Pendle Cloughs Fell Race

Sunday 4th June 2017 at 11.00am. ‘AL’ 14 miles / 4100ft.

Records: Men – Tom Brunt 2.04.20 (2012). Ladies – Jean Brown 2.31.00 (2013). Results from previous years. Results for this year’s race will be published here.

Registration is in the tourist information buildings in the centre of Downham village, with car parking 200m up the hill at the Village Hall (BB7 2BR).

Entry is ‘on the day’ and is open to 18’s and over. The entry fee of £6 includes a donation to the village for the use of facilities.

This is an ‘AL’ category race and full FRA mandatory kit is required to be carried. Kit must be brought to registration for checking. NO KIT – NO RUN. Runners without kit at the finish will be disqualified.

The Route

The approach to CP3 in the 2016 race.

The approach to CP1 in the 2016 race.

Starting from the picturesque village of Downham the challenging route is flagged across fields to the fell. Once on the open fell runners can choose their own route to the nine checkpoints which they must visit in order. In doing so they will run through seven of Pendle’s Cloughs: Burst Clough, Mearley Clough, Ogden Clough (twice), Deep Clough, Churn Clough, Ashendean Clough and Boar Clough.

The route covers sections of Pendle that are seldom visited. Runners need to use their navigational skills / local knowledge over some of the high, rough and in places trackless moorland terrain, with steep ascents and descents, including loose stones, mud, peat and rough grass / dead bracken. The crossing of Deep Clough beyond CP4 involves a traverse of steep and loose shale which can be avoided by ascending directly up from CP4 and across the top of the clough by Deep Clough spring.

Martin Brady approaching the checkpoint at the bottom of Pendle's Big End in the 2016 race.

Martin Brady approaching the checkpoint at the bottom of Pendle’s Big End in the 2016 race.

After navigating round the hill for 12 miles the final two miles gives runners a chance to really ‘let go’ as it’s all downhill to the finish!

Overall, the position of the checkpoints offers some interesting route choices and certainly forms much of the discussion in the pub afterwards!

A map showing checkpoints and grid references and cut off times, to a scale of 1:25000, will be provided at registration and can be viewed / printed below.

Start Downham Village SD785440
CP1 Stream crossing, bottom of Mearley Clough SD783411
CP2 Boundary stone SD787404
CP3 South side of wall corner, bottom of Big End SD809418 Manned. Closes at 1225 hrs
CP4 Knoll, north side of Deep Clough SD806405
CP5 Between track walls, Stainscomb SD796384 Manned
CP6 Knoll, bottom of Ashendean Clough SD777396 Manned. Closes at 1415 hrs
CP7 Top Pendle Way stone marker, Boar Clough SD798398
CP8 Robin Hood or Foxes Well SD804420
CP9 Road crossing SD798432 Manned

Walls or fences must not be climbed, but crossed at appropriate points. Do not cross private land or the out of bounds area on Downham Moor as shown on the map. 

Pendle Cloughs map

History

The race was inaugurated in 2008 by Andy Hirst of (then) Wharfedale Harriers. The route was designed to take in parts of the routes of two defunct fell races: the Downham Fell race from Downham; and the Five Cloughs Fell Race from Sabden.

The first race attracted just 44 runners, including no less than 21 from Clayton-le-Moors Harriers. It was won by Alan Life of Clayton in a time of 2.34.28 and first lady back was Clayton’s Barbara Savage in 24th place and taking 3.36.38.

The race has always been fairly low key and has not attracted too many runners, but as the course became more familiar to some runners it was Tom Brunt in 2012 (then of Holmfirth Harriers) who brought the winning time down to the current record of 2.04.20. Jean Brown (Clayton-le-Moors) holds the current ladies’ record of 2.31.00 in 2013.

After nine years Andy Hirst has passed the responsibility of organising the race to Mark Nutter of Clayton-le-Moors Harriers. Mark’s aim is to ensure the race is a success in the future by increasing competitor numbers whilst working closely with the Downham Estate to ensure there is minimum impact on the village and surroundings.