Langdale Horseshoe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Picture of the Lake District National Park, the venue of the Langdale Horsehoe
Lake District National Park, the venue of the Langdale Horsehoe

The Langdale Horseshoe is an annual Lake District fell race that starts and finishes at the Old Dungeon Ghyll. The course climbs to Stickle Tarn before heading to Thunacar Knott, Esk Hause shelter, Bowfell, Crinkle Crags and Pike of Blisco. The route is approximately 21 kilometres (13 mi) in length with 1,450 metres (4,760 ft) of ascent.[1] It includes much rough and rocky ground. On the descent from Crinkle Crags, many runners negotiate the Bad Step, although it can be avoided depending on route choice. The race often presents navigational difficulties, especially in poor visibility.[2]


The Langdale Horseshoe was first held in 1973, when it was organised by Dave Meek of Ambleside and the Langdale Fell Race Association. It was sponsored by Quiggin's Kendal Mint Cake. In 1977, a shorter ladies’ race up Pike of Blisco was held in conjunction with the Langdale Horseshoe but from 1978, women were allowed to compete over the full course.[3]

Due to a lack of volunteers to help with race organisation, the 1982 race was not run over the usual course but on a route up and down Scafell Pike. No race was held the next year but it was relaunched in 1984 by Ambleside AC.[4] In 1986, the race had over five hundred runners and in order to reduce the strain on the organisational resources and the local area, it was decided that from the following year, only pre-entered competitors would be allowed to take part.[5]

Langdale is one of the races in the Lakeland Classics Trophy series which was inaugurated in 2002.[6]

In its early years, the race was held in September, but it now takes place in October. It has been one of the counting races in the English Fell Running Championships several times. As it takes place relatively late in the season, it is often the last race in the series on such occasions and can play a significant part in the championship results. In 2005, for example, Rob Hope was joint winner in the English Championships due in part to his triumph at the Langdale Horseshoe immediately after returning from the World Mountain Running Trophy in New Zealand.[7]


Langdale has one of the oldest course records in fell running, with a time of 1:55:03 set by Andy Styan in 1977. Styan felt that he had been able to run so quickly due to the good conditions and the very strong competition on the day. Styan, Billy Bland, Alan McGee and Mike Short all finished in between 1:55:03 and 1:56:08 that year.[8] Since then, the fastest winning time has been 1:56:13 by Gavin Bland in 1997.

A new women's record of 2:22:50 was set by Victoria Wilkinson in 2016, beating the previous best of Helene Diamantides which had stood since 1992.[9]

Billy Bland won five time between 1978 and 1987 and his nephew Gavin Bland won five times between 1990 and 2003. In the women’s race, Pauline Haworth and Ruth Pickvance have the most wins with three each.

The winners have been as follows:[10]

Year Men Time Women Time
1973 Joss Naylor 2:08:20
1974 Mike Short 2:10:27
1975 Mike Short 2:05:38
1976 Mike Short 2:08:28
1977 Andy Styan 1:55:03 Anne Bland and Brenda Robinson 0:54:57[Note 1]
1978 Billy Bland 2:07:00 Bridget Hogge 3:13:00
1979 Andy Styan 2:01:00 Ros Coats 2:37:57
1980 Billy Bland 2:05:24 Pauline Haworth 2:55:19
1981 Billy Bland 2:02:56 Pauline Haworth
1982 Kenny Stuart 1:36:50[Note 2]
1983 Not held Not held
1984 Billy Bland 2:06:46 Pauline Haworth 2:40:14
1985 Jack Maitland 2:00:31 Angela Carson 2:34:28
1986 Bob Whitfield 1:58:59 Carol Haigh 2:34:38
1987 Billy Bland 2:00:04 Clare Crofts 2:29:58
1988 Bob Whitfield 2:06:10 Ruth Pickvance 2:42:40
1989 Bob Whitfield 1:59:03 Ruth Pickvance 2:40:12
1990 Gavin Bland 2:05:04 Wendy Dodds 2:37:30
1991 Mark Croasdale 1:58:11 Cheryl Cook 2:35:10
1992 Ian Ferguson 1:58:18 Helene Diamantides 2:23:25
1993 Gavin Bland 1:57:29 Ruth Pickvance 2:38:40
1994 Gavin Bland 1:58:48 Yvette Hague 2:33:25
1995 Ian Holmes 2:02:50 Nicola Davies 2:33:54
1996 Ian Holmes 2:09:09 Menna Angharad 2:38:09
1997 Gavin Bland 1:56:13 Yvette Hague 2:32:42
1998 Jonny Bland 2:02:30 Emma Moody 2:54:02
1999 Jonny Bland 2:12:41 Helene Diamantides 2:25:07
2000 Mark Rigby 2:15:30 Wendy Dodds 3:02:14
2001 Cancelled due to foot-and-mouth outbreak
2002 Jonny Bland 2:13:42 Emma O'Shea 2:54:17
2003 Gavin Bland 2:04:24 Angela Mudge 2:35:07
2004 Nick Sharp 2:07:57 Kate Beaty 2:41:57
2005 Rob Hope 2:08:47 Christine Howard 2:37:55
2006 Nick Fish 2:10:43 Hazel Jones 2:44:09
2007 Ben Abdelnoor 2:14:08 Jackie Lee 2:39:26
2008 Rob Jebb 2:05:07 Jane Reedy 2:36:46
2009 Simon Booth 2:05:02 Jane Reedy 2:33:14
2010 Oliver Johnson 2:07:57 Helen Fines 2:32:53
2011 Carl Bell 2:09:13 Hazel Robinson 2:36:57
2012 Ben Abdelnoor 2:13:14 Suzanna Brett 2:56:31
2013 Ben Abdelnoor 2:07:00 Jasmin Paris 2:26:27
2014 Rhys Findlay-Robinson 2:16:00 Judith Jepson 2:44:16
2015 Sam Tosh 2:11:57 Jasmin Paris 2:26:37
2016 Sam Tosh 1:59:51 Victoria Wilkinson 2:22:50
2017 Carl Bell 2:13:14 Kelli Roberts 2:44:09

Note 1: Pike of Blisco route.

Note 2: Scafell Pike route.