Fell Championship 2021

As Sarah Staiano, our Captain said, buckle up, it’s a long one!

I’ve attached a list of races for the Nidd Fell Champs in 2021 after bouncing ideas around a few Nidd fellies. Also available on the club website:


By way of explanation, since we began our Nidd Fell Champs in 2009 we’ve built the race choices in Yorkshire (Dales, Pennines, Moors etc) with a foray into the Lakes and even Lancashire too. We have endeavoured to have a mix of new races/terrain and old firm favourites.

The FRA are very busy at the moment licensing races and releasing the details onto their website:  https://www.fellrunner.org.uk/. There is a section on how the FRA are approaching Covid at races.

Overall, regarding fell races in 2021, it’s a bit of a mixed bag and a developing position as time marches on. Some organisers are eagerly cracking on doing whatever they can to host races and others have taken the option of leaving it to 2022. In particular some low-key races around this time of year (some of whom are firm Nidd favourites) have decided the to do the latter:

Nidd favourites not happening in 2021:

Jack Bloor (Ilkley) – although they are doing a virtual version

Charlesworth Chase (Appletreewick)

Beamsley Beacon (Addingham) – organiser undecided at the moment

Burnsall Classic

Many organisers of races further into the year are playing something of a “wait and see” approach. Overall, please remember these are races put on by clubs just like Nidd and their volunteer members, not professionally organised trail ones. The upshot is that there are a decent number of licensed races in July – September, but right now, fewer for October – December. It’s my belief that these Q4 races will come on stream over the next few months.

Hence the approach of 4 from 8 this year, all previous rules apply. I’ve attached a list of 6 races and we’ll add 2 more as races become available.

These are the most local races to avoid too much travel and there are fewer races available right now, so options are more limited than usual. We’ve historically included a Lakes race (as the home of fell running in England) in the 10miles/3000’ ascent category. In 2020 I was hoping to include Blencathra (an English Champs Race) with a bunk barn stay-over but I think a large group stay-over is probably still a pipe-dream at the moment so in 2021 so it’s not included in our champs either. However, the race is going ahead on 3rd July 2021 and should be a cracker so please do consider having a go – entries open on 10th May.


Ingleborough Mountain Race  – Sat 17th July

This is a brilliant classic race up an iconic Yorkshire mountain (or the nearest we have). It’s from the Ingleton Show. Just ask Sam Fugill how much fun it is (apologies for the private joke).

James Herriot Race – Sun 25th July

This is actually a licensed FRA fell race (albeit not too severe) despite somehow managing to scrape into the road champs too. Folk have to choose if they want their one race to be included in either the road or the fell champs – no double counting. Very popular and a great introduction to fell races.

Round Hill – Sun 8th Aug

Our closest race and organised by our friends at Otley AC. From Timble. Loads of Nidds have either done the race or been around the course so no surprises. One not to miss and we can reccie to our hearts content.

Crowden Horseshoe – Sat 21st Aug

This was last in the fell champs in 2011, but a few of us still remember it well. HQ is near the reservoirs in the Woodhead Pass (South Yorks/Derbys border). Goes over the aptly named Black Hill via the Pennine Way.

Great Whernside – Sat 25th Sept

Same w/e as the Nidd camping trip in Kettlewell organised by Nigel Scaife. Date is bang on. There and back so no nav issues!

Litton Birks Loop – Sun 14th Nov

In Littondale, along from Upper Wharfedale. Included in the 2019 champs when the entry included a chip butty.

Please do refer back to the Nidd website under Fell Running 2021 which includes the 2021 FRA rule changes and the all-important hypothermia leaflet produced by the FRA.

I’m very happy to explain the fell scene to anyone who’ll listen – it’s just a bit different and has lots more history than road. In fact it’s been around before tarmac was invented and before Nike created the sport of road running just to sell it’s newly designed shoes.

I could go on for ages more, if you’d let me.


Nidd Valley Runners – FRA Ambassador

Posted in General News, Races.