Giggleswick Scar, Woodlands House, a Navigation Event and how it all came together to make a fantastic summer’s evening social for the Settle Harrier Running Club.
When I heard that David Sexton was hoping to host a Settle Harriers event at the Woodlands House in Giggleswick, I had been thinking it was time I set up a course too, so we joined forces and soon found ourselves recceing all the good hidey holes up on Giggleswick Scar. We picked our way up the scar, stopping every now and again to circle a feature on the map and note down a quick description of where we could hide a marker. North east edge of crag, wall corner, gate north of cattle grid and the mysteriously tucked away dew pond which had a few runners puzzled on the night of the event! More about that later!
As we approached the north end of the scar, before you start descending to Feizor, David led me up along a wall and over a gate to see Dead Man’s Cave! I had been wanting to see this cave after reading Stephen Oldfield’s blog about the caves around Feizor (His blog is called A Three Peaks Up and Under – if you ever have a free evening, check it out – you won’t be able to tear yourself away from all the magnificent local journeys Stephen takes you on!). It was thrilling to be at the cave’s impressive entrance and we crouched inside to have a look around, using my mobile phone to light the way right to the back. Hmmm a good place to plant treasure we thought, but a bit far out. We made a note and carried on, running back towards base on the western side of the Scar. Sheepfold – tick, finger post – tick, where else can we put a marker? Aha! Another Cave! Kinsey Cave this time – a short detour up a boulder bank and we were there… David already making plans involving chocolate coins and lanterns! We scrambled carefully up to the highest point on the scar, 330m and marked by a beautiful cairn – another perfect spot for a marker and superb views all around us!
So that was the recce done. All that was needed now was for me to mark up a map using Memory Map (do Harriers know that the club invested in this software, so any of you can use it if you would like to organise your own event in this area!), type up the clues/descriptions for each marker, add some safety rules and timings and send out an email to the club!
We soon had a good number of replies and 19 runners on the night, including four juniors who put on an impressive performance alongside the adult competitors! One mum and daughter team kindly took these wonderful pictures for my blog, and deserve extra points! Thanks Jill and Emily!
“Ok folks, you’ve got two hours to locate as many markers as you can in no particular order. Clues are on the back of your map, as are penalty details if you’re late back. Good luck, off you go!” Starts were staggered over an hour and runners generally paired up, though Team Marshall was a family trio and Tim Jackson was champing at the bit, so we let him go solo. Simon Cane was last to arrive on the scene, so also set off solo and was all set for a leisurely tour, still feeling his legs after his amazing Joss Naylor Challenge on the weekend!
Results were as follows:
- Robin Moore and newest Harrier, Mark Wildsmith cleared the course losing 8 points for being 4 mins late. Score 442.
- Julia Murfin & Louise Wileman – an impressive 420 points in 1hr49mins! Well done ladies!
- Simon Oxley and Laurence Ormerod were third, only 25 points from clearing the course, also 4 mins late, so 417. Simon’s sat-nav photo of their course showed the REAL location of the dew pond, 146m north of where I had drawn it in! I reckon they may have had 440 points if it weren’t for my error, but the top three teams were all very close indeed!
- Judy, Sophie and Thomas Marshall – Thomas was much focused on reaching Kinsey Cave with the promise of treasure! I loved Judy’s comment on Facebook about feeling like she was part of a Famous Five adventure full of caves and scrambles. Well done you three – you were out for bang on 2 hours, not easy to get right, but what an amazing score of 355 too!
- Simon Cane came in with 350 points in only 1hr40! Legs can’t have been that tired after all Simon! Well done!
- David and Clare were also on 350 points, leaving only 1 minute to spare at 1hr59! This sharp-eyed husband and wife team spotted (and thankfully picked up) the two markers that been lost earlier in the day whilst we were out hiding them! 10 extra points for you guys! Thanks to David who offered to help Jill and I clear the markers the following day too!
- Jill Gates and 11-year old Emily, who amazed her mum and me for being out for a massive 2hrs 08, and scoring a brilliant 347 points! It’s the chocolate in the cave that made you slightly late girls! Thanks for all the lovely photos!
- Tim Jackson - Good job you borrowed my watch Tim – you came over the line in 2hrs 03 scoring 329 points! Nice job!
- Annie and Helen arrived 1hr52 minutes after they set off. Well done on scoring 315 girls and I’m sorry you missed the chocolate in the cave – scared of the dark perhaps?
- James and Ruth Maxwell were our third junior& mum team, pulling out all the stops with their sprint finish to make it back in 1hr 59, with 300 points.
So really after the first three places, everyone else’s scores were quite close and all above 300 points! Great achievement, especially our youngsters – it was good to have you with us, and I am sure that one day it’ll be the juniors like you organising events for us oldies to have a stab at in ten years’ time! Well done everyone, and thank you so much for taking part!
As for the social, thanks everyone for arriving laden with goodies, from still warm gooseberry pie with cream (Annie!) to delicious bread and cold meats, spicy homemade dips and chilled beers. It is great that so many turned up – even those who didn’t compete came along to be part of it and it was nice to see you all (Kerry, Sandra, Jill, Edie, Connie and Sharon – thank you for all your help in making the event run smoothly).
David Sexton, you are a host beyond hosts, and Woodlands House is truly magnificent, every nook and cranny of it! Some of us were lucky enough to get a tour of all three storeys and sleeping nineteen people, it is a very unique venue for a group to book, whether it’s to have a holiday in the Dales, or simply to get the wider family together for a special occasion! David’s passion for the building shows in every beautiful piece, from vintage lamps or chandeliers, to perfectly chosen furniture that brings a sense of the past back into the house … some favourites of mine were the dining room table and chairs of banquet hall proportions, a splendid four poster bed, the luxurious Victorian-style bathrooms with their black and white tiled floors, a free standing Victorian bath with an amazing view over the Attermire and Chip, dear Chip who fits right in with the look of the place, the most elegant and gentle canine friend who let me share his favourite sofa for much of the evening whilst I waited for runners to have their fill of sunshine and fun! Thank you David, for providing this stunning venue for the event. If you haven’t yet see it, here’s a link: http://www.thewoodlandshouse.co.uk/
Another link for you - to one of Stephen Oldfield’s tours I enjoyed (including Dead Man’s Cave), but more recently I was taken on an incredible virtual tour of Rowan Pot, complete with several videos so he’s a great guy to follow. I will be one of the first to buy his book when it comes out in August hopefully? http://oldfieldslimestone.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-scars-of-feizor-celtic-wander.html