(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


The Olympic honeymoon enticed the highest entry since 1985 into taking on the challenge that is the Bullock Smithy. Of the 332 entered, 280 gathered in Devonshire Park to face the starting anvil. As always a whole cross-section of population from politicians to pensioners with ages ranging from 14 to 77 were assembled. The anvil was struck at midday by a quartet of Scout Leaders from 3rd Hazel Grove Scout Group, Paul and Gill Barlow, Angela Massey and Chris Jarvis who have successfully completed their Leader training this year. Runners and walkers were soon dispersed from all available exits from the park in the general direction of checkpoint 1 at Bowstones under a warm but still largely overcast sky.
After the second wettest Summer for 100 years the forecast was good, perhaps too good for quite a number of people. As the afternoon wore on the sun shone, the temperature rose dramatically and the Peak District revealed itself in its true glory – if you could appreciate it through the sweat that is. It was hot work up to Chinley Churn and Edale Cross as I am sure you found out and some of the early pacesetters paid the price for their haste with dehydration and nausea later. By way of compensation the frontrunners were rewarded with a free display by The Red Arrows over Chatsworth in the late afternoon sunshine.
For those who had held a bit back in reserve the evening conditions were perfect and although the almost full moon didn’t quite materialize there was enough to give some navigational assistance. The crazy cows from Earl Sterndale alarmed some walkers or maybe it should be the other way round but the dogs near Booths Farm en route to Brand Top were reportedly quieter this year - maybe the heat had got to them too. As the night wore on those still out around Cumberland Cottage in the early hours had an hour or so of refreshing light drizzle but nothing too serious for this part of the world and as dawn broke the sun of the previous day became a distant memory. Of the 280, 189 made it back along the interminably long last leg down the tunnel of darkness that is Middlewood Way and to checkpoint 14 and the bright lights of Hazel Grove. Congratulations to everybody who completed the course no matter what the time. To the five who refused to be beaten and staggered in after the 24 hours had elapsed I only wish there had been more people around to clap you home if only to witness true suffering and willpower. In the 40th Anniversary year of the Long Distance Walkers Association it was fitting that certificates and prizes were presented by John Feist who served on the LDWA National Committee for several years and did a tremendous amount of work together with John Corfield in the early days of the Bullock Smithy. In 2000 when the last 20 miles of the route was revised John walked round the whole route with a measuring wheel just to check the distance.
For the runners, experience won the day with our local Euro MP for the North West, Chris Davies of Saddleworth Runners Club joining forces with Robin Houghton of Winchester and District Athletic Club to complete the course in 9hrs 43mins to jointly win the Bullock Smithy trophy. It should come as no surprise to find a liberal forming a coalition! Chris has completed the ‘Bullock’ 6 times before always finishing in the top 6 and with amazingly consistent times. For Robin it was a maiden voyage and apparently a warm-down event from his victory the previous weekend in the 85 mile Ridgeway Challenge. I’m tired just thinking about it. Well done chaps. Julie Gardener was fastest lady home and 12th overall in 11 hrs 21mins to take the Chinley Trophy for a second time after her victory in 2005. Normal service was resumed in the team event with Macclesfield Harriers taking the honours in an aggregate time of 32hrs 20mins. Regulars Paul Rushworth and Julian Brown were joined by Mike Nelson to take the Windgather trophy which had been on loan to Stockport Harriers last year. In the Scout awards congratulations to members of Marple Network Unit Tom Beach and Mark and Ian Ridgway who broke the longstanding Scout team record held by 3rd Gee Cross since 1985 with an aggregate time of 35hrs 48mins to take the Bullock Smithy Shield. By coincidence Tom Buttery who was in that winning Gee Cross team 27 years ago was running the checkpoint up at Edale Cross for us this year along with other Gee Cross members. Thanks very much Tom, sorry about the record, it took some beating though. Mark Ridgway and Tom Beach also jointly broke the individual Scout record for the new route (post 2000) with a splendid time of 11 hours 17minutes. We hope to make a presentation of the trophies to you in the near future. As a postscript we should add that the trophies are now eligible for all members of Scout Network units as we would like to encourage more participation from the Scout movement to compete for these awards in future. My thanks, as always, to the fantastic team who make this iconic event happen. All the checkpoint staff and to everybody who helped in whatever capacity. Special thanks to Jan Gibson who collates the entries, Pete Wood who organizes all the checkpoint food and to Pete Smith who stepped in to run hike control.
If you are one of the many who uttered those words ‘never again’ may I remind you that entries are now open for September 7th/8th 2013 at

Steve Holt

..... and the verdict of the participants.......

"Hi there - just a short email to thank the organisers, marshals and other helpers for another enjoyable hike. The Saturday afternoon ended up hotter than expected, but the rain during the night and in the early hours wasn't that bad, so all in all, rather like last year. The checkpoint attention was excellent, and the meal at the end just what was needed.
With thanks,"
Roger Wilson

"I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in organising the wonderful Bullock Smithy. My first time and I really enjoyed it. There were so many of you who did so much to support us and make it such an enjoyable experience. Everyone was friendly and helpful and I can’t say how much we appreciated those extra touches like filling up water bottles for us!
A truly unique and memorable event. I hope to return!"
Jane O'Hara

"On behalf of my brother and myself (numbers 61 & 62), I’d like to thank the whole team who were involved in yet another superbly organised event. The pre-race admin is incredibly slick, and the marshals and caterers at all the checkpoints all ensure that the entrants have the best time possible. I’d be particularly pleased if you could pass on to those at Castleton, that my brother, who had everyone thinking we were going to have to retire there as he was so dehydrated and ill, recovered amazingly and we actually completed the walk 12 minutes quicker than last year.
Thanks again to you all,"
Paul (and Andrew) Emsley

"I would like to thank everybody for a perfect Bullock Smithy 'as always' ...... special thanks to your marshalls at Brand Top, Cumberland Cottage, Walker's Barn and Whitely Green who stayed on to see I had bananas and orange drink. Without their help I don't think I could have finished and would have let the charity down who was being sponsored (Wales Air Ambulance).....
....What a team!"
Ian Mackie