Sedbergh Hills

“There was an excellent turnout of 14 folk from NFR for the championship race at Sedbergh Hills on Sunday. This tough 14 miler packs in 6,000 ft of climbing. Grassy running at the start and finish gives way to muddy contouring and climbing in the middle section. The route varied from a high-level contour with views over the M6, to a runnable path up to The Calf which is the highpoint of the Howgills. Apart from being greasy underfoot, conditions were excellent with high cloud cover and a cooling breeze.

NFR ladies stole the show, winning the team prize. The 3 counters were Karen Robertson, Joanna Smith, and Henrietta Bolton Carter. Jane Briggs was also there, finishing just behind Henrietta. For the men, Roger Sillito was first home in a creditable 13th place, with Matthew Briggs not far behind.

The tea and cake went down well in the Village Hall afterwards. Many thanks to Paul Brittleton and his team for the race. If you had pre-entered, it was only £6.50 – bargain!
Results are on the race website:

John Duff”

Beacon Hill Fell Race

Ideal conditions welcomed runners for this midweek race.
20 year old William Robson (NSP) was the victor closely followed by Matthew Hetherington (Heaton). 17 year old Matthew Briggs (NFR) had an excellent run finishing 3rd.
Dawn Cooper (Derwent Valley) brought the ladies home closely followed by Jane Briggs and Nina Cameron (both NFR). The drop down to the finish off Beacon Hill was diverted due to the ongoing footpath improvements and instead came down off Dove Crag.
This added half a mile onto the route but the general opinion was that it was a better descent and will likely become the permanent route.” – Paul Appleby


Chevy Chase: report and results

Chevy Chase 2017

NFR turned out in force for the 61st Chevy Chase on Saturday 2nd July. There were over 20 NFR club members in the large field of approx 200. Conditions for the race were pretty good. The recent rain had left the ground soft for running, and it was never too hot.

The run out to Cheviot was into the wind. Turning for Hedgehope, runners were greeted with a fine view of the Harthope Valley as they dropped swiftly to the burn before the climb to Northumberland’s second highest top. Various lines were taken to Langlee Crags through the recently cut heather – but none of the new lines seemed to be any quicker than the original track.

After rounding Brands Corner, the run up the Careyburn seemed to go on a bit – it is getting rougher and the bracken ever higher. At least the final run-in over Wooler Common was (mostly) downhill and with the wind. Back at the youth hostel, runners were greeted with a T-shirt and the usual delicious spread of tea, sandwiches and cake. After 20 tough miles and 4,000 ft of climbing, the refreshments were much appreciated.

John Butters vied with Will Robson (NSP) for the lead, before pulling clear at Langlee Crags to win handsomely in under 3 hours. Katherine Davis (NSP) won the ladies’ race with Karen Robertson close behind in second. There was a welcome return to form for Fred Smith (Saltwell) who won the V60 prize. NFR retained the men’s team prize (JB, myself and Scott Gibson). NFR packed the minor placings with 7 runners in the top 20. It was also good to see long-standing club members Louise Wilkinson and Jane Saul back in their club vests and completing the course.

As ever, The Chevy was superbly organised by Wooler Running Club to whom many thanks are due. It was indeed a grand day out.

John Duff

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Organiser’s report



Zermatt Marathon

Many congratulations to NFR stalwarts Paul Appleby and Peter Reed who completed the mainly uphill (or should that be up-mountain?) Zermatt Marathon out in the Swiss Alps earlier today (July 1). After a tough day I understand the traditional rehydration process will shortly be getting underway! Well done Peter & Paul” – John Telfer

Yetholm Hill Race

Report and results from Les:

“Brian Marshall was victorious at yesterday’s Yetholm Hill Race…….good navigation and and the right choice of footwear being the key to his success. The ladies were led home by Beverley Smith.
Thank you to all who ran, marshalled, donated prizes as well as the farmers who once again allowed us access to their land, also a special mention must go to NRC’s No1 baker who excelled herself yet again! We were delighted to donate the proceeds of the race (£280) to the Border Search & Rescue Unit who provided us with their usual first class cover, being on the spot to deal with one injured runner (thankfully not serious) who took the sensible decision to retire from the race….hopefully he’ll return next year to give it another try.

results (amended 09.00)

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Fairfield Horseshoe report

Report from Gary Jones:

Fairfield Horseshoe 2017

This was the 51st running of the classic Fairfield Horseshoe,so one of the oldest races on the FRA calendar.Chip timing was used at a fell race shock horror for the older traditionalists but went down really well and ultimately a sign of the times.

NFR was represented by Philip Pearson,Trevor Symonds and myself but fellow Cramlington resident Kris White was running and it was good to have a bit crack beforehand .It was really nice on the valley floor with a misty covering on the fell tops which had a kind of eery into the unknown quality.I had driven all the way to the Lake district forgetting to put my fell shoes in the car so whilst delighted that Pete Blands van was there but not so delighted i had to shell out the best part of £70 on some fetching black and white Walshes.

