ON a hot Cumbrian August afternoon, an impressive 103 sun-dried senior runners and 126 equally tough juniors gathered at the base of Farleton Fell to compete in the beast of a race that is Farleton Knott. From the approach via the A65, the fell looks like a gracious whale, emerging from a green sea.

However, appearances are most definitely deceptive. Like all races it starts in the well-trimmed flat field before a short road section and the start of a seemingly endless climb along a bracken-lined track to reach the summit of the Knott.

The height of the bracken stilled the breeze and concentrated the sun’s heat, making it a hot journey around the fell.

Having emerged, breathless and hot, at the summit, there is now an adrenaline fuelled, triple-scree descent.

This year the screes were drier than anyone could remember so scree riding satisfied the adrenaline thrill without feeling “dangerous.” The fun, however, is short lived as a hairpin bend at the bottom leads senior runners to the start of the second ascent.

Here, it is not running that is required as the primary skill, but hand over fist, lung-busting climbing to reach the summit for a second time.

Just as the thighs are turned to useless jelly, runners must now traverse the undulating skyline of the Knott, tracing a path via various cairns, to reach the route that initially brought them to the summit. Runners can now relax as the long descent commences and the finish funnel beckons.

From the start Mercia’s Simon Bailey led the pack and was first to the summit, by a clear margin, ahead of Wharfedale’s Ted Mason and helm Hill’s Rob Jebb.

This order was maintained as the trio traversed the plateau, and descended to the finish where Bailey won (34:27) from Mason who battled all the way to second place in 35:59 with Jebb third in 38:36.

In the ladies race, Helm Hill’s Sharon Taylor had a strong climb to the summit and was already well ahead of team mate Bianca Dyer and Wharfedale’s Jean Powell.

Taylor extended her lead to win in 43:47, just short of six minutes ahead of Dyer (49:37) and Powell (53:05).

The under-7 race is marginally less brutal than the seniors as it only climbs to the summit of the Knott once before descending the scree and heading for the finish.

This year, Wharfedale’s Sam Smith won in 19:37 and was followed home by the Settle Harriers duo of Sebastian Segger-Staveley (20:01) and Thomas Marshal (20:35).

Keighley's Eric Beaumont took fourth place in 21:39. Rossendale's Lauryn Greg was top girl in 24:40.

Sam Headley of Keighley & Craven was third in the under-14 boys race behind the Ambleside pair of Charlie Almond (9:22) and James Bowen (9:36).

Otley's Charlotte Rawston was again the top girl in 11:07 while Wharfedale's Amelie Lane was third in 11:45.

Jacob Reeday of Barlick Fell Runners took first place in the under-12 race while Helena White of Clayton Le Willows was top girl.

Carl Sanderson of Settle Harriers was third in the under-nine race with a time of 3:17. Unattached runner Lucy Murphy was top girl in 3:24.