Sunday, 6 November 2011

Guy Fawkes 10 - 6th November 2011

If Carlsberg were to create the most scenic 10 miler then it would probably be the Guy Fawkes 10, a circular out and back from Ripley Castle, passing through the beautiful scenery of the Nidd valley just outside Harrogate in the fair Shire.

Today’s was just a stunning example of how a very late Autumnal landscape can look: full of reds, yellows and burnished gold of the pre-leaf fall season ...

Just perfect for a mornings outing where M was looking for yet another goal of a hilly, yet country, 10 miler – and under 1 hour 40.

We sallied forth at 10.30am on yet another cloudless, yet cool, morning however the first mile proved a struggle through being a little congested. A narrow stony track out and up towards the village of Burnt Yates caused the field to take some time to thin out, leaving us behind schedule (no-ones fault, just the normal bumping and jostling but with very restricted room for error). However, once up on the top road then left and down towards the first drinks stop at Birstwith, and with a good downhill pace and rhythm, we're empowered enough to catch up the lost time and even add a little buffer.

Just as well as the ominous sign portended a tough 10 minutes ahead ...

The Birstwith Brute is a steep welcome to mile 5 and goes on …

and on …

But once that's behind us, we sweep out and down towards Tang before turning eastwards and a truly scenic trip back towards the castle courtyard finish at Ripley.

Including houses that you may just fancy living in! ...

Courtesy of Dawn
I had, however, forgotten the Swinecliffe Swine – another tough uphill road stretch of about 500m that has the pack reduced yet again to a walk. Once again, our made up time is lost and we're behind the Garmin virtual runner once again.

I did recall that the turn towards Hampsthwaite affords a smooth long downhill mile and here we claw back the lost time, and even start to pick a few competitors off. Reaching the final water stop abreast the River Nidd, at mile 8 virtually on time, I know there's a nasty little hill climb to Clint before the last dash back so the camera is packed away and we try to run the hill.

Not good: A walk first then a shuffle then a walk and we're behind time again then a run and we part company with our pack with determination: Can we make it?
Cresting the turn and then down Hollybank Lane towards the final wood I urge M forward and incredibly within half a mile we're back on time.

Historically, there has been a section of each race where there has been a tantrum – here it came and the climb through the woodland track was problematic for a full 2 minutes, broken ground, leaf litter, mud .. but, order, and proper breathing, is restored and on realising we weren't going to get picked off by any other runners, I pick up the pace once again. I dare not look at the watch...

We're in!; The last uphill track says 200m to go and then over the stream and round the turn and the crowds applaud.

We leg through the throng and into the castle grounds, breasting the tape @ 1.39.49 – what a result! A terrific effort to pull this one out of the fire – once again, under target.

With the castle courtyard bathed in full sun, and with other runners milling about, we soaked up the atmosphere of another success.

No complaints at all, great race, great route around one of our favourite parts of the country - just to be here on a day like today is enough.

Superbly marshalled and controlled from start to finish, thanks Nidd Valley, it's a real favourite – see you next year.


  1. Y'know I never did get to visit Ripley Castle ... :-(

    Looks like you both had a great day out in summer-like conditions.

    Congrats to "M" on getting within the target time. What's next then ?

  2. Hi Jan,

    It really was a lovely day ... a good blast of a morning. V late Autumn still!!!.

    Michelle is keen to do more "off road" stuff next year :-). Apart from some 10k`s my next biggy should be the Frostbite 50 in January.

    mmm let's see

  3. I love Autumn, some nice photos there, lovely colours at this time of year and what a great setting for a race.

  4. Hi Susie,

    Thanks for the note, the pics don't really do it all justice, a stunning day and super setting. One of only a few events to tempt me back off the trails - really good part of the world for a 10 miles around the lanes!

  5. Mike, sorry to miss this race as it's quite near my house...but had an adventure race already planned. One of these years! Great finish time for sure, those Birstwith hills are killer...

  6. Hi Dawn,

    Funnily enough I was telling Michelle that you and Rob were close by, re-inforced by glancing back over my left shoulder and seeing Menwith golf balls on the horizon! Yes, some testy little road climbs make for an eventful 10 ...