Up hill and down dale for fell runners at festival

PIC: Tony Johnson
PIC: Tony Johnson
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The scenery is breathtaking and for these competitors of the Kilnsey Show fell run, that was true in more ways than one, as they scramble hand over fist along what is regarded as one of the toughest fell runs in the country.

But there was no time to stop and admire their surroundings for runners in the annual Crag Fell Race.

The slope is so steep that even the trees growing there appear to be leaning back.

Our picture was taken on August 30, with our photographer perched precariously about half way up the fell, a journey which had to be undertaken with great care, laden as he was with multiple lens bags and various other bits of kit. As the first of the competitors approached, the loose stones on the escarpment began to tumble down, making it even harder for those following.

Runners begin in the village, then have to ford a stream, climb a stone wall, make their way through a thicket of trees, before scaling the slope, thereafter making their way along its ridge, before descending at a pace which would no doubt frighten most. Members of Grassington Mountain Rescue are on hand in case of mishaps along the punishing 1.2 mile course.

On the day, the winner completed the distance in just under eight minutes.

The festival itself first took place 1897, (Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year). It takes place annually on the Tuesday following the August Bank Holiday Monday. Some say it is the best place to see the working face of the Dales.

Staged in the shadow of the imposing Kilnsey Crag, the show has become one of the country’s largest agricultural exhibitions, showcasing the breeding and rearing of livestock, together with other rural industries.

Entrants to the agricultural show compete for over £7,000 worth of prize money, with more than 80 trophies to be won on the day. The festival promotes the rural way of life and includes cookery classes, a food hall and arts and crafts sessions.

Technical details: Nikon D3s, 12-24mm lens. Shutter speed: 640th Aperture: @f8 500ISO