Helwith Bridge Duathlon

Helwith Bridge Duathlon takes place om Sunday 13 October 2013.  The photos from Helwith Bridge Duathlon will be posted on racingsnakes.com and facebook/racingsnakes.com soon after the race.  Helwith Bridge is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park close to Horton in Ribblesdale and Settle. Helwith bridge is also the start of the 3 peaks cyclocross race.  I will be taking photographs of the duathlon at various points of the race.  High res photos of the Duathlon will be on sale, please support racingsnakes by purchasing the photos if you like them.

Helwith Bridge Duathlon

The Helwith Bridge Duathlon route starts with a 4 mile run.  The route heads the runners out from Helwith Bridge  to Little Stainforth, there is a great campsite here called Knight Stainforth.  The run route of the Helwith Bridge Duathlon heads down the small lane at the side of the campsite and over the very narrow bridge over the river Ribble (located at the side of the bridge on the campsite side is Janets Foss waterfall, at this time of the year Salmon can be seen jumping up the Foss in their annual trip to spawn).  The runners head up the short sharp hill to the main road, here they turn left and head back towards Helwith Bridge and the first transition.

Once at Helwith Bridge the ahletes put on their cycle helmets and bike shoes and head out on the second stage of the Helwith Bridge Duathlon. The cyclistshead out on loop round ingleborough in an anti-clockwise direction.  The riders head out to Horton in Ribblesdale and continue towards Selside and the famous Ribblehead viaduct.  From here there is usually a head wind as the riders head towards Ingleton passing the White Scar caves.  Just on the outskirts the riders take a left on Clapham Old Road.  The first 2 miles along this road is a good steady climb towards Cold Cotes junction (this is where the 3 peaks cyclocross racers rejoin the tarmac after scaling Ingleborough).  Once at Clapham the riders head towards Austwick.  There is a point where riders have previously had to do a short section on the A65 (a notorious accident blackspot) a new cycle path has been put in place here.  Once the riders reach Austwick it is a steady mostly uphill ride back to the next transition at Helwith Bridge. (except for the last half mile which is downhill).

helwith bridge duathlon bike

The final run retraces the first run route.

The overall distance of the Helwith Bridge Duathlon is 8 mile run and 23 mile bike.  The 8 mile run is actually two four mile runs, broken up with the cycle stage.

Lakeland Trails Photos

The Lakeland Trails photos from Coniston 2013 will be seen here as soon as possible after the race. The Coniston Lakeland Trails race took place on Saturday 6 October 2013, photos can be purchased from racingsnakes;

Lakeland Trails Race photos or on Facebook here

10 km photos can be seen here or tag them on facebook

Lakeland Challenge Photos or tag them on facebook

Challenge and Race photos coming soon.

To purschase a photo make a  note of the album name and photo number, then email mick@racingsnakes.com (if the race number is visible this also is a great help). Each photo will be digitally enhanced before sending out the high resloution image for only £5. Payment is upon receipt of the image.

Lakeland Trails Race 2013

The Lakeland Trails are a well established company that offer trail runs in and around the Lake District National Park. The Lakeland Trails Races, and have good amount of loyal followers that race every race they put on.  This is the sixth race of the 2013 series. There are 3 Lakeland Trails races on the day, the first race will be the 10km run around a flatish route that sees the runners finishing with a final run in along the shores of Lake Coniston.  This race is ideal for those starting out in trail running.

The second start will be the Lakeland Trails Challenge, this is a much tougher 15km route than the 10km run, not just because it is a further 5 kms but the fact that the Lakeland Trails route heads into the foothills of ‘The Old Man of Coniston’.  Don’t worry you don’t summit the mountain but the ascent up to the old copper mines is enough to get the fittest runners out of breath.  Once climbed the far reaching views are fantastic and worth the discomfort felt from climb.  The trails are well marked out and marshalled, safety cover is also provided but rarely needed.

The third race of the day is the Lakeland Trails race, this follows the same route as the challenge but usually attracts the more serious runners and club runners.