The race was as tough as ever with the slog up Nab Scar hitting me as hard as ever destroying the quads immediately so was a case of hands on knees and power striding.Once on top despite the more runnable part running towards Great Rigg the damage done on the climb made it hard to get the speed going which was frustrating.The climb up Fairfield was helped being in a kind of train of 4 as in cycling but my god the temperature was really low and descending the technical part off Fairfield was kind of frantic to get out of the chilly breeze but really quite tricky as the rocks were really greasy which the newly purchased Walshes weren’t dealing with too well(I was told afterwards that Inov8s weren’t much better!!).I descended really well passing quite a few runners which my strava confirmed was sub 6 minute miling.A few navigational errors on the descent saw me go too close to the wall where there was big drops and a few expletives were let out but those of you that have ran this race will tell you this is one of the fastest enjoyable descents in all of fell running.The run in to Rydal Hall along the track takes the life out of your legs but i was pleased to run my fastest time on the route to come in 25th.
Philip wasnt too far behind me in 49th as 2nd V50 and Trevor in 231st as 9th V60.
The race was won by ex Northumberland resident Ben Abdelnoor

Gary Jones

Pendulum Fell Race report

Report from Gary Jones:

Pendulum Fell Race 2017

Ever since Glen and Jack Mcwilliams created this A class brute of a race I thought I’m going to have a go at that, but having said that looking at the pictures of the 2016 edition I was pleased I was greeted on arrival with near ideal conditions apart from a bit of wind. It was nice to catch up with a few NFR new and old as well as some faces from further afield like Paul Butler and Joe Blackett. As I’ve not being on scene much in recent years I didnt know what to expect. Jack done the briefing Whilst some motivational music played which was definately unique in any fell race I’ve ever been to. The race stated and after the first stile a group of 4 headed by Edis of Keswick went on the more runnable but longer Track to the right Whilst myself and a little further back fellow NFR Scott Gibson took the more direct left trod. The front of the race stayed much the same all the way up Cheviot which was marvellously dry with a prevailing wind. On the top the leaders had already opened up a fair lead with Edis, Kurt Heron,and 2 DFR runners ahead with Andy Blackett and NFR Lee Bennett not far behind me. I descended quite well but conserving energy was joined by Andy who I know is a good climber.
Passed back down by the bridge ready for the steep initial climb to the Crags and I could see 4th not too far ahead. I was filled with trepidation at the prospect prospect of a bog before the very tough climb up Hedgehope but after the Crags whilst in pursuit of Blackett it was really quite dry!
The climb up Hedgehope was a case of head down and yomp trying to bridge the gap ahead.
On the descent off Hedgehope despite a jelly legged descent I Passed Heron to go to 6th which would never of happened in a road race (the more fell races he does with his raw speed then look out!). The run in accross to the Crags and down to the finish was most enjoyable and finished 6th.
This 11.2 mile 3689ft classic certainly is a tough one but a brilliant route and great event put on by the Mcwilliams and very well done to all my fellow NFR and all other runners for completing.
I hope this becomes a permanent fixture on the Fell running calendar.


Edale Skyline: report

Descending Win Hill, photo: Mark Fermer

Descending Win Hill, photo: Mark Fermer

I ran the Edale Skyline on Sunday.  This AL early season classic has been on my ‘to do’ list for a while.  At 21 miles and 4,500 feet of climbing, it’s a toughie.   Conditions were nigh on perfect – blue skies, a cooling breeze, and dry underfoot.    There was a large field, including a few brave souls who had run the English Championships race the day before (Darren Fishwick was among this number – no surprise there).

The race follows a clockwise route around the skyline of Edale in the Peak District.   The route had been varied this year.  With flagstones making the crossing of Brown Knoll easier, an extra climb had been thrown in through the woods up to Win Hill.

Approaching Win Hill, photo: Mark Fermer

Approaching Win Hill, photo: Mark Fermer

I took it steady on the first half up to the Mam Nick road crossing, then reeled in a few places towards the end.  The last few miles were into the easterly breeze along the edge of Kinder, and distinctly hard work.  I ran a lot of the way in company with Simon from Steel City Striders (a Sheffield-based club) who knew the route.  He got ahead of me on the final descent from Ringing Roger – I was happy just to cross the line in one piece.

I finished 67th out of about 290 runners in 3 hours 48 minutes.    Afterwards in the village hall, the pie and peas went down a treat.    All of which was a grand way to work up the raging fellrunner’s thirst – which I duly slaked with a fine pint or two of Peak District ale in the evening.  Our secretary, of course, would expect nothing less.

Many thanks to the Dark Peak team who put on this excellent race.

John Duff

Brough Law Fell Race

A tremendous turnout for Brough Law:

photo: JB

photo: JB

A staggering 167 runners turned out for the Brough Law fell race in the beautiful Breamish Valley today – twice the number from the previous year! They certainly brought the good weather with them as the conditions were perfect. Registration opened early and it was just as well as the queue built up steadily. This was the first counting race in the NFR championships as well as the North East Counties championships.

The runners were briefed and set off at 10am. It was a close finish between Chris Edis of Keswick, Andy Berry of DFR and Colin Donnelly of Cambuslang with Edis coming through the victor. The leading times were slower than expected due to a flag being missed, throwing the leaders off course with the chasing pack following.

First home for the ladies was Katherine Davis of North Shields Poly with Jo Smith of NFR second and Dawn Metcalf of Derwent Valley in third. 1st M40 was Scott Gibson (NFR), 1st F40 was Nina Cameron (NFR), 1st M50 was Garry Robson (North Shields Poly), 1st F50 was Henrietta Carter (NFR), M60 was Les Turnbull of Norham. Spot prizes were also given out.

Many thanks to all who competed and supported. In particular Mike Steven and Jane Briggs for their help at registration and with the results. Proceeds to Northumberland Mountain Rescue. Thanks must also go out to Ross Wilson for his support and to the Northumberland National Park for the use of their facilities.

Despite the navigation issue it was a thoroughly enjoyable day in the Northumberland hills. Chip timing next year, perhaps!

See you next year.

John Butters

results (* amended 14/03 – please contact John <> if you have any queries)

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