I’d like to start by mentioning that after last year’s Fellsman John Hartley decided that having organized the Fellsman for 25 years it was time for him to put the maps away and hand the organization over to someone else. Thank you, John, for all the brain teasing but very enjoyable events you produced for us all.
This year’s Fellsman started and finished at The Black Bull Inn at Old Langho and covered 140 miles circular route on maps 102 & 103. In order to help the less experienced navigators they had the option to use instructions for plotting the route that were easier to use than the standard instructions issued to the more experienced entrants.
On what turned out to be a dry but not very bright day the first car departed at 9.15am on the 70 mile morning section to the lunch Halt control at the Manor Inn at Cockerham. So that the organizers could check if the cars had plotted and followed the correct route, entrants had to record the codes from the 36 code boards that had been placed at secret locations along the route, 20 on the morning section and 16 in the afternoon.
Travelling west the cars past over the Ribchester Bridge and followed the B road towards Longridge before turning right towards Knowle Green. The first 2 codes were found by all the cars but code 3 was missed by the nearly all, only three entries realized that the Spot Height they had to pass through was not on the crossroads but a short distance further to the east which took the route on a loop past Huntington Hall. Most navigators managed to plot the next few miles correctly as the route passed over Jeffrey Hill to pass Longridge golf club before turning right to pass Wheatley Farm and then north towards Hesketh Lane.
The route did a few loops in passing Barns Fold and then Horns reservoirs before passing through Inglewhite and on to join the A6 at Barton. The next section took the cars onto the little used roads in The Fylde area with the route instructions primarily based on fifteen Bridges that had to be crossed before rejoining the A6 just over a mile north of Barton. So far, the majority of navigators had managed to locate most of the code boards although nine had missed numbers 11 and 12.
The route now passed back to the east of the M6 and passed through Claughton, then to the east of Scorton before climbing up and passing to the left of Nicky Nook. At this point a nice view of Morecambe Bay could be seen to the west but drivers should have been watching the road and most navigators might still have been plotting and missed seeing it.
The final part of the route before the lunch halt went around the roads in the Hollins Lane area and only 8 cars managed to locate all 3 code boards located within about a mile of each other in that little section. All the cars that started arrived at the Manor Inn for about an hour’s Lunch break Buffet with car numbers 2, 4, 7, having done particularly well in locating 19 of the possible 20 codes followed by cars 1, 15, 18, 23 with 18 codes.
Starting the afternoon section, the route passed through Galgate before turning south west to a tricky little section in the Dolphinholme area. The crossroads in grid square 52/52 (map 102) are not quite as shown on the map and had to be used twice by using all four roads by approaching NW, departing SW, app SE, dep NE. The route then headed north again towards Quernmore and as in the morning section a Spot Height location caused some crews a problem. Only car number 4 succeeded in plotting correctly and locating all the codes on this first section of the afternoon with others either missing or finding some of the codes in the wrong order.
Before travelling east over the Trough of Bowland some cars missed the code on the gated road south through Abbeystead. After Dunsop Bridge the route did a loop south on the west of the River Hodder, over Doeford Bridge then headed north again east of the River through Whitewell. The final section that passed through Bashall caused little problems to most crews apart from the section that started just north of Stonyhurst College and finished entering Whalley.
The instruction was to pass through nine coloured road junctions before entering Whalley and all the cars failed to answer correctly a question that would prove they travelled the correct route. Crews had been told in the final instructions, and verbally at the briefing, not to use any road that was for access only. It would appear that most if not all crews ignored this instruction and, in an attempt, to get the section correct used the access only road that leaves Hurst Green to pass to the North of the Church before joining the B6243.
The correct route after leaving sh148, turn right and pass through college grounds, straight on at access only junction to the triangle at the junction with the B6243. By going the long way around the triangle, you pass through three junctions, one at each point of the triangle. Keep on the B road at the next junction and pass over the River and then keep on the B6243 at the next junction before turning right to Mitton Green and then left on to the B6246 at Great Mitton. Cars 4 and 10 recorded all 16 codes on the afternoon section followed by cars 9, 16 and 25 with 15.
If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned car 10 which recorded all 36 codes it’s because it was navigated by John Hartley, (Fellmans originator and brains of the event for the last 25 years) and I’m sure he won’t mind if I tell you that he had some prior knowledge of the route!
Thanks to all who marshalled, without their help the event wouldn’t take place. And finally, thanks to all of you that took part and I hope you enjoyed it enough to want to return for the 27th Fellsman when I shall try again to achieve the impossible by finding some roads that JH hasn’t previously used.