The 2012 photos from last years races can be found from following the link from Lakeland Trails Coniston  http://racingsnakes.com/photos.php

Wasdale Triathlon Photos

Wasdale Triathlon Photos  – link to photographs . The Wasdale triathlon is being billed as the hardest half ironman in the world, and few would argue, the stage is in the Lake District National Park .  I feel privilaged to be the Official Photographer for the Wasdale Triathlon and hopefully Wasdale Triathlon Photos will do its justice.  From a photographers point of view it will also be a hard day out, trying to get the swimmers in action, chasing the lead riders to a good viewpoint and getting back to photo the runners on the Lake District hills (there’s no roads here, so some careful planning is needed to capture the Wasdale Triathlon Photos

Wasdale Tri - run stage

The Wasdale tri, start off’s off with  a 1.2 mile swim in the coldest lake in Britain (technically it’s not a lake!), even with a wetsuit and a couple of swim hats this is a cold swim, but it does say Wasdale triathlon is hard.  At least the bike must be easier – wrong, its a brutal ride over Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass, Hardknott Pass has a 33% gradient and is the steepest gradient road in England, Wrynose isnt far behind with 30% gradient.  The Wasdale tri, is brutal, and to prove it you head down the road around Neaum Cragg, back over Blea Tarn and do the Wrynose followed by Hardknott Passin the opposite direction.  I will surely get some good photos of the riders suffering! as they climb these passes.

Wasdale Tri - Bike stage

After the 56 mile bike leg the Wasdale triathlon goes on to the next stage – surely an easy jog around the lake shores of Wasdale – wrong. The Wasdale Triathlon organiser has a mean streak, he is sending the runners up high into the hills along the corridor route to climb Englands highest Mountain Scafell Pike. This is a hard fell run of 13.1 miles and after the swim and bike will be telling on the legs, the steep sided hills will surely bring on the dreaded cramp.  The run returns and the Wasdale Triathlon finishes at the North East end of Wast Water.

3 peaks cyclocross photos

3 Peaks Cyclocross Photos

3 peaks cyclocross photos. On Sunday 29 September 2013 I was planning to be taking pictures / photos of the 3 peaks cyclocross. This will not now happen as I received a last minute booking to photograph the Wasdale Triathlon event, Sorry I will be missing the race, but I am really pleased to have been booked to take photo’s of the hardest half ironman in the world! 

Last year I took photos of the three peaks cyclocross in terrible conditions, there was a strong wind blowing a Hooleyand the rain was torrential, preventing rain on the lense was a challenge. It was a tough day for all the riders and the marshalls.The 3 peaks cyclocross pictures from 2012 can be seen here.

3 Peaks Cyclocross race 2012

The race will start from Helwith Bridge, North Yorkshire at 09:30am (on the outskirts of Horton in Ribblesdale). The three peaks cyclocross race is being billed as the toughest and longest cyclocross race in the UK if not the World, and few would argue against this.  The 3 peaks cyclocross race is 38 miles long (61 kilometers) with 5000 feet of ascent (1524 meters).  The riders first head out from Helwith Bridge through Horton in Ribblesdale and head towards the Ribblehead viaduct before turning off towards Gill Garth Farm, this first section is controlled by the race directors car, and all riders must follow the car.  After here the race starts proper, the hill kicks up and there is an evil climb up the side of Ingleborough, which includes getting over a stile.  Once Ingleborough is summited the riders descend to coldcotes.  This section has bike eating bogs, and often a rider can be seen after flying through the air bikeless!

From Coldcotes the 3 peaks cyclocross riders progress on the road to just before the Hill Inn, a left turn is taken along an asphalted farm track towards the next off road section at the foot of Whernside.  The three peaks cyclocross riders will the be carrying their bikes up the steep off road section, up stone steps on the rough track before the fitter riders get back on their cyclocross bikes to ride along the shoulder of Whernside and start the descent.  The descent is for the brave, the track has drainage troughs running diagnally across the track, along with slippy stone flags.  More than one rider will puncture going down here, and there is usually a gathering of wheel men (support crew, with spare wheels at hand) at the bottom of the descent for the quick wheel change.

