ON a fantastic weekend of British sport, the annual fell running pilgrimage to the famous Alva Games in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, did not disappoint.

The weather was the best that Scotland could offer, being a gloriously hot, sunny July day.

The ground was dry and firm underfoot, although some of the higher ground was described as dusty and crumbly.

As ever, Wee Torry looked resplendent in the summer sunshine and produced feelings of thrill, excitement and fear into those brave enough to take on a spectacular lung-inverting, thigh destroying, 1,300 foot near vertical ascent and descent to the finish.

All that was needed was the 82 senior and 47 junior runners to toe the start line.

From the word go, the senior men’s race was a tough battle between age and experience versus youth and vitality as Rossendale’s young adult Matthew MacKay locked horns with Mercia’s seasoned Simon Bailey and Horwich’s Alistair Thornton to battle their way to the summit.

Even the machine that is Bailey was reduced to walking over some of the steeper parts of this leg-shredding hill.

Despite this, he was first to the summit and capitalised upon his lead as he turned and seemed to fly down the hillside to the finish.

Not content with simply winning the race, Bailey also broke the 19-minute barrier for the first time in a quarter of a century to win in 18.59 and set a new record for the modern course.

MacKay also enjoyed a death-defying descent to come home second just under two minutes later (20.56) from third placed Thornton (22.33).

At the other end of the race, people’s favourite, Barlick’s Kristian Clayton battled hard against fear of the terrain and his own naughty gremlin telling him to quit to finish the hardest race of his short running career, and win the battle against fear and trepidation.

The ladies race also proved to be a competition all the way between Pudsey and Bramley’s Rachel Pilling and Edel Motion.

Pilling got off to a great early start and was a long way in front as runners climbed over the golf course.

However, Motion showed her true colours during the steep climb to the summit of Wee Torry, overtaking Pilling to be first to the summit.

From here, Motion took full advantage of the steep descent to win in 28.07, 12 seconds ahead of second placed Pilling (28.19).

Keeping podium finishes in the family, third lady home was Mercia’s Kirstin Bailey (30.37).

The under-17 boys’ race was a clear win for Keighley and Craven’s Eric Beaumont, who is in flying form this season.

He did not disappoint spectators as he bounded down the descent to win in 11.02 and set a new course record.

Second boy was Horwich’s Toby Middleton (11.50) ahead of Barlick’s Jack Villiers (12.39), third.

Training on the Lakeland fells paid off in the girls’ race as Helm Hill’s Lottie Beardwood stormed home to win in 14.56 from Cumberland’s Emily Swarbrick (15.10), second, and Ilkley Harriers’ Bernadette Raven (15.28), third.

Ambleside’s Charlie Allmond totally dominated the under-14 race to win (9.26) well ahead of the rest of the field, over a minute ahead of local competitor, Central’s Cameron Macmillan (11.04), second. Third boy home was fourth placed Cumberland’s Tom Adams (11.24).

Continuing the 2019 theme of girls out-running boys, the under-14 girls’ race was won by Ambleside’s Sophie Rylance (11.12), who finished third overall.

Second girl home was Wharfedale Harriers’ Olivia Aldham (12.53), who is enjoying an impressive season so far, from Cumberland’s Olivia Swarbrick (13.12), third.

Barlick’s Jacob Reeday secured a clear win (10.13) in the under-12 boys’ race, well ahead of Ambleside’s Rowan Ashworth (10.19), second, and Wharfedale’s Tom Hooper (10.28), third.

Barlick’s Lucille Pickles (12.06) notched up another win over two minutes ahead of her nearest rival, Wharfedale’s Isabella Wright (14.45), second, and Barlick’s Jody Whitfield a mere one second later in 14.46.