Coombe Hill Fell Race
As regular readers will know, Cambridge Harriers are one of only a handful of clubs in the South East with an active fell running section. Another club in this select group is Tring, and they go one better than us: taking advantage of their location in the Chiltern Hills they actually host their own fell race. To be sure at just 7km and a mere 220m of ascent it is the sort of event that would have folks from up North scornfully dismissing as not a proper fell race, but when we learnt that the race HQ was a pub next to a station with direct trains to London, and that your £5 entry fee (£3 for FRA members) included a free pint in said pub, we thought that we had to give it a try.
The topography here, as with most of the Chilterns is a chalk ridge running SW to NE with gentle slopes on the SE side and much steeper gradients on the NW side (perhaps a geographer can explain why?). The race route starts with a gentle climb up from Wendover before a steep slippery descent on the other side that had many of us ruing our choice of footwear. A flat section along the bottom is followed by a steep hands-on-knees slog up to the summit and the grandiose Boer War memorial before a speedy descent to the finish. The view from the top is probably lovely when there is one, up North it is no surprise to find summits shrouded in cloud, but in the Chilterns? Made it seem a bit more like a proper fell race I suppose.
We will be back next year for another free pint and perhaps to find out what the view is like.
20 Christian Poulton 32:36 (2nd M50)
40 Graham Maynard 35:28
64 Clem Dixon 39:10 (3rd M60)