Give an Entry Level Fell Race in Yorkshire A Go This Summer!

Neil Wallace

Last week, I again felt wobbly-legged as I crossed the suspension footbridge over the River Wharfe at Addingham, near Ilkley.  Close by, sheep bounced around in grazing fields where stone walls frame the picture-perfect scene.  Up ahead, the destination summit rises majestically beyond the lush green fields and woodland.  Somehow Beamsley Beacon seems further away.  And yet, it is only a few miles each way from the river.  The route includes roads, trails, footpaths, heathery trods and a brief rocky summit.  Then of course, the same in return.   Like previous years the views from the top were clear and stunning.


Several years ago Beamsley Beacon was one of the first fell races that I’d ever attempted.  I recall huffing and puffing all the way up to the summit.  A fellow runner, wearing an inflatable sumo outfit, shuffled passed me before we’d reached the top.  How demoralising, I thought.  I only caught him on the descent when his costume was snagged among the nettles and foxgloves in an overgrown ginnel.  A woman and I helped to decompress the suit and free his escape.  Luckily there were no photographers on this section.  The caption competition would have made interesting adjudication.  I maybe didn’t love every minute, but in running terms the event was certainly an epiphany. 


On Saturday 9th July at approximately 3pm, it is the Addingham Gala race.  Almost the same route and still brilliantly marshalled and fully marked; a bit like a sibling to the Beacon race.  Instead of the street, the race starts and finishes on the gala green.  Crowds cheer, in awe or maybe disbelief, as runners effortlessly skip across the grass and off towards the fell.   Perhaps more so, the gala event is ideal for beginners.  Why?


  • Cost – it’s only a quid to enter! Yes, you read correctly, only one of your finest English pounds, plus the required entry to the village gala (maybe £4 in total).
  • Family – while you’re sweating and scaling your way up to the summit, the rest of your family or friends can enjoy the gala, tackle a large Yorkshire bap and/ or participate in the tug-of-war.
  • Views – arguably the summit view of Lower Wharfedale is one of the finest in West Yorkshire.
  • Kit – although the gala race is still held under the Fell Running Association (FRA) license and rules (and the potential need for appropriate clothing and equipment), fine summer weather normally enables race organisers to relax these requirements.
  • Informal – yes, there will still be fast fell runners with club vests, but there will be as many – if not more – social or non-club runners who fancy the challenge, some of whom maybe enter the race every year because they simply live locally.
  • Cold refreshments – post run there is a delicious ice cream stall or maybe a cool beverage at one of Addingham’s local inns.


Tempted by this, but already have plans?  Maybe then consider the Ingleborough gala race (Sat 16th July) or Round Hill (Sun 11th August) both of which are slightly further, and more climb, but then longer time to enjoy and greater value for money?


More info on the Addingham Fell race and some other up and coming category C  events (perfect for an entry runner) in Yorkshire can be found below. For a written introduction to Fell running browse the second part of the Essential Guide to running:



Addingham Fell Race:


Ingleborough Gala Race:


Round Hill Race:


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