Saturday 21 January 2023

#079 Your trail to the PB137km & PB270km - Part 5

In this, the last part of our 'Your trail to' series, we share further course details and highlights from the Settle checkpoint to finish at Kirkby Stephen.

For PB137 participants, Settle is your mid-course checkpoint, where you have access to your drop bag.

For PB270 participants, Settle is your third indoor checkpoint location and drop bag access.

At Settle, there will be showers, toilets and floorspace for sleeping. We'll also be cooking up tasty hot meals, dessert and anytime 'breakfast'. So you're rested, refreshed and ready to re-join the trail. There will also be hot drinks, soft drinks and snacks.

Pasta in a creamy sauce with mushrooms, courgette
and extra mature cheddar cheese.

As much as we're super proud of our hospitality and food offerings, it's the trail that is the star of the show, so we'll chat more about the route...

Just after you pass through the village of Stainforth and cross a narrow stone bridge, Stainforth Force waterfall is on your left side. Admittedly, this is not the best vantage point as the 2.5 metre cascade is 50 metres downstream. But worth a visit if you're on a route recce, or looking for a nice location for a mid race mini-break.

At Austwick there is a short deviation from the Pennine Bridleway, cutting through the village and avoiding a longer on-road section. The village itself has been a settlement since the Bronze Age with archeological finds in the area dating back 4000 years.

Following the Twaite Lane and Long Lane tracks, your journey into remote Dales country, threading a line across the limestone moors between Ingleborough and Horton-In-Ribbesdale. Then you join the Pennine Way, for an ascent up to Cam End and on to Kidhow, then breaking away westward to Gayle Moor. 

The route over Cam Fell is a Roman Road, so although easy to follow, this section can feel very exposed in extremes of poor or hot weather. I can attest to this, having journeyed over this route in mid- summer. While sipping from my water bottle in the meagre 10 inches of shade offered by a stone wall, I thought the only reason why the Romans had built a road this high and far from decent resupply, was that no rebellious Celtic tribe could be arsed to hike up and attack it!

North, over Dent Fell and Garsdale Common. At Garsdale railway station is the statue of Ruswarp, a collie dog with a remarkable story...

"Ruswarp belonged to Graham Nuttall, the first Secretary of the Friends of the Settle–Carlisle Line, which was formed to campaign against the proposed closure of the line. The line was finally saved in 1989. In January 1990 Nuttall and Ruswarp went missing in the Welsh mountains. On 7 April 1990 a lone walker found Nuttall's body, by a mountain stream. Nearby was Ruswarp, so weak that the 14-year-old dog had to be carried off the mountain. He had stayed with his master's body for 11 winter weeks. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals awarded Ruswarp their Animal Medallion and collar for 'vigilance' and their Animal Plaque for 'intelligence and courage'. He survived long enough to attend Nuttall's funeral" (source wikipedia)

After the Moorcock Inn, the PBW joins The High Way.

Facilities at Stennerskeugh, the current PBW finish are somewhat limited. So on reaching The Thrang, you carry on northward, where the Pennine Jouney trail handrails the River Eden. You'll pass the ruin of Pendragon Castle, according to legend, built by Uther Pendragon father of King Arthur. 

Focused on the finish

Although, at this point, you'll likely be much more focused upon the final 6km to the finish.

Finishers' bedrooms in hostel

At Kirkby Stephen we have a really treat for you with exclusive use of the hostel. Included in your entry is a bed for the night, celebratory meal and all our usual hospitality. Your drop bag will be ready, so you can freshen up and change into your going home clothes. 

Relaxing space in hostel lounge 

After being presented with your eco-coaster-medal, there's lots of indoor communal space where you can relax into an armchair and relive the adventure with fellow finishers. Also, we've specially commissioned Matt Clayton Cider House Oak trophies for the fastest lady and man in both the PB137 and PB270.

Matt Clayton, Cider House Oak, Winners Trophies
in Pennine Bridleway waymark style

Although we'll have tasty home cooked dinner for you in the hostel, within a minute's walk are local pubs and restaurants for a little extra celebratory libation. You'll be well served for choice in town if you have a particular post-race craving for curry, oriental or traditional pub grub. 

One of our specialties: East African mwali na maharage
(rice & beans with avocado and sautéed banana)

Having completed the Ranger Ultras' Pennine Bridleway trail challenge, no doubt there will be many uplifting, perhaps even transformational, memories for you to savour.

The PB137 & PB270 are held in April, so you can enjoy a balance of longer daylight hours, with weather which slots between the extreme cold of winter and heat of mid-summer. As can be seen from the kit list, we still want you to be sensibly prepared for the changeable British weather.

The Pennine Bridleway is an epic national trail. Having read this blog series and watched our recce videos, we hope you too can see that it offers superb trail running, gorgeous scenery and relatively straightforward navigation, aided by a lot of recently refurbished fixed waymarking.

It's time not to think of the Pennine Bridleway as solely for mountain bikes and horses. Indeed, as regular trail users, we see few of either. It is a quiet route that could have been made for trail running. Trails where you can lift your head, soak in the scenery and find your running 'flow'. 

Both the PB137 and PB270 are meant to be challenging races and we've designed them to be that way. However, they are also accessible to participants new to multi-day trail running as well as more experienced runners. So, even if you aspire to more extreme events, these are quality races in their own right, where you can hone your skills and race craft.

“A multi day race experience that is comparable to some of the big ones out there” 

With generous timings and online resources to help you prepare, our races offer a realistic chance of finishing. Which gives you the best possible value for your entry and time on the trail. 

At Ranger Ultras, we're all about sharing adventures, facilitating success and celebrating achievement, from the winner to the lanterne rouge finisher.

Come and grab yourself a large slice of multi-day trail running action...

Click 'here' to enter the Ranger Ultras PB137

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