The POOR weather conditions of the 2015 Coniston Gullies race made an attempted return for 2019.

Variable weather conditions including an unsparing amount of rain ensured a considerable presence of running water, slippery slopes and deep mud to challenge the 72 senior and 131 junior runners braving the mist-shrouded fell.

This race is not for the faint hearted as from the start, the going is steep, although the first part of the ascent is on Herdwick-grazed grass.

The terrain soon changes to an extremely steep boulder and scree fell side.

In many places, it is hand over fist climbing and at all points it is a lung busting, thigh burning climb to the top of Yew Pike, so that reaching the summit an achievement in itself.

Racers are then treated to a relatively flat wander across the fell top before the descent commences.

Whilst it descends via a different route, the clue is in the name of this race – gullies – as runners must now negotiate their way down a narrow steep sided gully that offers a bit of everything underfoot.

It starts with a jump from an outcrop and soon becomes a scree slope.

Just as your feet get used to the unique form of fell skiing, grass emerges to trip you up, requiring a change of technique.

It continues in its technical, ever-changing nature until racers again meet the track and the short sprint to the finish funnel.

The wet conditions underfoot made the descent either doubly exhilarating or doubly treacherous depending on your viewpoint.

In all cases, it was an adrenaline-soaked experience as runners battled to remain upright on the wet, near vertical terrain.

On the grassier parts of the course, remaining upright was a fools’ endeavour, so many simply sledged on their rears on the wet, greasy grass.

Again, fell running lived up to its reputation as a mud-lovers’ sport with many returning covered from head to foot.

Undeterred, the assembled competitors set off and challenged both the conditions and each other over the varied distances of each race.

Ambleside’s Matthew Elkington climbed and slid his way to victory in the senior race (14.17) from Mercia’s Simon Bailey, second (14.26), and Dark Peak’s Rhys Findlay-Robinson, third, (15.29).

The ladies race was won by Helm Hill’s Bianca Dyer (19.49) from Pudsey and Bramley’s Rachel Pilling, second, (19.54) who was hot on her heels all the way.

Newcomer to the senior race, having excelled in the junior ranks, Clayton-le-Moors’ Briony Holt made her presence known by finishing third (21.01).

The under-17 race follows a different route and climbs up Mouldry Bank to Rascal How and back.

Keighley and Craven’s indefatigable Eric Beaumont won the under-17 boys’ race (8.54) from Chesterfield’s Finlay Grant, second, (9.09) and Ambleside’s James Bowen, third (9.18).

The girls’ race was won by Harrogate Harriers’ Alexandra Whitaker (10.55) ahead of Eden Runners’ Amelie Marshall, second, (11.55) and Cumberland’s Emily Swarbrick, third, (12.42).

Wirral’s Alexander Poulston won the under-14 boys’ race (6.25) from clubmate William Sutcliffe, second, (6.46), who was pushed back into fourth place overall by the first two girls.

Third boy was Ambleside’s Jack Dixon (7.13). Girls’ winner, and second overall, was Harrogate Harriers’ Eve Whitaker (6.39), closely followed by Wharfedale Harriers' Amelie Lane in second place and third overall (6.44). Third girl was Ambleside’s Sophie Rylance (7.27).

The fiercest race of all is always the under-12 race. These eager young runners cannot wait to attack the fell and this race was no different with false starts and “line creeping” aplenty.

Once the race got under way, it was a mad dash up the fell side with Barlick’s Jacob Reeday romping home in first place (5.21) followed by Ambleside’s Rowan Ashworth, second, (5.28) and Wharfedale’s Tom Hooper 3rd (5.46).

The girls’ race is no less competitive and Chorley’s Libby Rickerby made a great start to her season by winning (6.14) from Keighley’s Phoebe Midgely (6.14) in a thrilling sprint finish with micro seconds separating them on the finish line. Barlick’s Lucille Pickles finished third (6.27).

In constant rehearsal for the battle of the under-12 category, is the under-9 race with its fair share of little fighters.

Cumberland’s Luca Roberts did battle with the weather and the fell to win (4.24) from Helm Hill’s Jake Smith (4.28) and Barlick’s Isaac Reeday, third (4.33).

The Helm Hill duo of Emmy Ranner and Isla Jebb took first (4.35) and second (4.37) place respectively in the girls’ race, finishing in fourth and fifth place overall. Wharfedale’s Isobel Patefield ran hard all the way to finish a very respectable third girl (5.15) and eighth overall.