Friday, 16 May 2014

Last Drop Loop Fell Race - By Tim Campbell

Angry clouds fulminated on the horizon and a solitary crow wheeled against the brooding sky, dark with intent. A tall man clad only in blue loomed in the car park clasping a whistle, a compass and a set of waterproof trousers. Oh it’s Garry Baines, it can only be time for the Last Drop Loop fell run!

The 3rd fell race of the season was the Last Drop Loop, held by Bolton United Harriers and categorised BS. For many A&T-ers this was their first fell race and with the recent changes in FRA regulations meaning that in theory you need to turn up with a full SAS survival kit, there was some nervousness in the preceding few days, with Facebook full of enquiries about whistles, taped seams and the size of each other’s bum bags. In the event, the weather forecast was merely for a mild storm, so minimum kit of a whistle and waterproof top were all that were required to pass the all-over body search at the entrance to the start area.

The race began with a loop of the field/bog that it started on, which did the job of stretching the field a little before heading off into the back of beyond with a couple of narrower pathways. There was then a bit of trail and some road before we turned off onto the more ‘felly’ bits. I seem to remember some bogs, a couple of hills, then some bogs and a couple of hills. Then we went up a hill and went through a bog, before getting to what were described afterwards by experienced fell runners as the ‘technical’ parts of the race. These consisted mainly of careering down what appeared to be a narrow bob-sleigh track filled with rocks and holes. After some more downhill bits that in theory should have been easier but were entirely cancelled out by a head-wind we got to some flatter parts towards the end of the race, with a few stiles and lovely meadows to run through, before getting back to a couple of roads, and then the final ‘technical’ section - what seemed at the time like a canyon filled with mud, where yours truly fell flat on his face whilst being run down by the guy who eventually came in 4th. He couldn't get past me in the narrow path, but graciously didn't tread me further into the mud. All in all, a great fell race.

It was a superb turnout from the A&T gang and from the reactions I think that most A&Ters enjoyed their day out in the sun, putting in some great performances. Hopefully many will return to the fells soon for another run.

The results for A&T were as follows:
Pos Time Name
5 41:48 Tim Campbell
22 46:12 Neil Hughes
47 52:54 James Bentall
49 53:10 Garry Baines
55 54:24 Derek Coop
63 57:14 Jonathon Morton
72 58:38 Chris Bennett
86 64:31 Paul Basnett
107 73:05 Catherine Hodgetts
114 77:02 Clare Unsworth

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