Race Date: Saturday 2nd September 2023
Race Report by Matt Gibson
Bullock Smithy is the original name for what is now Hazel Grove. A Richard Bullock leased in 1560 some land from a John Torkington to establish a smithy. Thus Bullock Smithy came into existence and eventually became the name of the village and was used in deeds, maps and books of those times. Villagers came to dislike the name and officially changed it to Hazel Grove in 1835, although there is evidence that the name Hazel Grove had been used earlier in 1790.
There are numerous reasons given for this choice of name, one was the predominance of Hazel trees, but it is likely that the name was chosen from Hassel Grove, an area of sand and gravel pits towards High Lane. Around 1750, Bullock Smithy became an important posting hall and John Wesley described it as ‘One of the most famous villages in the country for all manner of wickedness. It is thought he was referring to gambling, cock fighting and bull and dog fighting. The village still has wicked people who amongst other wicked deeds, devise tortures such as a 56 mile hike and call it the ‘BULLOCK SMITHY’.
The event involves you self navigating to 14 checkpoints at various points throughout the glorious Peak District setting off from and returning to Hazel Grove. The race starts at 12 noon and has a 24 hour time limit. The route would also include over 8000ft of lovely ascent and the equivalent descent.
The event is superbly organised and the checkpoints are manned by a small army of volunteers. Some checkpoints are manned for many hours into and through the night, for many of the entrants are walking the course.
Matt was the sole Strider amongst 161 finishers. Winner of the men’s race was James Chapman in a time of 11:17:00. The women’s race was won by Orla Haigh in a time of 13:05:00. No club information was given.
Full results are available here t42.org.uk