UKA Inter-Counties Fell Champs
A long trek north for this year’s championship which was incorporated into the Broughton Heights fell race situated in the Scottish lowlands, very remote but a lovely area. The championship was last held there in 2011 but on a different course. The new course comprised two loops with long climbs at the start of each one and unusually for a fell race was mostly flagged which I assume was because it was a new course. The start of the second loop was just behind Clem on the left in the photo, very steep. Although the weather was windy and cool with clag on the tops this was a good course with plenty of good running and very few rocks.
As we had at least one runner U23 (in fact we had 3) we could have five in the team with three to score. This was a high quality field, the start was on a narrow track and the narrow start line was crammed with the top runners all eager to get a good start. As well as the Inter Counties runners there was the open race for the rest of us.
The leaders set an incredible pace and were soon out of view up into the clag, reaching the top of the first loop the wind was now quite strong but soon you were hurtling back down out of the mist towards the start/finish area before going out on the second loop and back into the mist thrashing through heather in some parts. The last mile or so was fast downhill but on a very bumpy track.
Max Nicholls had a superb run finishing 3rd overall and winning the U23 race (again). Max beat some of the best fell runners in the UK. Christian also had another impressive run.
Kent finished a very creditable 7th out of 13 teams. Team numbers down this year (from 20 in 2016) possibly due to the travelling involved.