This year’s Annalong Horseshoe Fell Race will forsake its base for the last 37 years at Dunnywater and will now start and finish at Silent Valley Reservoir, within the NI Water complex.
The number of entrants last year put severe pressure on the existing facilities at Dunnywater and it’s felt that rather than limit the number of entrants, a move to a new location would solve the current issues with the Dunnywater venue. Last year we had a record entry of 100 runners, which meant that we struggled to accommodate parking for the number of competitors vehicles along the Dunnywater avenue, causing complaints from the residents on the avenue regarding access. With an increase in competitors, the lack of toilet facilities and the health and safety risks associated with the road section also raising concerns, therefore it’s a logical move to Silent Valley, which will address all of these issues for this year and years to come. Continue reading
Heaven for Hell – and Hicks as well.
I had thought that the weather was going to be good for the runners this year with light winds forecast, no rain and mild temperatures, but in the event it was the humidity which sapped the competitors strength. Many a challenge floundered on the slopes of the Meels, as cramp set into legs fatigued by the long slog up from the dam over rough ground, without hardly a breath of wind to disturb the stifling air. It was a long day for many but for me it was actually a short day, as there was no associated walking event to provide late finishing weary walkers, stumbling through the Donard woods as darkness descended.
Once again Christmas is nearly upon us and the annual Boxing day migration of mountain runners to the Trassey Track car park for the Turkey Trot race will be occurring. It would be a big help if as many competitors as possible could share lifts as car parking space is restricted. The race start time is 12.00am.
The Turkey Trot may be regarded as a bit of a fun event, and indeed we want to keep it as light
hearted as possible, but please remember that the mountains in winter can be a dangerous place so please heed the rules and come prepared. You should choose your running clothing to suit the expected conditions and footwear which will give you grip in the potentially icy conditions which often occurs on the high sections of the course. Full waterproof body cover must be carried along with a hat and gloves. The other mandatory items of kit are a map, whistle, and compass and although not mandatory, I would recommend runners carry a foil space blanket or bag which can be a lifesaver if you become immobilised in the wilds. There will be a kit check before the race. Unfortunately, you cannot enter this race if you are under the age of 18 years. Also, dogs are not allowed. If the weather forecast turns bad please check this site in the days preceding the event for more information.
Following the race, there will be mince pies, mulled wine and other goodies at the Northern Ireland Mountain Centre and a selection of prizes of dubious nature supplied by members of BARF.
Thank you to all who supported our charity event. We raised £1120 for the Irish Napelese Education Trust (INET).
Thanks to our speakers, Paddy Mallon, Ian Taylor and Dawson Stelfox for such an entertaining evening. Massive thank you to all who supported the event.
Normally Christmas trees are cut and extracted from the forest well before the big day but this year one of our first tasks was to remove one which had fallen across the Trassey track, near the start line. The icy gales of the preceding night had brought it down and though the sky was cobalt blue, those Baltic winds were still blowing hard as the runners set off. They would also have to deal with ice and slippery conditions on the high sections of the course.
Top 3 men (r-l Jack, Paul, Zak)
As part of the ongoing BARF Social calender of events, 17 brave Barfers took up the challenge of ’Run Gully Run’ on Sunday 17th April 2016.
Before the off!
On Friday 31st July a number of BARF members and family met at Donard carpark for a trek to the summit of Slieve Donard 852m, Northern Ireland’s highest mountain. ’OH NO, I hear you shout, not another charity event up Donard!!! But this was a walk with a difference. The plan was to start off at 10pm and reach the summit just before midnite, and experience the wonders of the Bluemoon whilst sharing a refreshment or two with like minded friends. And make a donation in the MMRT bucket at the start.
I used to admire those Purple People from a distance. I marvelled at the way they shone with such vibrant health. They never seemed to sweat. They were so smooth even the wettest peat refused to stick to their legs. I would end races bedraggled, puffing and drenched. If I joined the world of BARF would I too glide serenely across the Fells of Ulster ? But what if they were some strange cult ! A coven of purpley mudclaw clad witches and wizards. But I was drawn into the vortex. For years I resisted. Intimidated by words like “Ultra” and “Run”. Then the shadowy Aaron Shimmons whispered in my ear, “Just joining BARF will make you quicker.”…. “It’s magic” he said as he sat hunched and muttering over a boiling pot of frogs. I took the plunge. I even enjoyed the blood letting initiation under the full moon on the summit of Donard. As the BARF members danced naked around me I at last felt that sense of brotherhood that had been missing from my life. Continue reading
With clear blue skies and perfect visibility, it’s 11.00am on the second Saturday in May and the whistle sounded for the start of the 34th running of the annual Annalong Horseshoe fell race. This race was first run in 1982 and consists of 13 miles and over 5,000 ft of climbing over five summits in the Mourne mountains and this year counts as a long race in the NIMRA championship. 72 runners started off along the Head Road towards the first checkpoint on the summit of Chimney Rock. As we counted them off, we only counted 71 runners over the start line. 30 secs later, the 72nd entrant emerged from the nearby bushes after a ‘wardrobe adjustment’ and headed off after the rest of the pack.
The Mourne 500’s, 39 peaks in the Mourne Mountains over 500 meters.
If you are thinking of giving this a go, please let us offer you two bits of advice.
Firstly, you can do it. The Mournes might be steep and rugged but they are compact and beautiful. It’s worth it and it is possible, if you keep moving, to walk the route in under 24hours.
Secondly, don’t do it the way we did it.
Fresh as a daisy…. at the start!