The Black Combe Dash is a special one-off race for the 2021 English Fell Championships. It has all the features you love in the usual Black Combe race – endless springy climb, long fast descent, amazing views, sudden clag, navigational comedy – packed into a shorter route with less sleet and more bracken.
There will be two races: the men’s race sets off at 1pm, the women’s at 2:45pm. Both are run on the same route. All the facilities are in our usual finish field just north of the Whicham valley road. You can follow signs from the parking, which is in our usual start field. Please take care crossing that road, it’s very busy at the moment.
The start and end of the route go through private land and are flagged as far as the fell gate. The rest of the course is up to you but there are various lines cut through the bracken to help. You are strongly advised to recce the whole thing, or at the very least to go over the routes up to checkpoint 1 and down from checkpoint 3 on the morning of the race, and choose your lines in advance. It’s a fast, rough course.
- SIEntries will email you about when to arrive and register but the short answer is ‘between 11am and 12:45’. Women have until 2:15.
- The route is flagged until you turn off the main path. You have to follow the flags but after that all lines are allowed.
- Checkpoint 1 is on the first rocky outcrop so you should be able to see the marshals as you head up.
- Checkpoint 2 is behind the main summit shelter and not at the big cairn on the south summit, which you will probably go past to get to it.
- Checkpoint 3 is located at a small pile of whitish rocks among some rocky bumps (with an amazing view over the sea that you may not have time to enjoy). It sits exactly on the black mark by “White Stones” on the OS 1:25 map.
- There are a few lines cut through the bracken to checkpoint one. The low traverse is quickest but the high road is more fun.
- Heading straight off Sea Ness is possible but very steep and hazardous. It can be good if you are very confident downhill, know the way and like bracken, but very rarely quicker than taking the path. Not recommended!
- You must follow the flags back down. No jumping walls or fences.
- The finish line is at the last gate and from there you will be funnelled straight to Martin for downloading.
- There is a gate 93m into the course. It’s wide enough for four or five people but a queue is likely. You should try and get there first.
- There is a really good ditch not long after you turn off the main path at the start of the race. Watch out for the person in front of you suddenly disappearing.
- The weather on the Combe can change in seconds. Clag is very likely, and it is easy to run off the wrong side even in a busy race.
- Do not follow a Black Combe vest, unless you are likely to count in the Ambleside team in which case you should follow Harvey.
There is plenty of parking in the usual start field. This is passed directly to our farmer and he wants £4 per car so you might want to pack a few runners in.
Campers and tents are welcome on Friday and Saturday nights. Campers are £15 each. Farmer will collect directly. You can stay for as long as you like, but after Sunday the portaloos are gone.
The registration field includes space for club tents and gathering places. The PBS van will be there. There will be a food stall and an ice cream van. We haven’t arranged any beer yet but I’m working on that. The nearest pub is the Miners Arms in Silecroft.
Silecroft station is only five minutes away and the coastal train ride is a nice one.
- Hall Green Farm campsite in Kirksanton is new and quite wild.
- Harbour Lights campsite in Millom also has some glamping options.
- Baystone Bank campsite is at the Broughton end of the valley road.