Cressbrook Crawl 2024 report and result

Runners warm up in front of the Cressbrook club before the Cressbrook Crawl race

Race date: 11 May 2024

Race distance: about 10.4 km/6.5 mile

Race report by Matt Broadhead

This was the first time the Cressbrook Crawl has taken place since 2019, and the fact it had fallen off the calendar might go some way to explaining why it had so few entrants this time. I hope that doesn’t put the organisers off, because it’s a lovely run, with a couple of good hills, a flat-and-fast bit and now a river crossing to boot. Cressbrook is a bit tucked away, but it only took me 40 minutes to get there from Hillsborough so it’s well within Strider-range.

When I entered this one, I had a feeling I’d done it before but I wasn’t 100% sure and never thought to look back at my own blog. Pulling up to park in the field next to the former Cressbrook Mill I knew I’d been here, and had exchanged unbeknowing hellos with top American runner Clare Gallagher as we walked up the steep hill to the village for registration. This time I chatted with a Totley runner who had done lots of hardcore Lake District races.

Registration was quick and friendly, and having forgotten my sunscreen I ensconsed myself in the club lounge with an elaborately calligraphed letter sent in gratitude to a former mill owner by his employees (for balance, not everyone agrees: Surprisingly, I seemed to be the only Strider though there were several from Totley.

Back to the race. We lined up for a very brief briefing, then we were off along the road towards Litton, before dropping left onto a trail that led us on the first of three visits to the River Wye, this time crossing it on a narrow bridge at Litton Mill. We nipped across the Monsal Trail and headed off up a massive hill, about 140m climb in 800m running on pasture (OK, running and walking on pasture). I passed a somewhat startled lad who’d come to a stop. He responded to my “Are you OK?” with a grin and “Fine! It’s my first fell race.” I saw him finish later, still looking happy with his new life choice.

A brief drop brought us to a fast section along the bottom of the weirdly straight High Dale, before a quick transition to the quad-quaking drop through woodland and back to the river. By this time I was pretty much on my own, bar the odd glimpse of another runner far below, and I silently thanked the organisers for their extremely well marked and marshalled course.

The second half of the course is a mostly easy flattish section on path by the river, followed by a mile or so on the Monsal trail. After the late-spring heat of the initial climb, it was a relief to have some tree cover, and when we turned off the trail towards the river I was overjoyed. Previously the race crossed a bridge before the climb back to Cresswell, but the bridge has been condemned, so instead it was a splash through the river, surveilled by two burly safety marshals, before the last climb up the road to the village, with a hairpin bend, the world’s smallest village green and a runner in front to chase, before a sprintable finishing straight and down the steps for a cup of tea and some cake. (You have to pick up some cake before you can get your cup of tea. Rules.)

I was appreciably slower than last time on pretty much every Strava segment and the race itself, but I’ll give myself a pass for now as I haven’t been doing much racing and this was my first fell race this year. It was a lovely day out, regardless.

The race was won by Jake Fearn in 47:21, and Beth Ansell in 52:22. 67 finished.

Striders result

P Name Time
37 Matt Broadhead 1:08:41

Full result:

For a bit of Cressbrook history, including why it’s not called Grassbrook, this 1972 film is rather lovely

scroll to top