learn some map skills, brush up generally, or just have a good evening competing in Adel woods, this is for you. My Black Combe navigation debacle passports me to the front of the queue for this.

Richard has insurance, all the permissions from the Council and will be setting out the controls on the Tuesday afternoon. The plan is to have a basic intro session for those new to orienteering as well as something to test those who know (think they know) what they are doing, followed by a 40 minute score event with a mix of hard and easier controls and prizes at the end.

No special kit is needed, aside from running gear. A compass might be useful, but not essential and it may be worth putting in a head torch, although we hope to finish before it gets dark. The plan is to meet at Adel War Memorial car park at about 6.45 and at 7pm jog down to Stairfoot Lane car park to get started by 7.15. Prizes and a drink after in the AWMA bar.

All welcome, whether NLFR members or not, just come along for a good evening. We will be asking for a contribution of £1 to cover the costs of having the maps printed. So that we have a rough idea of how many to print, if you know you are definitely coming please let Richard know by emailing him on, or reply to this post, by Tuesday 26 April. We will print plenty of spares as well, so that we can cater for those who just turn up on the day.

It should be a good leg stretch after the 3 Peaks..

If you enjoy the event there will be a further orienteering event Richard is organising for AIRE the following evening (wed 4th May) around Adel village and a free one on the 11 May in Hawksworth Woods to celebrate World Orienteering Day.