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Gritstone Fixtures: Round Four – Hope Fell Race

 

Coming up in the Gritstone Series next week, Wednesday 26th June, 7:30pm – is the Hope Fell Race.

AKA ‘Hope Wakes Fell Race’ because it traditionally takes place within the ‘Hope Wakes’ festival.  What’s that?  Well,

According to their official Facebook page:

“Hope Wakes week is filled with fun, sports activities and events ending with a carnival day not to be missed. Lots of fun for all! June 24th – July 2nd”.

Festival details here

So fell racing….

Hope Fell Race in a nutshell:

  • Date & time: Wed 27th Jun 2018 at 19:30
  • Country: England
  • Region: Peak District
  • Category: BS GPS:
  • Website: www.hopefellrace.co.uk
  • Distance: 9.5km / 5.9m
  • Climb: 451m / 1480ft
  • Venue: Hope Sportsfield, Castleton Rd, Hope, S33 6RD.
  • Grid ref: SK165836
  • Skills & experience: PM
  • Minimum age: 16

The race takes place in the evening.  Nice to get a chance to race in the PM, as so many races demand that you drag yourself from a warm bed/house/car and launch yourself into freezing cold wind and rain.  7:30pm is far more civilised.

The pavilion used is a perfect spot to leave kit, adjust race outfit, pit-stop at the toilets and ready yourself/exchange post race stories with fellow competitors.  Comfy as these things go.

That said, this is still a very demanding race, with a 5.9 mile hill repeat over Win Hill.

What’s Win Hill you say?

Well,

Good old Wikipedia say:

“Win Hill lies north west of Bamford in the Derbyshire Peak District of England. At 462 m, it is almost surrounded by the River Derwent to the east, the River Noe to the south west and Ladybower Reservoir to the north, but a ridge running north west links it to Kinder Scout”.

But if that doesn’t do it for you…… it looks like this!

image courtesy of Deskgram

So erm, ‘foreboding’ if you will.

What’s more, you get to scale it twice!  Here, take a look at the route map.

The entire thing is community driven, efficiently organised and always very friendly.  The official race category (PM – Partially Marked) isn’t too elitist either, so for a race with so much up/down and exposure, it offers people of all abilities chance to test themselves against a proper ‘Fell’ race and come out in one piece.

Do though, make sure that you possess the required waterproof top/bottoms, spare layers, hat/gloves and route map/compass, since changes in weather can determine last minute alterations to the kit list given out ahead of the start.  Just a thought, with the bum year we’ve had so far.

‘Character Building’

Hope is a relatively recent addition to the Gritstone Series, but has fast become a firm favourite, largely due to its down to earth feel and ‘have a go’ atmosphere.  Sure there are some very impressive runners up front, chasing the records… (see below)

  • Male: S Bond – 00:41:47 – 2014
  • Female: O Walwyn – 00:51:06 – 2014

But for the mere mortals, there’s the experience of tackling a very prominent local feature, (hopefully) enjoying some well earned views, then buzzing as you exploit the very well earned downhill back to HQ.

 

Along the way, highlights include the ridge which joins Win Hill to the mighty Kinder Scout (tallest peak in Derbyshire), which you cross on your way to the first descent.  The wooded trail on the backside of the hill offers some muddy sections and winding trails, which are just beautiful.  The jewel in the crown has to be the uphill section through the Pines, as you fight to summit the hill for a second time.  The single-track path with roots, rocks and broken walls to one side, woods to the other, seems eerily atmospheric and is over all too soon.  Once you’ve crested that summit, passing the trig point and remembering to thank the marshalls (the new gods) along the way, you can relax* and let gravity meet you halfway until you reach the Edale road.

Then it’s into the pavilion for banter and a few laughs….

*Not to be confused with collapse.

And as ever, while this race is a pre-existing and time honoured event – we include it in our Gritstone Series as a ‘Short’ Race, which counts toward the overall score we create for those participating in a number of similar races throughout the year.  As the series requires that you complete at least 4 of the ‘Short’ Races (as well as 1 of the ‘Long’ events in October), this is the last chance for anyone yet to get started.  Otherwise, you can simply take part regardless.

And that’s Hope.  There will be another of these in time for Round 5 at Great Hucklow, so keep an eye for more in due course.

The Gritstone Series is supported as ever by inov-8 All Terrain Running and Accelerate.

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