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Great Mis Tor race report

Gutsy running gives great times

A great start to the Dartmoor Series on Saturday am Mar23rd at Princetown. With kind permission of the brewery we organised the race out of the back of a car- which given the weather was just as well. The conditions were raw with a basic 5deg further chilled by 35-40 knot head wind for the outward leg.

A small but talented field of 40 runners set off at 10am prompt, with kit, straight up North Hessary, already two small groups of 5 were breaking clear at the top with no need to yomp. Thankfully although blowing hard the rain /hail held off for most of the course. The leading packs making short work of the drop to Hollow tor and then up to Little mis. All runners made the cut off time at Little mis. Careful footwork by leading pack now Parkinson, Roberts and Deller puling away from the following pair.

Big ascent

The big climb from the weir head on the Walkham probably made a huge impact on times and positions, the leader Jamie Parkinson pulling away from Luke and Sam. Further down the field, skipping across clitter was costing more time and maintaining pace up to the lookout really challenging (+220m). The marshal at the lookout and dog Ozzy enduring a real battering from the wind was relieved to see last runner and sweeper through.

Descent with following wind

The times for all runners back was remarkable with 3 ascents done, a helpful push on the back of 35 knots was greatly appreciated, down to the road and sweeping them up to Hollow tor and onwards to North Hessary. At last a final short descent , which apparently was very hard to stay on your feet.

Super congrats to winner Jamie Parkinson in an incredible time of 49mins 25sec with both chasing runners in the next 2 mins. First U21 a brilliant 57 mins from James Palmer who had travelled all the way from Somerset to compete. First lady Elizabeth Dyson a very respectable 64mins 7sec. First team, goes to Tavistock Ac but chased hard by a strong ORC team.


Great banter at the end with most runners staying to clap in the last runner and sweep. Banana fuelled recovery for all. Really great to listen to the comparisons on lines taken, where they had gained or lost position, niggles gained, mini rivalries won and lost. A pretty unanimous appreciation of the course which on map looked simple but had 4 nice but different climbs. A good selection race for Devon intercounties candidates who will be competing in Keswick on April 21st.

A super thank you to all involved runners, spectators and of course our marshals who may have needed thawing out.

Full results are available here

Load of photos from our Marshals in our newsfeed.

Brilliant thank you all

See you on the Hills

Richard Best and Tim Mockford

Important News For Juniors

Calling all junior fell racers!

The UK Fell Running Championships is on the 9th June in Rossendale.

It would be great if we can get teams for this event . U13 and above have an opportunity to represent the county in this big event . We would love to have county teams in all age groups for girls and boys. So, if you are interested in running at Rossendale please get in touch with Hayley. And that applies even if you cannot run at Meldon as the entries are already open .

Meldon race information can be found at this link.

Summer Race Series getting closer

Some interesting facts

So the series is nearly upon us but we thought you may be interested in some interesting facts about what it takes to ‘put on’ and ‘do’. We are pleased to have the support of a bunch of organisers and clubs that bring the series alive plus the army of marshals.

Last year we had over 500 senior runners compete.


9 out of 12 races will have junior races to build on the huge success of last year with over 65 juniors competing. Lots of local success and many travelled to Intercounties and English schools. Distances range from 2k and 4k for the younger age groups, to 7k and 10k for the older juniors.

What if?

In total if you did every senior race you would complete 110k of running with 4252 metres of height gain. To put that into context from sea level that would be higher than climbing MT Toubkal in Atlas mountains – the highest peak in North Africa. Or if you left Lukla airport ( Nepal) it would take 89k of trekking to get to Sagarmatha (Everest) base camp climbing only 2504m. So you are going 20k further and 1800m higher ! ( oh for those that cannot follow routes you may go a little further…erhmm.)

Sunny Yes tor - when i could still run up hills

Sagarmatha Base Camp, Nepal, Himalayas

How competitive?

We are very fortunate to have had GB standard, fell, trail and orienteers compete in the series. So if you are looking to push yourselves you may be rubbing shoulders with some talented runners. We also have a good club runner following but we would say the majority are keen to be outdoors running on great courses enjoying the camaraderie with friends.

First timers

Do not be afraid to take on courses as a beginner but take some sensible precautions, be able to run/jog the distance, wear good footwear, take some simple personal safety kit and if you can get a little of map reading in- it helps. You will enjoy choosing your running lines or just running with the pack. The courses are challenging but most courses are between 7 k and 12k so for most that means 45 mins to 1hr 40 mins of running. All the organisers are very approachable and helpful and you will find fellow runners helpful too. Most races have online entry, which also describe the route and what kit you need and are normally live about a month before the race – or more.

First up- Great Mis tor loop

We are starting the summer series in early as we need to select Devon teams for the intercounties. It is also a series and open race so do not be daunted. For the competitive if you are a Devon club runner we are looking for a male and female senior team to race in Keswick in April. Come and build on our tremendous county -the first race is Saturday morning March the 23rd from Princetown. Website live by 10th Feb.

