It’s been a long time, too long,  since I ventured over to Teesdale for a fell race with my old club Durham Fell Runners,  it was great too find they are just as friendly and welcoming as I remember and The Cronkley just a tough!

The Cronkley Fell race is held in a special place for me, just outside Middleton Teesdale the race starts from the excellent Strathmore Arms and runs out and back along Cronkley fell surrounded by far reaching Teesdale views. It’s often a windy one, the wind funnels down the valley and true to form on Sunday the wind was in your face on the way out, but proving a helping hand on the return.

The crux of the Cronkley fell race for me has always been THE ROCK. The half way point used to be manned by my friend and coach Keith, he sat on top of a huge glacial rock which we all had to run round, before starting the uphill slog marking the start of the return leg.

Keith was a sight for sore eyes, don’t get me wrong he is a funny looking fella (he’ll forgive me); a proper long distance runner of his time, but the abuse he hurled from his stone rock perch was enough to get you going back up that hill.

This year there was no Keith on his rock, he’s obviously found something better to do, but there was a blow up crocodile in the river that was offering out jelly babies. Curious? You’ll just have to go and run the Cronkley Fell Race next June. See you there.

Andrea Tucker