TYPICAL Yorkshire Autumnal weather of rain and low cloud sorted the hardy from the soft at this year’s Yorkshire Junior Fell Running Championship races to be run over varying ascents of Gt Whernside.

One parent described the setting as idyllic even in the mist and indeed it is, if rugged.

All races commence in the field at the top of Scabbate Gate and are accompanied by the babbling of Dowber Gill Beck. Do not be fooled as all races set off up a steep incline accepted by all to be brutal.

For the shorter races the incline never really relents but does become less steep in parts as younger runners battle their way to their turn points before the mad dash down to the finish line. For older runners, the course makes its way to the wedding venue and Scout bunk barn at Hag Dyke. A short, steep climb from here leads to some deceptive and ever changing “man eating” bogs that trap and challenge even the most experienced fell runners. There is, allegedly, a relatively dry route across these bogs but that route changes with the weather. On the day, low cloud and swirling mist made the traverse of these peaty bogs more challenging with even the best of racers returning covered in a healthy dose of Wharfedale peat! From the bogs, older juniors and senior runners now commence the final climb to the trig point and summit, atop a rocky outcrop that resembles a moonscape.

After rounding the trig, contenders can return to the bogs via any route off the top. Some go over the rocks and down the steep, tussocky bank, while others use the paved and stepped path favoured by walkers.

After negotiating the bogs for a second time, it is now a long, exhilarating charge to the finish funnel over grass covered trods and well grazed moorland. While the ascent is described as tough, the descent is described variously as “fantastic” and a proper “eyeballs out” fell race descent.

With Yorkshire titles on offer, all runners were revved up and ready to go when instructed.

The youngest runners were first to line up for their challenge with Yorkshire lad, Settle Harriers’ Calum McGoldrick, taking the boys’ title (3.59) from Staffordshire Moorland’s Huw Davies, 2nd, (4.02) and Keighley and Craven’s Sebastian Chambers 3rd (4.25). The girls’ title went to Calder Valley’s Isabel Symington (4.20) from Spenborough’s Becky Atkinson, 2nd, (6.19).

The U11 race was slightly more challenging with the Yorkshire boys’ title going to Keighley’s Jacob O’Sullivan (6.38) from Wharfedale Harriers’ Isaac Reeday, 2nd, (6.58) and Calder Valley’s Mani Kaler, 3rd (7.12). The Yorkshire girls’ title went to Skipton’s Alice White (6.51) from Wharfedale’s Sophie Brady, 2nd (7.46) and Settle’s Mia McGoldrick, 3rd, (8.13).

Keighley’s Zac Jardine took the U13 title (9.27) from Barlick’s Will Pease, 2nd, (9.40) and Calder Valley’s Joseph Stone, 3rd, (9.48). The girls’ race witnessed a battle royal between two excellent junior runners in the form of Bingley Harriers’ Isabelle Jebb and Keighley’s Annie Chambers. There were varying gaps between the two runners as the race progressed but in the end, Jebb just kept Chambers off to win and take the Yorkshire title (11.36) from Chambers, 2nd, (11.37) and Spenborough’s Imogen Atkinson 3rd, (12.44).

Settle’s Jack Sanderson added another trophy to his already crowded cabinet to comprehensively win the U15 race (13.42) from Otley’s Ned Gallagher-Thompson, 2nd, (14.13) and Helm Hill’s Noah Wadsworth, 3rd, (14.15). In the girls’ race, Keighley duo, Maisie Bellwood and Charlotte Chambers took gold (15.24) and silver (17.05) respectively, from Wharfedale’s Olivia Aldham, 3rd, (17.59)

The U17 race ventured beyond Hag Dyke with the dubious treat of a short section of the legendary bogs. However, the runners all looked as though they had enjoyed the experience with Keighley’s Will Hall taking the Yorkshire title (20.38) from Settle’s Dougie Seggar-Staveley, 2nd, (22.12) and Ilkley’s Archie Budding, 3rd, (23.07). The girls’ title went to Harrogate Harriers’ Eve Whitaker (23.33) from the ever cheerful Ilkley’s Emily Gibbins (24.22).

The U19 runners had the delight of not only the mist coated bogs but the climb to the summit, along with the seniors. Undeterred, Keighley’s Eric Beaumont stormed home to win gold and the Yorkshire title (34.01) from Otley’s Jenson Brogden, 2nd (35.58) and Halifax Harriers’ Danny Baxter, 3rd, (41.57). Holmfirth Harriers’ Isabel Richardson took the U19 girls Yorkshire title (38.39) from Harrogate’s Alexandra Whitaker, 2nd, (40.28).

Running with the U19s, the seniors had a second chance this season to run the race to the trig and back. The weather this time around was certainly not as favourable as in September but it made the challenge all the more interesting. In the men’s race, Dark Peak’s Nathan Lawson took a bath in the bogs but still romped home to win the race (32.08) over a minute ahead of Baildon Runners’ Michael Malyon, 2nd, (33.11) and Wharfedale’s Sam Watson, 3rd, (33.36).

In the ladies race Staffordshire Moorlands Kate Davies showed her family pedigree by winning the ladies race (42.00) after only deciding the come to Kettlewell rather than Buttermere on the day itself! 2nd and 3rd ladies were Wharfedale’s Jean Powell (44.49) and Bingley’s Lesley Watson (46.44).