Kington 8 Peaks Challenge

Race Reports
This run/walk/orienteering event has now become a fixture in the Kington Walking Festival and becomes more popular each year. Last year it was won by  our own Sam Mayglothling in an amazing  time of  2 hours 25 mins 36 seconds.
The route is 13 to 18 miles long depending on your navigational ability and bravery! and covers 8 peaks to the north and west of Kington involving around 3000 feet of climbing. Competitors have the choice of either clockwise or anti clockwise and can visit the summits in any order although you must keep to public rights of way and open access land, this year additional check points and out of bounds areas were added to ensure that this was done.
TomD was the only Croft entrant this year and set off with daughter Alison, the pair opting on an anticlockwise route starting with a long steady climb to Bradnor Hill, first of all along Offa’s Dyke path then National Trust open land over Kington Golf course. Competitors start at 2 minute intervals, fortunately we were first to start at 9am and crossed the golf course without mishap, later runners might well have had to dodge flying golf balls!
The first clipper was situated on a small pile of stones in the bracken but was found without any problems. A fast descent over the golf course and a short section of road led  back onto the Offa’s Dyke path. Unfortunately we got carried away by our progress and overran the first route check by about a mile, having to backtrack to mark our card before struggling to the top of Rushock Hill to the next checkpoint. This climb brought home the magnitude of GaryP and Dan’s task next weekend when they will be passing through enroute from Chepstow to Prestatyn in the 185 mile Offa’s Dyke Ultra.
A fast run down hill, still on the OD path, brought us to the steep climb up Herrock Hill, the checkpoint was easily found right on the summit before a tricky descent through  bracken back to the footpath leading to Dunfield Lane and eventually Stanner Rocks, taking care this time not to miss the second route check! This summit proved to be the most difficult  to find as there is a false peak within the wood, some competitors abandoned the search but we persisted and eventually found it on the lower peak having lost a good 25 minutes searching in the briars and bracken!
Another fast downhill took us over the A44 and past Gore Quarry before following the footpath around Old Radnor Hill to the top where the marker was easily found on the quarry gate. Another easy downhill section on road and footpath through Burlingjob with the final route check concealed in a disused telephone kiosk!
A short, flat road section along Hanter Lane led to a tricky climb to the top of Worsell Wood, where timber falling had left the footpath hard to find and  required care on the downhill not to trip over fallen branches.
A chance to refill water bottles from the friendly lady at Lower Hanter  before the hardest climb of all to the top of Hanter Hill. We took the short steep option through the bracken and found the checkpoint without difficulty on the summit cairn.
A nice down then up on a grassy footpath led us to Hergest Ridge with the final clipper easily found on the trig point, it would not have been so easy if visibility had been poor!  A 2.5 mile downhill run back into Kington was a good way to finish and tiredness was forgotten with the thought of sandwiches, tea and cakes laid on at the finish back at the Red Kite Fostering Centre.
We eventually covered 15.7 miles and 4419 feet of ascent in a time of 5 hours 13 mins 12 seconds finishing 6th out of the 23 teams and individuals completing the course. The winner, David Mullin, finished in 2.54.10 and his name will now go on a plaque in the Burton Hotel alongside that of Sam!
A really enjoyable event with the challenge of route finding taking your mind off tired and aching limbs, a definite for next years diary!

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