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Gritstone Fixtures: Round Seven – Longshaw* Fell Race


Okay, it’s the last ‘Short’ race of the series.  Last chance to qualify if you’d so far only done 3 of the 4 mandatory short events.

After this, it’s on to the ‘Long’ stuff.  More about that later in the year.

For now, the race is Longshaw.  *Or to give it the full name, Longshaw Sheepdog Trials Fell Race.  So named because (as you might have deduced) it’s part of a larger event which takes place throughout the same weekend – the Longshaw Sheepdog Trials.


The blurb:

Round 7 (Short): Longshaw Sheepdog Trials Fell Race, Saturday 31st August, 10:30am
Start from Longshaw Lodge on Sheffield-Hathersage road GR 265 800
Distance: 9.7km / 6m
Climb: 305m / 1001ft
Route map: here
On the Day £5 to enter field and the race is free!
£5 on the day
Records: Lloyd Taggart (2010) – 38:07 and L Lacon (2006) – 46:27
Organised in association with members from Dark Peak Fell Runners


The details:

Longshaw Sheepdog Trials Fell Race

The race will be held on 31st August 2019, starting at 10.30am from the Trials field at Longshaw Lodge.

Distance = 8.6km (5.3miles) with 320m (1050ft) of climb.

Minimum age limit is 16 on day of race (U18s please see additional note below)

Part of the world’s oldest sheepdog trials. Pay £5 admission fee to access the trials field, then run for nowt! Entry on the day only using standard FRA Senior Race Entry Form. Parking will be adjacent to the trials field as usual, unless the ground is wet, in which case the National Trust Longshaw car park will be used (check the race Facebook Page for status on the day)

Registration and Race HQ in the beer tent, which is adjacent to the start/finish in front of Longshaw Lodge

A counter in Accelerate Gritstone Series.The race is generously supported by both Accelerate and The National Trust. Learn about the NT’s work to protect the Peak District woodlands and their wildlife here ( .

Please note that in line with Dark Peak Fell Runners environmental policy, no plastic cups will be made available at this race. You are encouraged to bring your own drink, which can be left at race HQ. There is also a bar.

Minor revision for 2019 with CP9 moved to access gates adjacent to milepost on Hathersage Rd:


The race is a fixed anti-clockwise route following a mixture of well-defined paths and trods plus open fields near the start/finish. Marshals will be stationed at key sections, whilst certain areas will be flagged with tape.

This race is held under FRA Rules and runners must familiarize themselves with and comply with the FRA Requirements for Runners 2018 (the “Runners’ Rules”).

Race Kit

The kit runners are required to carry is at the discretion of the Race Organiser, depending on the weather conditions. It is always advisable that runners should bring FRA Best Practice kit with them to a fell race. A decision will be made on the day – if the weather is good, there will be no mandatory kit requirement.

FRA Best Practice Kit is waterproof whole body cover (taped seams and attached hood) + hat + gloves + map + compass + whistle + emergency food.

If there is a kit requirement then mandatory kit inspections may be performed on race day and you will not be admitted to start the race unless you have passed this inspection. A further check may be undertaken on completion of the race – anyone completing the race without the required kit will be disqualified and reported to the FRA.

Your race number must not be folded or cut down and must be clearly visible on your chest at the start, all checkpoints and the finish.

This is a fell race over rough and potentially boggy terrain and so fell or trail shoes are mandatory. Competitors with road shoes will not be allowed to run.

Retirement procedure

Runners wishing to retire from the race MUST inform Race Control (at the race HQ marquee) and not just a marshal. They should either:

  • Report to a checkpoint and then return directly to Race Control
  • Report directly to Race Control when retiring between checkpoints

Under 18 years old?

If you are aged 16 or 17 you are classed as a junior runner (those aged under 18 on the day of the race). You must therefore have the consent of your parent or legal guardian before entering and taking part in an FRA Fell Race. This consent may be obtained either by your parent/guardian signing Junior Race Entry Form on your behalf, or by the use of this Parental Consent Form.

Additional information

Race entry personal data – Race Privacy Statement

For what it’s worth, in my view, having never been round this course – it looks like another one for dry conditions if you want to move at a pace.  With the amount of rain we’ve encountered lately (as of 31/07/19) it looks like the muddy puddles will be in evidence.  The ground will be a mixture of gravel, dirt, rock and occasional bouts of wet grass, road sections and MUD.  Something for everyone.  And as is clearly stated in the official notes from the organiser, “Competitors with road shoes will not be allowed to run”.  Good shout!

Note:  I did do the Burbage Skyline a few years back, which shares a few sections with this course and believe me, Higger Tor is STEEP.  This is a taxing run for those trying to run non-stop and make good time.  If in doubt, take it slow/steady and try to at least maintain a pace which is doable, quicker than a walk, but not so hard that you have to stop to recover at every summit.  You’ll cover the course more quickly than if you busted a gut and gradually slowed down between walk/stops.  Just sayin’.


The history:

A Step Back In Time…

The Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials claim to be the oldest continuous trials in the country. They have been run from 1898 to the present day, interrupted only by the two world wars. Accounts of the trials’ origin vary, but the most interesting one is as follows:

The head shepherd and head keeper to the Duke of Rutland had a competition to see who could shoot the most pigeons and the shepherd won. The keeper was furious, and challenged the shepherd to a return match. The shepherd had no gun licence and guessed that the keeper knew this, and intended to inform the Police of the competition. He told the keeper he had neither gun nor licence, and as he did not wish to borrow a gun again suggested that instead they should see whose dog could round up sheep the best, and donated a sheep as the first prize. This first unofficial trial was held around 1894 or 1895.

The first official trial was held on 24th March 1898. It attracted 16 competitors in the Open Class and five in the Local Class. A total of £19 was offered in prize money. The first day’s events were abandoned due to a snow storm but resumed the following day. A second trial was held in September 1898 when ‘the growing popularity of Sheep-dog Trials in North Derbyshire was evidenced by a large crowd on the Longshaw Pastures grounds’. A special train was run from Manchester for the event and 700 spectators paid to see the trials.

By 1901 the number of spectators had risen to 3,000, mostly from Sheffield, with prize money amounting to £33. In 1902 prize money totalled £40 and for the first time there was a competition for a brace of dogs. One report of the trials stated ‘The best dog on the field was not the winner – it was Mr Barcroft’s two year old Sep, but it was not the animal’s fault that the sheep were so stupid’.

The trials became an established fixture in the country calendar and grew in popularity with both competitors and spectators. The Duke of Rutland supported the trials from the outset. There were no trials held during the First World War and when they resumed in 1919 it was reported that ‘a really good dog that knows his worth will cost £30 or £40’. In 1925 8,000 people attended and it was announced that since the start of the trials over £1,000 had been donated to local hospitals and other charities.

Ladies were first allowed to enter the trials as competitors in 1927, but this was not repeated the following year, when a sheep shearing competition was held instead.

A microphone was introduced in 1936 to give a commentary of the events. Prior to this the spectators did not know which were the winning dogs. The following year saw the introduction of a 10 minute bus service from Sheffield, such was the popularity of the trials.

War once again intervened, and when they recommenced in 1945 the BBC were present to record the events. Two day trials were introduced in 1947, on a Thursday and a Saturday, to give more members of the public chance to come and see them, and in 1951 they were extended to the three days that they are today.

The Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials continue to be held every year in early September, providing enjoyment for many and still raising money for charities.

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