LOCAL fell runners travelled west this weekend for the annual outing at Kirkby Gala in south west Cumbria.

Always popular, the race starts and ends in the gala field and the senior route is a challenging double summit race taking in Out Park and Bank House Moor.

From the off, there is a mad sprint to be first through the narrow stile leaving the gala field.

What follows is a road climb to the fields at Beck Side and a seemingly endless steep ascent through grazing fields, over barbed wire fences and walls to reach the fell proper and the first summit at Out Park.

Turning right, the course becomes undulating moorland as runners descend to the cattle grid and the second climb.

The second summit and turn point gives way to the first of two return descents.

Runners meet the cattle grid again and climb back up Out Park and the steep descent back to the gala field.

Rising star, Calder Valley’s Charlie Ing (31.04), led from the start to win nearly a minute ahead of local favourite Black Combe Runners’ Josh Hartley (31.56).

Wharfedale’s Tom Millard (33.00) was the third man to cross the finish line.

In the ladies race, Ribble Valley Harriers’ Kirsty Hall (40.28) returned to form to have a dramatic win from Pippa Barrett (42.56) and Pudsey and Bramley’s Caroline Harding (46.25), third.

Fell runners are an ever-versatile bunch and the under-17 boys proved this as they formed an ad-hoc football team to take part in the gala five-a-side tournament.

In order that the under-17 race could proceed, the semi-final had to be delayed until after the race to allow these hardy lads to compete.

The race was won in style by Keighley and Craven’s Eric Beaumont (18.41) who is on fine form this season, over a minute ahead of second boy Horwich’s Toby Middleton (19.48) and Barlick’s Jack Villiers (22.10), third.

Ilkley Harriers’ Bernadette Raven (25.02) won the girls’ race from local girls, Cumberland’s Emily Swarbrick (25.58) and Zhuli McGuirk (27.08).

The under-14 race provided a fantastic result for girls’ running as Wharfedale’s Amelie Lane stormed home to win the race outright (16.15) with second girl, Leven Valley’s Jessica Bailey (16.30) in third place overall. Third girl was another podium regular in the form of Wharfedale’s Olivia Aldham (19.46).

First boy over the line was Wirral’s William Sutcliffe (16.44) from local boy, Cumberland’s Tom Adams (17.38), second, and Clayton-le-Moors’ Guy Whalley (19.04), third.

Barlick’s Jacob Reeday (8.49) notched up another win as he romped home in first place in the under-12 race from Wharfedale’s Tom Hooper (9.01), second, and Ambleside’s Rowan Ashworth (9.04), third.

Barlick Fell Runners dominated the under-12 podium as Lucille Pickles (9.49) scored a win from local girl, Cumberland’s Zoe Brannon (10.46), second, and Keighley’s Lara Brown (11.11) third.

Owing to the long road section at the start of this series of races, the under-9 race comprises two large laps of the gala field.

Thus the youngest of all runners are in full view of the whole gala for the entirety of their race.

It can be a noisy and exciting time as they all jostle and battle for position in the race and spotlight.

Taking an early lead and never flinching, Settle Harriers’ Carl Sanderson won in 2.32, but needed every ounce of thigh strength as he battled to out-sprint rival Barlick’s Isaac Reeday (2.32) into second place. Third boy was Cumberland’s Luca Roberts (2.35).

Barlick’s Bella McCredie (2.36) won the girls' race from Wharfedale’s Isobel Patefield (2.43), second, and Wigan Harriers’ Holly Nicholls (2.53), third.