Three peaks cyclocross events photos

The 3 peaks cyclocross riders then pass under the famous and impressive Ribblehead viaduct, before rejoining the road to head back to Horton Ribblesdale.  One more hill to go, this is an out and back for the cyclocross riders, up Penyghent and back down.  Often you will see close calls here!  By this I mean a slower rider struggling going up hill with a racing snake descending at full speed and meeting on a corner!  Once back down to the road a couple of miles sprint back along the road to finish line at Helwith Bridge.

Three Peaks Cyclocross Photos.


Tour of Britain Photos Honister Pass 2013

Tour of Britain Photos Honister Pass

Pictures / Photos from the Tour of Britain 2013 stage 2 race over Honister Pass can be seen on Racing Snakes.

On Monday 16 Septemebr 2013 the Tour of Britain also known as the ToB was held in Cumbria.  Armed with my camera I headed to the King of The Mountains stage at Honister Pass to capture the race in photos.  The forecast was horrible, high winds, heavy rain showers or wintry showers, it didnt dissapoint!  The only blessing for the Tour of Britain riders was that there was a tail wind pushing the riders up the Honister Pass.  I wanted to capture photos that were ‘gritty’ showing the pain in the riders of the Tour of Britain as they headed up towards the summit of Honister Pass.  The Tail wind was good news for the riders but bad news for the photos, an event photographers nightmare, the rain would be blowing straight into the lense of the camera, making the photos blurred if water hit the lense.  In a race like this you only get one chance to get a photo, and on Honister pass there is also big crowds all jostling and encouraging the ToB riders, the spectators are a lively bunch and wont politely stand to the side whilst you set up a tripod and camera, and righfully so, that’s why I love this sport, you can get close and personal to the riders. 

Honister Pass Tour of Britain

I took my camper van up early to make sure I got a parking space close to the summit of Honister pass.  I was going to be there a while and the non ending supply of tea and food was going to make the long day in horrible conditions a lot more bareable. The Tour of Britain race was due to reach the summit of Honister around 1pm, I arrived at about 7.30am.  On arriving early I took the dog and camera out for a walk to take photos on the hills from Fleetwith Pike.  A good view of the Tour of Britain route can be seen from here, twisting its way up the Buttermere valley from Cockermouth (or on a good day with clear skies),  I took some photos but dindn’t hold much hope as the weather was not being kind.  After the walk I returned to the van for refreshments and watched the steady stream of spectators climbing the Honister Pass on their bikes from both directions.  

Sky Team climbing Honister Pass 2013

The tour of britain was to tackle Honister pass with its 25% gradients. I found a spot that would be at one of the hardest point of the climbs, 200 meters before the summit of Honister Pass, this should be a great spot to capture the best photos.  The next hour was pretty uncomfortable with the high winds and torrential downpours as we awaited the first of the riders.  As the first of the riders arrived I croutched down with camera set on a fast shutter speed and snapped away trying to capture photos of the faces of the riders as they stared at the road 2 meters in front of their front wheel.  There was lots of jostling with other spectators and once or twice I had to lean out into the path of the riders to get the perfect photo.

Tour of Britain Honister Pass photos

The Tour of Britain photos of Honister Pass 2013 can be seen here

Buttermere Triathlon Photos 2013

On Saturday 14 Septemeber 2013 I took photos at the Buttermere Tri. Buttermere Triathlon photos 2013 links can be found at the bottom of this post. For me this was a first, I have not previously taken photos at a triathlon.  It turned out to be fantastic day, the weather was very kind, good for the race and good for the photos. Over 200 competitors turned up for the Buttermere Triathlon, the event centtre was at Buttermere, the race organise/director is Ian Mulvey from High Terrain Events.  I know Ian from old when we used to compete against each other at Adventure Races.

