New Years Day and a Five Trig Challenge

The Five Trig Challenge route is one that I have meandered across last year on LSD runs. It's a challenge that was dreamt up by a fell runner and made popular by another: Dale Colclough. There have been many attempts, the men's record standing at 3hrs 13 set by Brian Lomas and the ladies record a cool 4hrs 34 set by Denise Broom. It's a circular route in the peak district with a total ascent of 3500'. The total distance is approximately 21 miles  it can be completed clockwise or anti-clockwise. 

I had wanted to do more challenges in 2014 as well as racing and so on a whim I decided to attempt a pop at the ladies record on this challenge. In spite of the weather, the driving rain that made most of the route boggy and marshy and the high winds I was ready for a run.

Traditionally the route looks something like this:

Start: Cat and Fiddle SK001719
Trig 1 Shutlingsloe 001639
Trig 2 Roaches 001639
Trig 3 Axe Edge 035706
Trig 4 Burbage Edge 029732
Trig 5 Shining Tor 994738
Finish: Cat and Fiddle 001719

However, I took the decision to start at the Roaches end which enabled me to go up and down the Roaches on fresh legs, then get the road section towards Axe Edge completed. This meant that the last trig point would be Shutlingsloe and then for the last hour when tired, there wouldn't be too much climbing. 

Roaches -Axe Edge: (1hr 07)

Up and down from the finger post at Roaches end was 12 minutes. Then in total to Axe edge the split was 1hr 7mins. The weather was kind and running was steady. I took the road rather than climbing up onto Axe edge until heather bashing up to the trig point. 

Axe Edge - Burbage Edge (24.28) Total: 1hr 32
The route I took saw me straight over the trig point to drop down to meet the Bridalway then well defined footpath to Burbage Edge. After touching the trig it was a compass bearing straight over open fell, heather  rather than following the fence line, and although there was a lot of bounding and jumping heather I was assured that it was much faster than retracing your steps back to the fence line and picking up the path to Shining Tor.

Burbage Edge - Shining Tor (36.17) Total 2hrs 8
This section was a slog, the weather had changed and the conditions were fighting me back. Nonetheless, it's a straightforward run-able trail to the cat and fiddle and onwards to Shuttlingsloe.

 (Photographer gave up here)
Shining Tor - Shuttlingsloe (53.21) Total 3hrs 01
This was the hardest section, only due to the weather conditions. I was soaked through and my core temp dropped making co ordination difficult. It's an obvious route all the way to Shuttlingsloe and the run through the forest was amazing (and warm). Shuttlingsloe however, demanded that I get on all fours as I summited to the trig point. The wind was taking my feet from under me and so the only safe way for me to traverse was on all fours. I'd have been blown straight off the ridge had I not. I was accompanied on this run by a friend Forest Bethell and In vain he tried to shelter the wind as I dragged myself over to the trig, clung on to it for dear life and when risked letting go, again succumbed to a drag/crawl before hitting the fell side and getting on my feet again. 

Shuttlingsloe - Roaches (53.48) 3hrs 55.45
A great run to finish with as the climbing is done and it's just a case of steady running through the forest and Bridalways to where I started. n'er have I been so glad to jump in a vehicle and use the cold heaters to warm me up. 

Now I know you folk like stats so thought I'd give you a few for today's run: 
Times crawled on hands and knees x2
Number of trig points x5
Number of other runners passed x2
Number of man and his dog(s) x1
Sheep x2
Toilet stops x1
Friend's toilet stops x3
Falls x0 (yes it's the truth)
Face plants after stepping in a hidden ditch x1 (it's different than a fall ok)
Number of swear words whilst jumping over heather x100,0000, (I'm a freakin runner not a hurdler..ahem er 100,0001)
Number of hours to thaw out post run x2hrs

Happy New Year 


  1. Ha, I do believe the rather inclement weather system that moved in put the end to my rather brilliant photographic skills with my state of the art equipment, commonly called an iPhone ;)


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