See you on the hills

Richard , Tim and Colin

Update Dartmoor Fell Series

Ready to go

The ground may be mush, well’ crusty with frost mush’ for the next few days but the series is nearly ready to go. There are a couple of date changes which are important to note- but the main 12 races are the same. The first series race will now be a month earlier as the Senior Intercounties is much earlier than expected and it is a selection race.

Winter pairs race – next year!

We are unfortunately not able to host three winter races, there are too many races in the calendar/ and i have run out of weekends!

Apologies the previously mentioned January 28th race will not go ahead. we will get ourselves sorted for next year.

Series date changes

Race 1. Devon AA Champs Course – Venue Princetown Sat March 23rd RO Richard Best- this is a seniors only counts as series race and Devon AA team selection (min age 18)

Note April 21st is Seniors Intercounties in Keswick
Race 2 Meldon May 18th RO ORC (J)
Note we hope this will be junior intercounties selection and Devon junior champs
Race 3 Langstone May 25th RO TRP (J)
Race 4 Buckland bounder 8th June
Race 5 Burrator Horseshoe Sat 15th June  (J)
Race 6 Solstice – Merrivale Weds 19th June (J)
Race 7 July 7th Cosdon RO ORC (J)
Race 8 Haytor Heller Sat 20th July RO Teignbridge trotters
Race 9 Postbridge Pootle Weds 24th July – this year maybe with visibility? (J)
Race 10 Ivybridge 3Tops Wed 7th Aug RO Erme Valley Harriers (J)
Race 11 Gt links tor flyer wed 21 Aug  (J)

Race 12 East mill tor loop sat 21st Sept joint ORC/SWF (J) and series finale and presentations.

See you on the hills

Richard Best

Dartmoor Fell Series dates for 2024 are out!

‘pushing hard’ Joe Lane ORC photo Clare Capper

Just to get your race diaries for 2024, full, check out these important dates . note if has a (J) there will be junior races. So for its fourth year we bring you…

Series dates

Race 1. Devon AA Champs Course – Venue Princetown Sat April 20th RO Richard Best- this is a seniors only counts as series race and Devon AA team selection (min age 18)
Race 2 Meldon May 18th RO ORC (J)
Note May19th is senior intercounties….
Race 3 Langstone May 25th RO TRP (J)
Race 4 Buckland bounder 8th June
Race 5 Burrator Horseshoe Sat 15th June  (J)
Race 6 Solstice – Merrivale Weds 19th June (J)
Race 7 July 7th Cosdon RO ORC (J)
Race 8 Haytor Heller Sat 20th July RO Teignbridge trotters
Race 9 Postbridge Pootle Weds 24th July – this year maybe with visibility? (J)
Race 10 Ivybridge 3Tops Wed 7th Aug RO Erme Valley Harriers (J)
Race 11 Gt links tor flyer wed 21 Aug  (J)

Race 12 East mill tor loop sat 21st Sept joint ORC/SWF (J) and series finale and presentations.

Series structure

For juniors best 6 from 9 races. ( what a brilliant year our juniors had in 2023)
For seniors best 8 from 12 races. All Vet categories will be calculated from first race of season 20th April ( so you stay in that category for all races). More detail will appear before the new year, including a Facebook group for keen marshals- yes the vital ingredient that makes every race happen.   Still hoping for a couple of winter races ( more low key) and details will appear soon – smaller and requiring pairs ( of runners with kit) and will be longer with navigation.

Other race changes

Note that Okehampton running club ORC also host 2 other races in their own club series Oke Croak and the Sourton Scramble, which is to have a new course this year and may in be in series for 2025 – it will be interesting to see new course that ORC has planned.

Keeping it real

We aim to keep series affordable, simple and with the friendliness of the running community spirit at its centre. We also want to make sure we are sustainable and will make very effort to eliminate waste and encourage lift sharing. But we also want to keep it safe , this may mean a bit more ‘marking’ on juniors but minimal or no marking on seniors ( yes its actually safer if you know where you are going) – so please start looking at those maps.

Please enjoy the festive season and get out to enjoy our wonderful South West.

See you on the hills

Richard Best

Series winner Ceri Rees
Series winner Charlotte Walker
Tom Perry on way to earn a GB vest

Ivybridge Three Tops – Race Report

Firstly huge thanks to Chris and Becky Prall, and the rest of the team at Erme Valley Harriers for putting on the Ivybridge Three Tops. Setting up fell races requires a lot of paperwork and diplomacy, especially when it comes to land permissions, and Chris and team had done an excellent job. Plus a personal thanks for timing it themselves, which meant I could run.

A tight start diagonally on the lower slopes of Western Beacon meant a bit of jostling for position on the start line in case overtaking opportunities were limited later on, however the track is easily wide enough that such worries were unfounded. The climb up to the top of Western Beacon is best viewed as a taste of things to come, however I quite enjoyed pushing myself up it (whilst occasionally hanging back to do the sensible thing and save a bit of energy). I can do uphills, but I am pants at descending and knew as soon as we got over the top of Western Beacon the majority of those behind me would fly past.