Buttermere Triathlon swim

There were a few faces I recognised, but mostly I had not come across these guys and girls before.  The lake was flat calm with swirls of mist around hugging the lower parts of the Mountains.The first leg of the tri was a swim was on Buttermere.  Two buoys had been inflated and the swimmeres set off in a clockwise direction heading diagnally across the lake.  There was an impressive amount of kayaks on the lake offering water safety coverage.  It was a mass start and an impressive sight to see 200 swimmersstarting off together,  two swimmers soon got an early lead and looked impressive, the water conditions were calm and kind to the athletes.  The homeward leg on the swim for these triathletes was cold, this is where the entry stream brings in the cooler water and by this time in the race the adrenaline is subsiding and the cold is felt much more.

Buttermere triathlon 2013 tri

Once out of the water there was a 200m run to the transition area, A quick change on to the bikes, the first 200m wason a farm track and care was needed not to punctureon the lead up to the road.  The first couple of miles is flattish running at the side of Buttermere before the first of the big climbs on he bike stage, Hoinistor Pass, this hill kicks up 25% in places.  I had run back to the van and drove to the top of Honistor after seeing the first swimmers finish and just got there in time to see the lead riders summiting the col (two days after the tri, the Tour of Britain is scheduled to ride this mountain pass).  The riders then descended in Borrowdale andtraveled down the side of Derwentwater and made their way to the foot of the next climb Whinlatter pass.  Again this a tough long climb particulalry on tired legs. After this follows a long descent into Lorton and back along the Buttermere valley.  I had positioned myself on the side of Crummock water with the idea that I could photograph both the riders from this area, allowing for the fast racing snakes  who were nearing the end of their race to be photographed alongside those still finishing the last two miles of the ride.

Buttermere triathlon run

The final event of the Buttermere Triathlon was the run which circumnavigated Crummock water.  The West side of the lake has a rough track which to many triathletes is quite alien.  The run route is flattish howver with less than 2 miles to the end there is a sting in the tail with the run Climbing Rannerdale Knotts, as hort steep climb with steps that triggers the cramp for the runners.

Enough of my ramblings, pictures of the race can be seen here,


with full resolution high quality pictures available for purchase, enjoy and leave a reply if you like…




Lakeland Trails Photos 15km Keswick 2013

On Saturday 7 September I went to photograph the Lakeland Trails 15km races. There were a number of races being held as part of the Lakeland Trails event, these included a fun run, a 10km race,  and two 15km races.  The races started from Fitz Park in the centre of Keswick in the lake District.   The 15 km route took the racers along the old railway line to the East before the climb of the foothill of Blencathra, heading up towards Skiddaw House.  The track met the Cumbria way where the runners then headed South on the homeward leg.  This offered the runners great views over High Rigg, The Dodds and Helvellyn.  The final part of the run was to skirt around Latrigg before the descent into Keswick and the welcome finishing banners set up in Fitz Park.

lakeland trail 15 keswick

The 15km races were set off in two waves, the first wave setting off at 1pm and the second an hours later.  The racers were given either a yellow race number (1st wave) or a white number (the 2nd wave).  This made for some interesting photos as the faster racingsnakes from the second race were overtaking the slower runners from first race.  The weather was mixed to say the least, the slower runners on the second race got the best views of the day as the sun tried to break through the clouds.

I placed myself on the descent down to Whitbeck, this promised to have a great backdrop to the South.  If the sun was going to shine it might cause a few problems but that was unlikely today!  The problem challenge of the day was keeping the rain off the lense, the lense hood helped a bit but a brolley would have been the best option.

It was great to see so many runners having a great time, and thanks for waves and the friendly banter.  I do hope the guy that was walking down the hill made it back safely!! I asked after his well-being on seeing him walking, he replied “I cant run”, I said there was a medic round the corner, to which he replied ” I dont want a medic, I want toilet paper”!  Perhaps a new piece of manadatory kit for the FRA rules?

