The Crag Rat Run – in pictures
Here’s a taste of what to expect as we take you around the five miles of our ‘Crag Rat Run’.
More details of the event can be found on the Main Race Page.
Knaresborough Cricket Club, the Striders’ clubhouse, on Aspin Lane is the base for the race.
Starting outside the pavilion, the race begins with an anti-clockwise lap of the pitch.
Completing the Cricket pitch lap, the course heads right out of the gates onto Aspin Lane.
Heading right out of the Cricket Club, a there’s a 100m downhill dash on tarmac before hitting our first trail section. A chance to grab a couple of positions perhaps.
Turning right into the bridleway, we run past the bottom of the Cricket Club towards the crag.
No time for playing as we sweep left under the trees past the Aspin playpark
We cross into a trail as we sweep around the eastern end of the crag.
Meeting a crossroads in the trails, we dive right down this tunnel-like section, descending quickly from the crag onto Abbey Road.
Meeting the tarmac of Abbey Road, we head left and NE towards the Wetherby Road. This is one of the faster sections of the course.
A brief glance over the wall to your right will reveal the Lido, Weir and Mill Cafe nestling down in the valley…
As we reach the end of Abbey Road we pass the gateway to St.Robert’s Cave. It’s the 800th Anniversary of his death this year.
A short descent leads us to the junction with the Wetherby Road, where we head right over the River Nidd on the Grimbald Bridge.
Now the climbing begins! We head straight up the footpath into the old Wetherby Road section, a dead-end since the Retail Park was developed nearby.
We find ourselves at the roundabout where we make a right turn following the footpath. Don’t worry though, we’re not headed onto the by-pass!
Almost immediately, we slip-off the pavement onto this scrabbly track leading us up into the Lido.
We head down through the Lido caravans towards Birkham woods.
Here we enter the woods for a change of scenery.
Once into the ancient Birkham Woods, we bear right at this fork, up the main trail on the north-side of the woods.
One of the oldest routes in and out of Knaresborough, this was used King John and the Knights Templar when staying at nearby Plompton. It’s a little uneven underfoot here, not to mention quite a climb, so take care.
Glancing to the right as we ascend through the woods, we can see the spire of Holy Trinity, Knaresborough in the distance.
At the top of the hill we bear right, continuing on trail.
This section of hidden trail runs parallel to the nearby bypass. It can be a little soggy in places.
At the trail’s end, we bear right back towards Knaresborough. This is the only part of the course adjacent to a road, but the decent tarmac path will take you through the third mile at an increased pace!
After a steady climb the road descends from Thistle Hill down to Calcutt. Our target here is the Union Pub.
Just beyond the Union Pub, there will be our Drinks Station, after which we bear right past the old chapel, heading down to the south bank of the River Nidd.
Brief short grass and bark chipping sections take us gently downhill.
Reaching the riverside path, we head left towards the ‘Low Bridge’.
We weave between the houses of Spitalcroft, gently uphill.
We have now reached Blands Hill, where thankfully we turn right downhill, staying on the right past the Mother Shipton Pub.
Care needs to be taken over the narrow footpath of Low Bridge crossing back over the Nidd.
We turn right at the Half Moon into the Eastern end of Abbey Road and running downstream with the Nidd.
We quickly pass the ‘House in the Rock’…
…and the sandstone Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag, built in 1408.
Good news! We’re already back at the ‘Crag’ which gives our run its name. Bad news… we need to be on top of it by the finish. You know what that means…
A few hundred metres later, we reach the delightful ‘Rock Cottage’. Time to say goodbye to Abbey Road. See that signpost? That’s where we’re going! So a sharp left takes us up the crag!
The first part of our ‘zigzag’ up the crag is short and sharp on gravel. It’s narrow here.
You quickly reach this junction and head right, continuing upwards.
The main drag up the crag is on narrow trail and between bushes. Pace yourself… it’s not quite over yet.
The sting in the tail! The steepest part of our climb is only a handful of steps, but they’ll test you. The rest will feel flat after this, honest!
Crag conquered, we head LEFT at the top along the ‘Crag Top’ path, towards the town.
With the crag edge to your left and houses to the right, it’s a only a gentle incline here and you’re nearly back…
Time to turn towards home. We swing right off the Crag path through a narrow ginnel.
This short gravel opening might be a chance to grab a position. We’re aiming for that narrow grassy lane straight ahead…
Plunging into the narrow gap, this might be a chance to keep the opposition behind for a few moments.
We meet Aspin Lane and head right, downhill towards the Cricket Club.
See that bend in the road ahead? That’s our destination for the big finish. A chance to stretch your legs now on the final tarmac stretch downhill.
Swinging back into the Cricket Club, we stay right, passing behind the Clubhouse before making one final anti-clockwise lap of the Cricket pitch, ending as we began.
After being cheered on around the final lap, you’ll cross the line right in front of the Clubhouse where you began around 5 miles ago.