(56 miles in the glorious Peak District!)
|Probably not since Michael Fish in 1987 has a weather forecast been so spectacularly wrong but this time for all the right reasons.
The omens didn’t look good right up until the start of the event with a forecast of heavy thundery showers and overcast skies.
In the event, waterproofs went largely unused as clouds parted during the late afternoon and walkers were rewarded with one of the most spectacular moonless starlit nights in the history of the event.
The near perfect conditions accounted for the highest completion rate since 1989. Of the 249 starters who set forth from Devonshire Park at midday 78% made it back to tell the tale.
Robina Shah the newly installed Scout District Commissioner for Hazel Grove and Bramhall was called upon to perform her first public engagement by striking the customary anvil to get the hike underway at noon.
Some were caught in a short 5 minute cloudburst in the early afternoon but soon patches of blue sky started to emerge until by late afternoon there was barely a cloud in the sky.
||As darkness fell so did the temperatures, in fact in the early hours up on the tops it dropped to 2 degrees in places and there was even mention of ice on some of the stiles in the early hours of the morning. What most people mentioned though was the spectacular night sky – ‘Like walking into the Milky Way’ was the best description that I heard. At the front of the event the speed merchants weren’t too concerned with astronomy though as course record holder James Scott-Buccleuch representing Stockport Harriers, who had stated his intent to go for the record, was not having things all his own way as Charlie Sharpe was in hot pursuit. A combination of grit and determination and advanced course reconnaissance saw James home by a slender 9 minutes in 9 hours 14m to take the Bullock Smithy trophy for a second time, although he ran in darkness for much of the last leg down Middlewood Way just in case Charlie could see his head torch. However, it transpired that Charlie was just saving himself for a 33 mile event the following day!|
|First lady home to take the Chinley Trophy was Hazel Winder from Macclesfield Harriers in a time of 12 hours 43m. In the team event a strong contingent from Stockport Harriers supported James to take the Windgather Trophy. Neil Thompson and Stephen Jones who both finished in 10 hours 9m were the two team counters. In the Scout awards congratulations to Bernard Corfe from 1st Great Moor on winning the Shining Tor Trophy in a time of 15 hours 53m. Locally, the fastest Scout participant from Hazel Grove to win the Bullock Smithy Cup was Ruth Sykes from our great rivals at 1st Hazel Grove and Myrmidon Explorer Scout Unit in a time of 20 hours 37m.||
||Ashby Nelson from Bullock Smithy Explorer Scout Unit finished a few minutes later in 20 hours 55m to take the Corfield Farrier for the fastest participant from 3rd Hazel Grove. Sadly there no teams eligible for the other two scout trophies. The awards and certificates for all finishers were presented by Brian Adshead who this year retired as a warranted leader with Scouts after serving both 2nd and 3rd Hazel Grove Scouts with distinction for more than 40 years. Regarding the Bullock Smithy, Brian has run the checkpoint at Brand Top and previously when it was decrepit bus shelter at Axe Edge every year since 1976, except when he walked it in 1991. He is normally in bed when this presentation happens. Congratulations to all finishers no matter what the time. We hope you are just starting to enjoy it and thinking about next year. The amazing conditions certainly made it quite a memorable one this time round.|
Finally my thanks to the brilliant team of people who make this event so unique namely all the checkpoint staff and to everybody else who helped in whatever capacity. Special thanks to Jan Gibson who collates the entries, Pete Wood who organizes all the checkpoint food, Pete Smith who ran the hike control from 7am Saturday through to the last finisher and Andy Whitehead who collates the results. Lastly to John Corfield who founded the whole barmy thing!
"Firstly, and most importantly, please may I congratulate you and your colleagues on this unique and historic event. The organisation and hospitality I and my friends received from the start, through every checkpoint to the finish (including a fine breakfast) was only superb. Please pass on my sincere thanks and you should all be very proud. I will end up raising circa £700 for East Cheshire Hospice! "
"Just a quick note to say thanks for organising the walk. Really tough challenge that we will be back next year to do it all over again!
Cheers and thanks again"
"Hi - just a short email to thank the organisers, marshals and all other helpers for another enjoyable (when the aches and pains have eased) hike. Although there was a threat of rain, I never felt any, so the weather was just about perfect. The checkpoint attention was excellent, and the meal at the end was just what was needed. With thanks "