Lakeland Trails 15km

Me and Jess (the border collie)  had a great day on the hill, see you next time

Pictures are up on the facebook page.  High resolution photo’s are available for £5.00 each, payment via paypal.  contact mick@racingsnakes.com





FREE Sports Photography for your customers.

free sports photography - robinson open adventure c2c adventure race

FREE sports event photography

That’s got your attention!  Probably the best way to promote your event is to employ a photographer.  People love to see pictures of their friends, or for the more vain, themselves :-). A sports photographer will come along for a fee, snap away on their digital SLR and at the end of the day you have hundreds of photo’s of your event to do as you please.  If you choose to share these with your customers for free via the likes of facebook it becomes a very powerful marketing tool for your next event.  For every photo that gets tagged it is seen by that persons friends, the average facebook user now has 190 friends, thats means each person tagged is potentially seen by 190 potential racers (and thats without photo shares), add your logo to the event, encourage likes on your page and you have a great marketing tool.  That’s just the start, with other social sites like twitter, instagram etc. along with your blog and website and you soon get the idea of just how valuable a sports event photographer is.

To get the most out of your investment in a sports photographer you should get someone that not only knows photography but also knows about the sport and racing (that’s me!!!).  It’s no good employing a sports photographer that is out of breath looking at a hill never mind climbing one with heavy kit on his or her back, if all the action is taking place up on the hills. As a racer I know the likley best lines the racers will take, ensuring I am at the right spot with camera in hand rather than stood 500m away looking in the wrong direction.   I have plenty of experience in adventure racing/ fell running, mountain biking, ultra running and navigation events.

I will come along to take your event photography, taking high quality sports photographs of your event for a fixed fee (hourly rate + travel).  Post event I will use lightroom to enhance the photo’s  and add logos/ branding as required. I can offer advice on marketing and getting the most from the photographs. Introductory offer of only £130 for full day (£70 half day).

For a chat or to book contact for; mick@racingsnakes.com leave me your contact details and I will call to give you more details.

FREE sports event photography

“Great Photo’s” – James Thurlow – openadventure

carlton bank

Open Cycling’s Coast 2 Coast in a day

Over 450 riders complete Open Cycling’s Coast 2 Coast in a day epic 150 mile sportive

Written by Fi Wilson   Photos:  Stuart Holmes

Coat to Coast in a Day

On Saturday 29th June, 472 riders set off from Seascale on the far Western edge of the Lake District for the epic 150 Coast 2 Coast in a day sportive, organised by Open Cycling. The event finished at Whitby, with the fastest riders coming in under 9 hours. One rider described it as “beautiful and brutal in equal measure”.


Starting on the wind-blown Seascale beach, riders were wrapped up against a chilly morning as they set off between 5 and 8 am. But soon the clusters of riders had warmed up as they crossed the mountainous Western Lake District, taking in Wrynose and Hardknott passes before dropping down to cross Windermere by ferry. By now, most had stripped off their windproofs and donned sunglasses, and the streams of riders were a fantastic sight for the tourists and dog walkers as they  poured through the outskirts of the village in their brightly coloured jerseys, advertising local bike shops, charities or their favourite pro team.


At the first feed station in Kendal, the sun was out and the groups of friends, both elite riders and novices alike, were enjoying the delicious food laid on by Open Cycling. “These snacks are great – there’s allsorts here, from porkpies to carrot cake”, gasped one rider raising money for a Leukaemia charity, “but I can’t stay here and eat all day. We’re only 40 miles in!”


After the first long and hilly leg, feed stations came thick and fast, all within 25-35 miles. This broke the long distance up for the riders and gave them something to focus on. In many cases, riders were met by family and friends, who had skirted around the clearly marked route and made their way via some less undulating A-roads to the stops to cheer on their loved ones. “It keeps you going”, admitted a member of the Back to Back Coast to Coasters, whose supporters were out in force, (and had been the previous day too, as this group were doing the cross twice in two days to raise money for Help for Heroes).


As the heat of the sunny June day was beginning to cool, most of the riders were making their way over the beautiful Yorkshire Moors towards Whitby. Those who thought they’d left the hills behind them in the Lakes were surprised by some ‘cheeky’ climbs late on. “Your legs are so tired, but you have to keep pushing on because you can almost smell the fish and chips in Whitby!” explained Barbara Lonsdale, the fastest female rider on the day.


