Along with Sugar Loaf and Skiridd, it's one of the three hills that nestle Abergavenny. The annual fell race is a matter of starting at the bottom, running to the top and running down. Simple traditional fell racing.
So at 2 pm on a mild moist November day a healthy turnout of 100 lined up at Llanfoist, including 6 Croups. 400 yards of steep tarmac thinned out the field, and that was just about the last bit of running. A very narrow dark tunnel took us under the Brecon canal. (Is this unique? Is this the world's only subterranean canal fell race?) Out in the light it got narrow and steep, a good enough reason to avoid overtaking. Woods, a couple of styles and out on to open ground, where it just got steeper and steeper. Many heaved themselves up the steps worn in the earth, others crawled up on all fours. This has to be one of the steepest races out there.
The top was reached suddenly in the mist with a brief flat run. Then it was back down. Delicate steps, slip slide and fall. No fell shoe can stick to 45 degree wet mud. Two wrong turns in the mist and a shoelace tie meant I overtook one runner four times! 24 min up and 10 down, that is for a total of 4 km, an average of 13 minute miles in old money.
Sandwiches and tea in the village hall rounded off a great afternoon.
Well done to Katie Beecher (first lady), Nick and Caroline Dallimore, Mike and Gill Murphy. Also Roy Silver and Matt Townsend for supporting.
Llyn y Fan Fell Race
55 intrepid fell racers turned up for the second race in the South Wales winter fell series - amazing after the gales and squalls of the day before. The bunch set off in blue skies along the track to Llyn y Fan Fach with Bannau Sir Gar towering above, topped with cloud. Leaving the track here they hit the fell, up around the bowl to the ridge proper – awesome sky running if you could see the sky and not the cloud – up to CP1 at Picws Du. From the cairn, the runners followed the ridge to a small descent then a second rise to Fan Foel and CP2. From there, theoretically, there is a steep exciting descent - if you got the right line (though it seems there were various versions taken at this point!) –which brings you down to the hill below racing back to the car park, hopefully avoiding stream gullies and bog to the right and left, the odd unsuspecting rock and a leat.
Three from the club ran:
Position Name Club Time Category Number
26 Howard Owen Les Croupiers 01:00:21 Mu40 175
34 Simon Hazel Les Croupiers 01:04:39 Mo40 174
43 Roy Silver Les Croupiers 01:12:09 Mo50 173
With thanks to Simon Hazel and Richard Self