2014 Durham Dales Challenge 25th Anniversary

Another amazing event, congratulations to everyone who took part and a huge thanks to all who volunteered their precious time to come and marshal at checkpoints, HQ etc including group members, family and friends, Teesdale and Weardale Mountain Rescue Team and Raynet. This being my last year as co-ordinater I could not have wished to have spent a better day amongst friends and competitors alike. Thanks too, for all of the most wonderful comments of which you can see here Durham_Dales_feedback_2014.pdf

The atmosphere was buzzing in Wolsingham High School all day with people coming and going being fed and watered by our amazing Chef Paul Ashman, who incidentaly cooked at no additional cost to the event, almost 80 portions of his wonderful vegetarian curry and hand-made naan breads, helped by his commis chef, Gordon Barras. The delicious pies, scones and cakes were baked at the local establishment Peggoty's and throughout the afternoon we were serenaded by Jim Arden and his crooners which contributed greatly to the party atmosphere in the hall.  You may have noticed that fancy dress was the order of the day from pink tutus to tartan and tiaras, evening wear and butlers to the Cheviot range of amazing overalls, oh and not to forget Santa Claus paying a special visit from Lapland to remove you of your bucket drop disk and somewhere along the way we had a Scotsman cavorting with a monkey...and hey anything in between.

As it was our 25th Anniversary Clare Jeffray along with her Mum baked and decorated two huge birthday cakes, thanks go to them andI had the pleasure of cutting said cake


On the 16 mile route we had our youngest attender yet, only 9 months old, baby Raymond Bone was smiling when he left in the best seat ever and was laughing when his parents returned with him some hours later. Our oldest attender was a lady who has walked many of our events, normally the 30 mile route but this year at the age of 79 she dropped decided to retire down to the 16 mile event and completed in 5hrs 45mins, great effort.

With 286 competitors setting off we had 282 return, only one retirement from the 16 mile route and three from the 30 mile route. This is the least drop outs in the last 5 years I have been organising. There was an unusually high amount of people who did not show on the day at 62, no reasons that I can think of why they would wish to miss such an amazing day.

The first male to return on the 16 mile route was in 2hrs 34mins

The first female to return on the 16 mile route was in 3hrs 16mins

The last group home took 7hrs 56mins 

The first male to return on the 30 mile route was in 5hrs 24mins

The first female to return on the 30 mile route was in 5hrs 50mins

The last couple home arrived dead on 21.00hrs, very emotional but tears of joy, I think, that they had completed in time

 Results are below for those who are interested in their placing -

16 mile results

30 mile resuts

From each entry we set aside 50p for the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team. We were very happy to be able to send them a cheque for £200. They have sent a thanks letter and information as to how your money will be spent. To view click here

I have a huge amount of photos to sort through of which will be shared with you over the coming days. The rogues gallery starts with a selection by Peter Morrill that lovely guy welcoming you back home and removing you of your tally, Peter Morrill

Some further pictures by me Chris McDowell taken at HQ -

The guys at checkpoint 8/B, a very exposed point for an all day session made every competitor welcome with special appearances from Elvis from Elvis from time to time aka Ricky Scott. The overalls were also designed by Ricky and each one had an individual hill painted on it taken from the Cheviot range -

Photos by C McDowell -

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The guys and girls at checkpoint 3 have as always excelled in running their basic but very welcome position. They have looked after the CP for some years now for which I and my predecessors are very happy. Some of the photos they took on the day, not only of themselves but some of the first competitors to arrive -

Checkpoint 7/C by Diane Smith. This is the busiest checkpoint outside of HQ with all competitors making their way through at somepoint during the day. Diane runs a tight ship to make this checkpoint run smoothly however Tom Dornan also gets a special mention as I hear he takes his job very seriously, no-one is allowed to touch that tea pot, it's his and his alone to make and pour. I didn't even know that Diane was a ....balloon artist! Thanks to all -

Checkpoint F, Bollihope by Anne Kelly. This checkpoint is only available to those on the 16 mile route and is famous not only for it's beautiful setting but the generous supply of hot dogs. No wonder this is always a popular route. Well done to all who have served here -

Durham Dales 30 mile route - yesterday, Saturday 14th June 2014, I completed my last ever Durham Dales Marshals walk on a day that was very warm and muggy but hey no rain or wind, bonus. Another bonus is that I am the only member to have walked the Anniversary 53, 30 and 16 mile events. However the real highlight of the day for me was that Marjorie Wilkinson, Northumbria Group member was in amongst the small group of 8.
Marjorie walked the very first marshals walk back in 1989 when she was just a young slip of a lass and 25 years on, just a little bit older.... and with just a few more miles under her belt Marjorie completed the 25th Anniversary of the Durham Dales 30 marshals walk, the only group member who has and ever will do this!
It was an honour and a pleasure to walk with Marjorie and I do hope when I am in the prime of my life I to can walk the distances as well as Marjorie.
Marjorie and her husband Alan have also been the chief cooks and bottle washers at the Middleton in Teesdale checkpoint 5 for the last 25 years, once again a one and only. They started with a car parked in the car park at Middleton, thereafter moved to the Outdoor School for many years until it's closure two years ago. They have now settled themselves into the Middleton Village Hall. I only twice visited their checkpoint once as a competitor and once as a sweep and I have to say the home baking is absolutely divine and understand when all the competitors rave about what a fabulous checkpoint number 5 is.
Well done Marjorie and Alan and all their helpers over the years. Best wishes Chris McDowell

We had a great day, see our photos and access a copy of the route below

30 mile route description - Durham_Dales_30_mile_route_description_2013_as_at_14.6.13.doc

Photos by Chris McDowell 

16 mile route description - 18 Durham Dales marshals walked the route on Saturday 31st May 2014. It was a beautiful day, see photos, let's keep our fingers crossed that the weather for the event is the same. To access a copy of the route description please use the following link -


Photos (by Chris McDowell) of all the marshals taking a well earned break basking in the sunshine at Bollihope -


52 / 52 mile Durham Dales Anniversary Walk

Photos by BIll Milbourne

Photos by Chris McDowell

Photos by Peter Morrill