While many club members were at Abergele enjoying the the sunshire at the Five-mile Championships a small but exclusive band of Buckleyites were taking on the the Clwydians in this classic "Toughie". The two events always seem to clash.
This event was organised by John Morris and his colleagues for many years before being taken over by NEWSAR (North East Wales Search and Rescue) as a fundraiser and to increase awareness of the work they do. They may not have the high profile of the Ogwen Valley Rescue, but they are highly trained and always ready to go out in the hills to save people who have got into trouble.
About 100 runners including Pete Roberts, Steve Bellis, John Morris and Rob Mackey completed the course (not seen the results yet). The challenging 10 mile route starts and finishes near the Pump House at Cilcain. There is no fixed route but runners are required to navigate between check points using OS Grid References. The route is generally clear on existing tracks but in places is across open heather and runners have to pick there own route; some local experts finding ways to shave a few yards off here and there. Whichever way you go there are four big climbs, the last one, eight miles into the race, is the notorious "Gully" right up to the summit of Moel Famau, followed by a glorious run down to Cilcain.
This is a brilliant event and on an unusually fine November morning was a delight to run after having to contend with snow, rain, wind and low cloud in recent years. But can I ask that anyone who complained about the "hills" at Abergele should come to Cilcain instead next year. Then you can experince real hills.
On a dissapointing (worrying) note a number of runners seemed to have no idea of the route and went astray even in ideal conditions and good visibility. It shows they were not prepared for the hills, lacked navigation skills and put themselves and others at risk. Mountain Rescue is close at hand, but there is no reason to test it.
Posted by Rob