(56 miles in the glorious Peak District!)
The first full weekend in September

Starts on the first Saturday in September and is organised by the 3rd Hazel Grove Scout Group affiliated to the Long Distance Walkers' Association (LDWA) - Click to enter the Group's site


For the first time in the events 34 year history over 200 people completed the annual 56 and a bit mile slog round the Peak District. From a magnificent entry of 285, the second highest on record, and with only 20 non starters there were 205 finishers in total. This topped the previous record from 1986 when there were 199 finishers. Many congratulations to the 77% of entrants who completed the course and we very much hope that you will return next year to enjoy it all over again. The statistics show that after a few years of shall we say indifferent conditions we finally got a reasonable day and an even better night.
Conditions at the start did not look too promising though with a cool breeze and dark threatening clouds. Six Scouts from Bullock Smithy Explorer Unit got things underway at midday in the traditional manner in Devonshire Park with a strike of the anvil.
The local paper was on hand to record the event and report on their fundraising achievements in aid of young local boy Harley Slack who has lost all his limbs through meningitis. To date, the six have raised in excess of £800 for this worthy cause and from a personal viewpoint as one of their leaders I am extremely proud of them.
Checkpoint staff at the early controls at Bowstones, Chinley Churn and Edale Cross had to wrap up against the chill wind but the rain that threatened never materialised and as the afternoon and evening wore on the wind abated and breaks in the clouds began to appear. As darkness fell a full moon rose through the clearing skies and head torches became largely superfluous. Non long distance walkers won’t understand, but there is something a bit special about walking at night, in silence, in the middle of nowhere under a full moon. This was one of those special nights.
The silence was shattered though in the normally tranquil village of Earl Sterndale at the 36 mile point where a wedding reception was in full swing in a marquee behind the checkpoint. One of the happy couple was a Texan and so there were several inebriated Americans cavorting in the main street looking aghast at the groups of dishevelled walkers appearing from apparently nowhere. To make matters more interesting there were shared toilet facilities for guests and walkers which made for some interesting acquaintances in the ‘restroom’ queue. With the strains of the disco ringing in their ears the walkers boogied on up to Brand Top for a celebratory hot dog. For some unfortunate walkers the silence was shattered for a second time at about 1am in Wildboarclough when the car rally which we were warned about took an unannounced route along this section of road. We have made strong representations to the rally organisers about this and hope that we will avoid each other in future. The section from Earl Sterndale to Cumberland Cottage is reckoned by most regulars to be the crux of the walk and usually accounts for several abandonments. Not so this year as the moonlight shone brightly through until dawn and most people just kept on boogying back to Hazel Grove.
First back to checkpoint 14 for breakfast was Julian Brown from Macclesfield Harriers who arrived home in 9 hours 40 minutes, 36 minutes ahead of the field to take the Bullock Smithy trophy. This was well deserved by Julian who has finished 2nd on three previous occasions. Last years’ runner-up Paul Rushworth repeated the performance with a new ‘PB’ of 10:16 whilst Steve Temple finished 3rd in 10:23. Steve runs the most amazing Bullock Smithy results website with every entrant and possible statistic in the history of the event at your fingertips see our 'Results' page. Thanks for all your work Steve.
This year was all about the ladies though with Sarah Lomas and Sally Keigher sharing the Chinley Trophy and breaking the ladies record by 25 minutes in 11 hours 27minutes to finish joint fourth overall, the highest female placing on record. Well done girls. Commiserations though to last years ladies winner Nicky Spinks who came in 4 minutes after Sarah and Sally but went astray in Higher Poynton after being 20 minutes ahead at Whitely Green. How long before we have a female winner of the Bullock Smithy trophy?
In the Scouts event Chris Thakerey and Gavin Oliver from Triple X Explorer Unit part of 1st Nailsea Scout Group near Bristol were joint winners of the Shining Tor trophy completing the course in 19 hours exactly. In the team event the host groups Bullock Smithy Explorer Unit comprising Sam Humphrey, Robert Massey and Megan Nelson were winners of both the Axe Edge and Bullock Smithy shields. Megan finished the event in 19hours 36minutes then nipped back home to do her paper round before coming back for the prize presentation. And some say the youth of today are going soft. Sam and Rob were also joint winners of both the Bullock Smithy Cup and Corfield Farrier as fastest scouts from both the district and group, finishing in 19hours 22mins.
The Windgather trophy for fastest team overall once again went to Macclesfield Harriers with first and second Julian Brown and Paul Rushworth supported by Stephen Watts (11hours 41mins). Last year Steve took his 12 year old daughter Stephanie round the course in under 15 hours so this year it was 15 years old Alistair’s turn.
My thanks to everybody who helped with the running of this years’ record breaking event in whatever capacity. Thanks to the land and property owners that enable us to get some varied and interesting checkpoint headquarters and to Hazel Grove High School for the use of their minibus.
Finally, my thanks to all the entrants and especially to those who took time to either write or email comments in the days afterwards about how much they enjoyed the event and the universal praise for our fantastic checkpoint staff. Your comments make all the hard work worthwhile.

Next years’ event will be on 4th/5th September 2010, don’t forget your dancing shoes.
Steve Holt