Long Tour of Bradwell report

After relentless trudging around the UK Lakes, I decided to take advantage of a very wet Thursday to take the train down to the nearly-as-beautiful Derbyshire Peak District; an area close to where I grew up and with very fond memories of camping and hiking going back some 48 years!  I got to meet up with some old friends at the Totley Tigers running club on their regular Thursday night training run, but the main motivation was to do the "Long Tour of Bradwell" on Saturday Aug 6th.  This is a 33 mile fell run (though with a fair bit of trail thrown in) with 6300 foot net ascent. Conditions were pretty good with low temperatures (~14C) and only a modest amount of rain.  The first half of the course contains most of the big climbs, going up and down the sides of the Castleton and Edale valleys that drain to the East of the Pennines. The latter half is flatter with spectacular views as one runs along the trails atop Stannage Edge and down the East side of the Burbidge Brook valley.  As with many races here, navigation is fairly challenging – with little or no course marking – but I was very familiar with most of the course and was able to team up with a couple of local lads for the last 10 miles or so which was fairly unknown to me.  Six eyes and map, instructions and GPS kept us pretty much on track with only a few stops for head scratching. It used to be that runners would be issued with a map and a card at the start of these eventss, along with a list of map references for the "clip points" where you would punch holes in your card coded by the pattern at each control point. Nowadays they have gone high-tech with electronic "dibbers" that you push into boxes at the check-points and which, at the end of the round, contain info on your spits, which is pretty neat.  As in the old days, however, finding the check points can be tricky and quite a few ended up missing one or two check points resulting in disqualification. About 100 runners turned out in all, mostly local folks, and I managed to finish 16th (4th in the over 50 division) with a time of 6h17m.  Nick K.

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