> 2010 race reports
10/04/10 Allendale Challenge - from John Telfer

April 10, 2010

The almost instant switchover from winter to spring meant that this year’s Challenge certainly lived up to its name as warm sunshine took its toil on bog weary limbs reminiscent of three years ago with time generally being slower than last year. NFR were well represented with Phil Addyman leading from start to finish with Paul Appleby taking an excellent third with further sterling efforts from Peter Hayle, Bernard Kivlehan, Phil Green, Dave Coxon and Graham Wilkinson and dare I say myself.

Around 75 runners set off on the dot of 10am in search of the walkers who had been sent on their way a couple of hours earlier. The reasonably dry state of the moor up to the Chimneys and descent down to Ninebanks suggested that maybe this year life would not be so wet underfoot. Big mistake!

The long haul up the track onto Mohope Moor, rutted at the best of times had obviously suffered badly at the hands of the long cruel winter and made getting into any kind of stride nigh on impossible….that being my excuse to walk rather than run. Welcome relief as the path up to Hard Rigg was again not as soggy as in previous years and once again one dared to hope this could be setting a trend for what was to come. Dreadful Mistake !!

The four miles between Hard Rigg and Black Hill is where the two biggest obstacles are met. The first being this is the stretch where a majority of the walkers are encountered whose reaction ranges from stepping aside, apologising for being in your way and wishing you luck (whilst questioning your sanity) through those who seem to be using their walking poles for some kinds of baton twirling practice and those who are “wired for sound” and are totally oblivious to you running by them. The second biggest obstacle is the waist high bog which sucks in the impatient runner who tries to cut a corner about a mile beyond High Rigg. The reason I say it is a waist high bog is because that is exactly where it came up to me this year much to the amusement of a group of ladies who were walking by and Peter Hayle who wisely decided that the longer route was altogether a drier one!

Surprisingly enough the peat hags of Kilhope Law were by their usual standards remarkably dry but any joy derived from that was short lived by the stony road down to the next checkpoint which nibbled away anyone stupid enough to be wearing fell shoes. This checkpoint is located at the charmingly named Slag Hill or if you went slightly off to the right, Dirt Pot : take your choice !

It is around these parts that that most schizophrenic of beast is usually encountered known in these parts as the “running walker” who obviously find a 10am start a little late in the day to start practicing their art. At least they are relatively few and far between and don’t hold up the 10 o’clockers eager to demoralise their spirits on the ascent up the never ending, and aptly named, Drag before hobbling back into Allendale on a reverse of the first three miles of the Hexhamshire Hobble route.

A fine day out and as ever superbly organised and marshalled by the North of Tyne Search and Rescue Team for which many thanks. It was then off to the pub for pie and peas followed, for two very sad individuals, by a dessert of Gisborough Moors with a big dollop of Roseberry Topping.

John Telfer  

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