Shepherd’s Skyline, Lumbutts (nr Tod), 10km / 6.2m, 350m / 1148ft
Late Autumn sunshine and warm Westerly winds provided perfect conditions for the Shepherd’s Skyline Fell Race. A seasoned (i.e. mature) group of Rossendale Harriers lined up among the 234 starters for this fabulous, well organised race.nOnly 10 km with 350m of ascent – a fast moorland route with a steep descent off Stoodley Pike for the “flying squad” immediately followed by a stiff climb back up the hill.
It was a clean sweep for Calder Valley (1st Ben Mounsey; 2nd James Logue; 3rd Alex Whitten). Best placed Rossy was Rick Solman who barely touched the ground to finish 14th in a seemingly effortless 47.55. The incomparable Ken Taylor was first V65 in 57.33 and young Andrew Corbishley first V60 in 59.35.
Andy Preston returned after a long lay-off through injury; cycling 22 miles to the race; finishing 31st in 52.04; before cycling home again – presumably just in time for a few miles open water swimming. Patrick Brennan ran an impressive 50.53 for 26th place and gave a master-class in the art of suicidal downhill speed as he hurtled off Stoodley Pike oblivious to rocks and rutted ground beneath his flying feet. A competitor from Sale Harriers made the schoolboy error of trying to keep pace with Pat only to hit the ground in a tangle of twisted limbs and an ignominious DNF.
Scott Hitchen ran a determined, well judged race, reining in Patrick and Jon Tinman on the tough, final climb to finish in 50.31 for 24th place (2nd V40). Michael Toman was able to run without the distraction of Dave Bradley at his heels to 75th in 57.09 and Dave Murphy came back in 57.28 for 82nd. David Greenwood completed the Rossy contingent in 71.42.
Next year is the 30th Shepherd’s Skyline race. No doubt our friends at Tod Harriers will be extending legendary Yorkshire generosity with commemorative race t-shirts and other goodies. Don’t miss it – this is a great race with a pub at the finish. What more do you want?