The descent off Western Beacon was quick, marked well but loose enough to allow some self selection of lines across the moor. The terrain suitably varied with a combination of smooth grass, rocks and gorse / bracken making line choice more important. Straight over the rocks or round to the side on the grass?

Another control point followed by a climb back up Weatherdon Hill leading to the Puffing Billy track – normally a point of drudgery to me when I am out by myself. However, in this case myself and another runner had been switching position back and forth for a while (I would pull ahead going uphill, and he would shoot past me downhill) so that kept things interesting. It was also the only chance I had to maintain my position before the inevitable downhill just South of Glasscombe Ball.

This descent is fast paced, again well marked but with a choice of lines with three runners overtaking me and jostling for position between themselves, and me clinging on to the back of the group as best I could. I briefly got ahead by picking a slightly different line which afforded easier running and then, with a quick “thankyou marshal” at Owley Corner it was back up to Ugborough Beacon. I would love to say I ran all the way up, but I didn’t.

The ascent varies in steepness, but is mostly on steep grass with the occasional bit of rock poking through. We were treated to decent weather and view across the South Hams, and the mist could be seen rolling into the valleys near the coast.

After passing the marshal atop Ugborough Beacon, the route continues in an almost direct line across to Western Beacon. This is a quick line, almost entirely smooth grass, minus a stream crossing. Really enjoyable running, and I even managed to overtake someone, an unexpected bonus.

After the final summit at Western Beacon (second visit) the route is all downhill, or is supposed to be. A quick descent, coupled with me being entirely in my own head meant I shot past a marshal and had to climb back up to make the turn – my error corrected by an extra uphill to put me back on track. Through the gate and onto a stoney track, the sudden change in terrain requires a bit of concentration before the tarmac run in to the running club for water and flapjack.

Thankyou again to Chris and the team. Especially to all the marshals who stood out on the moor providing invaluable directions.

Junior Intercounties Devon team success

Report from David Lewis who supported our Devon juniors at Shropshire and did a fine job as Team Manager . All photos with permission.

Devon team in Shropshire

On Saturday 24th June a pioneering group of Devon and Cornwall juniors ran at the Inter-Counties Fell Running Championships in the picturesque Shropshire Hills at Church Stretton. With the team set up thanks to Hayley Ratcliff and Richard Best, it was great to see our young runners putting themselves up against some of the strongest fell runners in the country. With sixteen counties/regions represented and fell running clubs such as Ambleside and Rosendale, there was a real cultural mix of the fell running community present.

Early impact in first races

First off for Devon was Carys Woodhead in the U13 event. In her Bideford AAC light blue vest, she was the fifth girl to finish (15:51) having held second place for much of the 3km race, only overtaken on the final descents. There is a real skill to running down steep hills fast and staying upright!

In the U15 race, Erme Valley Harriers Luke Hayes came a tremendous 4th place in the boys (22:07), with Aiden Spinney of Okehampton AC finishing 32nd (26:58). In the girls event, which ran simultaneously, Elsie Goodspeed from the City of Plymouth AC came 10th (26:20) and Keira Spinney finished 37th (34:53).  All had good runs over the steep and undulating 5km course.

U17 Team Placing

The U17 race, over a tough 6.8km distance, saw Okehampton’s  Luke Stannus of Exeter Harriers finish in 7th place (33:05) looking really at home amongst experienced competition. Torbay’s duo of Harry Kendall and Gwilym Lewis, came 19th (38:58) and 25th (44:21) respectively, giving the U17 boys team a creditable fourth place amongst the counties. In the girls event, over the same distance, Chloe Clarke  from Cornwall AC came 6th (40:29) and Sophie Gilvear came 21st (49:38). Conditions were very hot by this point and with the demanding terrain, four of the starting runners did not finish indicating the degree of challenge for all involved.

Hot hot hot for U19’s

The final race of the day was the U19 over a gruelling 10km distance. Matthew Gilvear of Erme Valley Harriers really showcased Devon talent with an amazing 2nd place (43:14), whilst Tavistock AC’s Charlotte Walker finished in a strong 6th place (55:36) in the Ladies Race.  

Teamwork and experience

Everyone enjoyed the experience, which felt really friendly and supportive in a stunning part of the country.  All runners left Church Stretton keen to have more experiences like this, representing  their county with flying colours, and loving the stunning countryside that they ran through on the day.

The Devon team were placed as follows.

U15F       8th                U15M           7th

U17F       7th                U17M           4th

U19F       7th                U19M           6th 

Sw Fellrunners says

A superb result from all the runners and supporters , a huge journey but am sure ambition has been fuelled and another reminder that Fell running, is alive and well in the SW. Travel support is essential if you want to compete ‘up North’ but hopefully for the families involved a worthwhile trip. Thanks again to Hayley, David and all the parents.

Just a reminder ,that of course, the Dartmoor fell series provides regular junior races through to end of September. We may even be organising some ‘downhill running sesions!

See you on the hills