Race Date :Saturday17th June 2023
Report by Jane Huws, a spectator
Buckden is a small village in Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales, just upstream from Kettlewell. The local hill, Bucken Pike is the focus of a small fell race, on the day of the village gala. Last year this race was used for the English Fell Championships, but this year the total runners only numbered 48, a very small field. A small group of Striders and friends spent the weekend sampling the local produce and a few of them tackled the race. This is a AS race which means it is very steep and very short (3.7 miles, with 1594ft ascent) – think ‘child’s drawing of a hill’. The spectators sat on the opposite hillside trying not to slip down to the bottom.
We watched a Matlock AC runner doing his warm-ups up the hill with his dog, wondering whether he’d have enough energy left for the race. We need not have worried. He left the rest of the field standing at the start, running up the 30 degree hill without pausing for breath. It was an exciting race for spectators particularly as first Strider, Joe Buckman, was chased down the hill by his older brother, but just managed to stay ahead of him. Chris Rea took a tumble on slippery rocks over the beck but bounced back up and you could almost hear the language Phil Howson was using coming down the hill. This downhill was so steep it made for slow tricky running as Simon Wiles said ‘I usually enjoy downhills’. Runners Warren and Mark waved cheerfully at the support crew, probably thankful that they’d made it down, with only the last wall vault to go.
The race was won by a great margin by Billy Cartwright (MSen, Matlock AC) in 33:47, and by Nichola Jackson (WSen, Keswick AC) in 39:34. 5 Striders ran. Full results see buckden23.pdf (barlickfellrunners.org.uk)