What a great turn out for one of the last races of 2019, 365 turned out for this years Daleside Auld Lang Syne Fell Race. The weather whilst a little cold was at least dry and the ground seemed to have had dried up somewhat since the Stoop Fell race. The cloud seemed to hang low on the tops as the trig turn point was shrouded in mist.
In a tussle to the finish line this years race saw a new winner, with Mark Buckingham of Holmfirth Harriers taking the honours in 40.31, closely followed by Michael Cayton of Ribble Valley Harriers in 40.44.
The ladies race also saw a new name on the trophy with Hatti Archer of Dark Peak Fell Runners winning in a record breaking time of 46.19, beating Nichola Jackson of Ribble Valley Harriers into 2nd place on 47.05.
Wharfedale Harriers claimed the mens team prize, whilst Ilkley claimed the ladies team prize.
Fancy Dress & The Start Woodentops
Fancy Dress & Run to Top Withins – Album 1 Woodentops
Fancy Dress & Run to Top Withins – Album 2 Woodentops
The Finish Woodentops
Video Robert Adamson
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
wrote Robert “Rabbie” Burns in 1778 with “Auld Lang Syne” roughly translating as “days gone by.” I suppose it made change from his poem about eating sheep offal wrapped in sheep intestines (hopefully pre-washed)!
Since 1778 the poem has been put to music and many will have destroyed it by “singing” it at New Year’s Eve parties, after the stroke of twelve.
For me, the words evoke images of snow coated, misty Scottish glens ruled over by majestic stags. The other long held image of New Year celebrations involves lumps of coal and dark haired men! Ironically, Penistone Hill was mined for coal long before it was quarried for stone. A tenuous link, but a link all the same.
All this is in stark contrast to the 6.7 mile yomp around the hills above Haworth on New Year’s Eve. Hence the race name. The race itself has been around since 1994, being inaugurated by Dave and Eileen Woodhead, and has been a popular end to the local fell running year ever since. This year, it was one of the few races I actually ran so I’m able to give a “straggler’s perspective.” “Out with a bang” as they say….
To the bagpipe serenade of Auld Lang Syne itself, a year’s worth of runners (365) jostled their way out of the bottom of the now long disused Penistone Quarry and down the track leading to the Bronte Way and eventually the Bronte Falls. Long before the Falls, however, this race takes a sharp right turn down a steep descent, now more reminiscent of a muddy cross country course underfoot than a fell race, thanks to 300+ sets of feet in front of me, to South Dean Beck. Crossing the beck ensured a foot wash and for the really lucky, other parts too if you chose to jump into the deep section. Guilty as charged.
If the run down to the beck was exhilarating for the lovers of descending, the equally sharp incline at the other side sorted the strong from the weak. Here I class as weak. Already near the back, I was reduced to a panting crawl but did, surprisingly, gain a few places; only to lose them again once the course levelled out towards Bully Trees Farm. It’s now a gentle incline along the route of the puddle strewn Pennine Way for the fit, and a hard slog for the not so fit, to Top Withins. Here we all met the swirling moorland mist. Have I already mentioned mist? Oh yes, I have, except that this mist was less Scottish glens and more evocative of the Bronte’s, Wuthering Heights and the plaintive cries of Heathcliff for his Cathy.
From the ruins, the race now loops sharply uphill towards the trig point at the top of Delf Hill. At the trig it t’s a sharp right turn into a brilliant (personal view) romp across the moor back to the Pennine Way at Lower Withins. My only complaint about the romp across the moor this year is that it would have been easier in the snow where the 300 or so pairs of feet that have gone before you mark out a very clear path. Today I was having to check for fresh fell shoe prints to be sure is was on the right track on the still mist shrouded and silent moorland. From Lower Withins the race follows the outward route back to the very welcome finish line at West End Cricket Club. The course is mainly downhill and I did claim a few scalps along the way.
So that was the straggler’s perspective – we have our battles that in their friendly way are just as competitive as those fought out at the front.
Talking of the front line, the men’s race was a battle all the way between Holmfirth Harriers’ Mark Buckingham and Ribble Valley’s Michael Cayton. When they met me on their return (and my outward) journey Cayton was just ahead of Buckiningham. Buckingham, however, bore that look of steely determination on his face. Determination paid off as Buckingham went on to win the race by a clear margin, approximately 3 miles later (40.31), from Cayton, 2nd, (40.44) and Rossendale Harriers’ Sam Tosh, 3rd, (41.56). The ladies race was just as hard fought with Dark Peak’s Hatti Archer gaining a clear lead over nearest rival Ribble Valley’s Nichola Jackson. Archer maintained her lead to win in 46.19 mins, finishing 13th overall and breaking Mary Wilkinson’s 2010 record (46.33). Jackson romped home in 2nd place, just under a minute later (47.05), ahead of Leeds City’s Sarah Hodgson, 3rd (50.20).
Nidd Valley’s Alex Robinson returned to improve on his 2018 3rd placed U21 position, to win the title (46.46) from City of York’s James Tucker (50.23) and Daniel Batty, 3rd (54.41).
Winner of the 2018 U21 ladies title, East Cheshire’s Lily McGuinness, returned to reclaim the title in 2019 (55.19), from Ilkley Harriers’ Nea Weston (71.12).
Men’s veteran 40 category winner was North Derbyshire’s Martin Dawson (45.30), from Saltaire Striders’ Will Kerr (46.14) and Keighley and Craven’s Chris Loftus, 3rd (47.03). Keighley’s Hinda Hardaker won the ladies V40 category (51.39), ahead of Ilkley Harriers’ Kate Archer (54.31) and Bingley Harriers’ Ruth Thackeray (58.06).
Ilkley’s Jeff Green took the MV50 title (50.33), from Horwich Harriers’ Mark Walsh (50.48) and St Theresa’s Dave Parker (51.09). Harrogate Harriers’ Helen Price won the LV50 title (61.49) just ahead of Wendy Jones, 2nd, (61.56) and Skipton’s Jayne Butterworth, 3rd, (63.15).
1st MV60 was Preston Harriers’ Colin Shuttleworth (55.46), from 2nd placed Rossendale’s Thornton Taylor (55.58) and Leeds Bradford Triathlon’s James Cunningham, 3rd, (57.23). West Hull Ladies Amanda Dean won the LV60 title (65.51), a mere 3 seconds in front of 2nd placed Wharfedale’s Caroline Glover (65.54), and 3rd placed Stainland Lions Aileen Baldwin (69.34) who still holds the LV60 record (62.44).
Rossendale’s seasoned Ken Taylor took the MV70 title (63.33), form Calder Valley’s Dick Spendlove (68.38) and Bingley’s Bruce Duncan, 3rd, (74.50). Baildon Runners’ Jackie Walters won the LV70 title (93.55).
All link hands now:
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.