British Fell Relays

report from John Duff:

British Fell Relays 15th October 2016

The hills - photo: Richard Garland

The hills – photo: Richard Garland

NFR had a great day at the British Fell Relays on Saturday.  The event was held at Luss on the shores of Loch Lomond, just north of Glasgow.  We finished 31st out of 115 teams – our highest finish for a number of years.

The weather was dreich – low cloud at about 1,000 feet with drizzle interspersed with heavy showers.  John Tollitt was our lead-out man on the short first leg.  He put in a fine performance, finishing less than 10 minutes behind the leaders.  Frank Shillitoe & I took over for Leg 2 which followed a horseshoe route over Beinn Dubh.

John and Frank - photo: Richard Garland

John and Frank – photo: Richard Garland

There was a real sting in the tail climb towards the end – 350 metres, most of which seemed to be on all-fours.  Despite Frank’s shoe starting to fall apart, we managed to hold our placing on the long descent, and handed on the baton to Jonny Malley & Scott Gibson for the navigation leg.

Scott and Jonny - photo: Frank Shillitoe

Scott and Jonny – photo: Frank Shillitoe

The teams on the nav leg were away a long time, and started to return very gradually in dribs and drabs.  Reports filtered through of “tough navigation in zero visibility, featureless terrain, endless re-entrants and hummocks etc”.   Just when we were wondering how our lads would fare, they burst into changeover, taking Richard Garland by surprise who duly dashed off on leg 4.  Jonny & Scott had run a storming leg – 16th fastest on the day, lifting our overall standing by a whopping 36 places.  Richard completed the job, holding his own in company with some fast leg 4 runners, to bring us home in 31st place.

Richard Garland finishing- photo: John Duff

Richard Garland finishing- photo: John Duff

At the sharp end, Dark Peak won ahead of Shettleston and Hunters Bog Trotters – who also won the ladies’ race.  Other local clubs taking part were North Shields Poly and DFR.  Full results are on the sportident website, and leg maps etc are on the event website.  Many thanks to the organisers Westerlands, and our team captain Frank.

John Duff

More of Richard Garland’s photos on Facebook

Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay

Report from Frank:

Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay 2016

Dexter and Mark at the Relays - photo: Frank Shillitoe

Dexter and Mark at the Relays – photo: Frank Shillitoe

A cracking day out in the Lakes for team NFR at the Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay.  70 teams of fell running’s finest congregated in Patterdale in the morning sunshine. Borrowdale were once again favourites for the top spot having won the event for the last 19 years. Continue reading

Yetholm Border Shepherds Show Race

Another enjoyable day at the “Shepherds Show”….numbers on the rise (slowly) for what is a challenging wee race. First home was the evergreen Colin Donnelly a mere 16secs outside the record and showing his experience by keeping his feet dry on the run in to the finish……I can safely predict he won’t be able to do that next year! Kate Kitchin led the ladies home setting a new ladies record of 44:05secs. – Les


Peter Whewell

Just to let you know that Peter has passed away after a two year battle with cancer. I will forward any details of the funeral as I find out.” – Phil


Although I didn’t know Peter well, I had a few very pleasant conversations with him at races and also via email. He struck me as a thoroughly likeable guy; intelligent, thoughtful and a real pleasure to talk with.
As editor of the website, I’ve found that you get to know a lot about someone from their writings.
Peter kindly sent in a host of old Chevy Chase results from 1975 to 1986 along with his reminiscences, here’s that article.
And I thought folk might like to be reminded of Peter’s thoughtful condolence for Ruth Fletcher:

It was a great shock to learn of the sudden death of Ruth. She was so full of life, so full of unself-conscious and infectious enthusiasm and so full of running that it is difficult to take in that we will no longer hear her familiar, reassuring voice ringing across the fells.

Over the last few years we had in common a habit of starting fell races from the very back (this because of her medical problem, as she told me later, mine because of laziness). Until I joined NFR this year I was running for NYMAC, but it was characteristic of Ruth to make friends with all-comers. We would frequently pass and re-pass each other, her presence behind being loudly announced by a humorous quip; she would then slow for fell banter before pressing ahead. If you caught her up, there was more banter and generous encouragement. On the Windy Gyle Race this June she was counting out loud as she passed me. I enquired why she was doing this “twenty walking, twenty running.. it gets me there”. It certainly did. On the Chevy this year we were once again both at the very back at the start. Later on the approach to Cheviot heel I was running with Keith Cooper when a voice from behind preceded Ruth storming up at speed. As usual she slackened off to discuss our relative progress. My last memories of her are of her disappearing up Cheviot at a rapid pace and thinking “how does she do that”. When I focussed up ahead I could see she was running twenty and walking twenty and it not only got her there but also to a good time and the v60 prize.

We will all be much the poorer for the loss of Ruth but at the back of the field we will especially miss the camaraderie and humour she brought to our fell-running lives. – Peter Whewell

And we will be poorer for the loss of you too, Peter.



NE Champs update

I just wanted to let you all know that the final race in the NE Champs for 2016 will be Simonside Cairns on 11 Dec. ( details on NFR ‘What’s On’ page or in FRA handbook)

Medals for 2015 & 2016 seasons will be presented as soon as possible after the results for this season are finalised. ( probably at the first race of 2017).
Many thanks to Stu Ferguson of Hangar 18 for sponsoring the vets medals for the NE Champs – without him, we wouldn’t have a vets champs!!

Please share this information with your Clubs and running friends.

Thank you,


Simonside Fell Race

Dear all,

Many thanks to those kind enough to marshal today. It certainly made the whole day very much less stressful. Especial thanks to Lawrence and Blue for sweeping the course as tail runner.

We had 108 runners today and full results will be out soon.

Curt Heron UA was first home, with John Butters literally on his shoulder till the last 20 yards, followed closely by Will Robson NSP. The weather was gorgeous as normal.

Karen was first home for the ladies , closely followed by Joanne Amisford from Newcastle Uni in second and Nicola Roper, Heaton was third women home.

Kind regards


Lake District Mountain Trial

report from Mark Clarkson:

Sunday 11th September 2016

Lake District Mountain Trial

This year’s event was held at Seathwaite in the Duddon Valley. This great event is split into three courses – Classic, Medium, Short, each involving collecting a map around 1k after the start and navigating through a linear course. Following last year’s impressive 2nd placed team, this year NFR was somewhat less represented with only myself and Frank Shillitoe competing in the classic. The classic course distance ‘as the crow flies’ was 17 miles, though actual distance covered was a few miles more. Of the 51 starters, the winner was Neil Talbott in an impressive 4hrs 59mins. I rolled in after 6hrs 25mins in 23rd. Unfortunately Mr Shillitoe retired following a ‘misplaced dibber’, though he did continue on to complete most of the route. This is a fantastic event and I would encourage others to give it a try next year.

Results and route mapping link:

Mark Clarkson