In this special year for Scouting Claire Jarvis a cub leader with 3rd Hazel Grove, and one of the main organisers of Greater Manchester East’s Centenary Camp earlier in the year which was attended by over 3500 scouts, started the event at 12 noon with the customary strike of the anvil.
As last year we were pleased to incorporate a round of the Montrail Ultarunning Championship within our event and thanks to them for the donations of energy bars for the drinks point at Chinley and spot prizes which were given to the most deserving entrants in the view of the organising committee.
Fastest man back to Hazel Grove was Andy Pead who arrived home in just under nine hours to take the Bullock Smithy trophy. Andy was closely followed by the Macclesfield Harriers duo of Julian Brown and Stephen Watts who along with Paul Rushworth set a new team record for the new route to take the Windgather trophy. Joanna Miles also of Macclesfield Harriers retained the Chinley trophy as fastest lady. Records were also broken in the Scouts competitions with Alex Walker from 1st Hazel Grove retaining both the Shining Tor and Bullock Smithy Cup as fastest scout in a record 14hrs 52mins. Marple Explorer Scout Unit were victorious in the team event to take both the Axe Edge and Bullock Smithy Shield. The team of Mark Ridgway, Ben Ashworth, Ollie Hibbs and Daniel Williams set a new record of 49 hours 26 minutes. Rob Massey and James Comiskey were the fastest from Bullock Smithy Explorer Scout Unit in a record 20hrs 19mins to take the Corfield Farrier. Well done to all.
The event only suffered one mishap when Owen Wright, striving to complete his 10th Bullock, took a nasty fall in the worst of the weather conditions on the way up to Brand Top. A nasty head wound requiring 13 stitches at Stepping Hill Hospital was the result. A big vote of thanks to his walking companions at the time Andrew and Matthew Massey who took control of the situation, administered first aid and got Owen to the sanctuary of Booth Farm in order to call an ambulance as there was no signal from their mobile. Quite what the occupants of Booth Farm thought was going on when two wet and bedraggled walkers and one bloodied bedraggled walker knocked them up at 3am in the middle of nowhere is anybody’s guess but it must have resembled a scene out of some horror movie. Anyway they were made more than welcome, the ambulance was hailed and hike control informed of the situation. Andrew and Matthew both gave up their chance of completing the hike by accompanying Owen to hospital. A job well done lads. I am not sure if you will thank me for this or not but please accept our offer of a free entry next year. Happily by 7am when I went to visit Owen he had just been stitched back together again and was full of praise for everybody who came to his aid although he thought he may have to be abandoned plans for a tenth completion now. The hike rule of grouping up walkers at nightfall was surely vindicated on this unfortunate occasion.
One other notable event this year was the village fete in Earl Sterndale with a huge marquee on the village green opposite the checkpoint and all the village out enjoying themselves. The disco could be heard from two miles away although the checkpoint staff and walkers gratefully received all the leftovers from the buffet. Only two things a year normally happen in this sleepy village what a shame that this year they clashed.
My thanks to everybody who helped with the running of the event in whatever capacity and to our sponsors who all helped make the event a success. Thanks also to the land and property owners and in particular the proprietors of Booth Farm near Brand Top for all their help.
Finally, our thanks to you, the walkers, many of you who come back year after year for more punishment on the first weekend of September.
Next year's event will be on 6th/7th September 2008. We may even advertise it in ‘Strider’ so everybody can find out what they are missing!