THE day started without promise for this year’s Spring Bank Holiday race at Coniston Gullies as low cloud and mist clung to the fell tops.

However, by the time the races set off, the sun had come out from it’s hiding place and shone gloriously for the rest of the day.

The race itself is one of the shortest in the calendar, being just over a mile long, but it is one of the most technical short fell races on offer – runners either love it or hate it.

The start line is on a relatively flat track but the race soon does a sharp right turn on to the fell proper.

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 is an achievement in itself.

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

While 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.

Sixty-five senior and 92 juniors were not deterred by the terrain as they lined up to do battle.

Senior race winner was Wharfedale Harriers’ Jack Smith (15.04) from Helm Hill’s Tim Cowin (15.52) and Annan and District’s Andrew Livingstone (16.30).

Ladies race winner was Pudsey and Bramley’s Rachel Pilling (19.46) from Wharfedale’s Jean Powell (20.19) and Ripon Runners’ Sally Houghton (21.09).

The under-17 race was won by Settle Harriers’ Thomas Marshall (9.40), ahead of Ambleside’s Ben Edmondson (9.52), second and Helm Hill’s Robert Askew (9.53), third.

Under-17 girls’ winner was Dallam’s Rosie Woodhams (11.19) followed by Clayton le Moors’ Briony Holt (11.42) 2nd, and Rossendale Harriers’ Lauryn Gregg (12.23), third.

The under-14 race winner was Ambleside’s Daniel Sanderson (6.07) ahead of Wharfedale’s Alex Thompson (6.18), second, with Helm Hill’s Henry Hunter (6.37), third.

The girls’ race winner was Ambleside’s Chloe Rylance (7.01) from Wharfedale’s Alice Jones (7.06), second and Ilkley Harriers’ Bernadette Raven (7.34), third.

The winner of the under-12 race was Calder Valley’s William Hall (5.09), ahead of Keighley and Craven’s Sam Conroy (5.20), second and Blackburn Harriers’ Dexta Thompson (5.23), third.

The girls’ race was won by Leven Valley’s Olesia Winder (6.06), from Helm Hill’s Sarah Smith (6.23), second and Ilkley Harriers’ Hattie Bishop (6.41), 3rd.

Perhaps the most surprisingly competitive race of the day was the under-nine race, eventually being won by Helm Hill’s Noah Wadsworth (3.36), from Ambleside’s Tom Ashworth (3.37), second and Settle’s Jack Sanderson (3.42).

Girls’ winner was Settle’s Lucy Bagot (4.30) ahead of Rosie Dry (4.47) and Wharfedale’s Betsy Willis (5.11).