Race Report: The Kinder Downfall, 28th April 2019

This a fell race from Hayfield in the Peak District taking in 600m of climb and Kinder Scout along its 15.4 kilometers.

Kinder Downfall View

This race has been on my list ever since I started running, I used to take part in the junior races as a kid, but as a senior I’d never made it to the start line for various reasons. This year the day dawned dry but over cast.

The race starts, as all good fell races do, by casually blocking off the main road through the village, listening to a short briefing before a bloke shouts ‘GO’ and we all head of up the road and off across the fields. We passed ‘Twenty Trees’ a small copse of …19… trees and then pick up the Snake path to the bottom of William Clough where it kicks up to Ashop Head. This is a particularly poignant part of the race because it is the route of the Mass Trespass of 1932.

If you’ve not heard of this, look it up, it’s an important part of the social history of this country, but in brief… Historically, average Joes like thee and me did not have unbridled access to the countryside. On the 24th of April, 1932, two groups of ramblers organised a wilful trespass onto the slopes of Kinder Scout to highlight the fact that walkers in England and Wales were denied access to areas of open country. This act of civil disobedience is argued to have been the catalyst of events that resulted in the passage of the National Parks legislation in 1949 and the CRoW act in 2000, both of which secure our access to open green spaces today.

I’m confident it is not a coincidence that this race, along this route, is held close to the anniversary of this event.

As we climbed, my thoughts were with those trespassers of 87 years ago, some of whom faced jail time for their efforts. Without them we’d not be able to enjoy places like these, it also took my mind off the relentless drag on up, which I was really just a means to an end.

As Kinder Scout is a Plateau, once you’re up, you’re up! Which is my kind of race, all flat and downhill from here, the sun had even put in an appearance… weeee! The route hugs the western edge with cracking views of the Kinder reservoir below. Crossing the Downfall marks about half way and then the route wends its way over swine’s back down to the final checkpoint at Edale Cross, a medieval boundary marker. After this it bounds off for home across Tunstead meadows. This is a fabulous bit of downhill running, smooth grassy fields allowing for full windmill and striding out. Unfortunately it all rather crunches to a halt as you hit the road for the final flat mile which was quite the trial and hard on tired legs, but I trundled over the line in 2 hours dead, happy as a clam with my day out on the hills of home.

Report by Cath Barber

Posted in General News, Results.