A fantastic crowd of supporters and locals had congregated on the green at the top of the beautiful Victorian seaside town of Whitby, near the famous whale bones and monument to Captain Cook. Every rider streaming past the clapping crowds was greeted by Open Cycling director, James Thurlow, who hung a well-earned medal around their necks and congratulated them for their epic achievement.


By sunset, only 25 riders remained on the course, including Tracey Tickner, who had been roped into tackling the challenge by her partner, who then had to pull out. Not one to be defeated, Tracey battled onwards, on her hefty hybrid town bike, completing the distance in just short of 19 hours. “An incredible achievement”, admitted volunteer marshal Tom Needham. “Totally inspirational”.


The Coast 2 Coast crossing is a classic challenge for any road cyclist, and by providing transfers from and back to Penrith, plus camping, well-stocked feed stations and easy to follow signage, the Open Cycling Coast 2 Coast is an easy way of taking on the challenge. All you have to do is pedal! Entries for 2014 open on 1st October (http://www.opencycling.com/index.php)

Highlander Mountain Marathon Report

highlanderThis past weekend saw the Highlander Mountain Marathon take to the hills for the eighth year and much further south than it normally ventures. Based in the area around Creag Meagaidh, near Laggan, the 400 competitors in the 5 classes had full Scottish conditions to contend with.


Saturday saw wall to wall sunshine for most of the day, making the navigation a bit easier, but the deep snow covering many of the tops and gullies added plenty of hardship. With a midway camp nestled up a remote glen, the competitors carried all their kit for the 2 days, including all overnight camping equipment, over the mountains for anything between 4 and 10 hours.


Shane Ohly and Jim Mann were fastest on the day for the A course, going into day 2 with a 20 minute lead.   Gary Tompsett and Gavin Miles, past winners of the A class, were 35 points clear in the score class after 7 hours of running over the mountains.

Elsewhere, the D class was hotly contested with the top 3 teams all within 3 minutes of each other. A chasing start on Sunday morning was going to be a close run affair for these teams. Who would hold their nerve?


As runners finished beneath the giant Haglöfs arch, and bagged the dry spots to pitch their minimalist tents, eyes turned to the hills to wait for the last of the competitors to come in safe and sound.  Meanwhile finishers were enjoying their well earned hot cup of tea and hearty meal before the bar opened and they could start on the beers whilst enjoying the Ceilidh band! Yes, there really is a beer tent with full Scottish Ceilidh (including Ceilidh dancing) at the Highlander MM overnight camp.


The marquee was buzzing with chat from the day, discussing routes with friends both old and new, chatting about which beer to try next, enjoying being in the warm and not hunkered down in a tent, (that’s not big enough for either racer, let alone 2 of you), and getting set to dance to some of the ceilidh music from the live band.  Some people were overheard wishing every Mountain Marathon was like this.


Come 6am Sunday morning, as competitors awoke to ‘Insomnia’ blaring out of the speaker system, the sun had been replaced by the rain, and a steady drizzle came down all morning.  Runners set off from 7am, fuelled by their hot breakfast, and spurred on by the thought of dry clothes at the finish line.


The chasing start began at 7:30am, and then there was almost a mass start at 8:30am as the Leaders in all classes grabbed their control descriptions, marked up their maps and ran away to the hills past the avenue of Haglöfs’ bright flutter flags and into the gloomy looking mountains.


In true Scottish style, the competitors got all four seasons on day 2 with wind, rain, snow, sun, and repeat! With the chase on for some teams, it was going to be interesting to see who would come down off the mountains first.


Shane and Jim weren’t caught and took top honours in the A Class in an overall time of 9 hrs 08:24 to take home the coveted Highlander sword for the year. On course D it as a very close finish, the top 5 teams all finished within 6 minutes of each other, with the Female pair of Cat Sutherland and Kim Hallam taking the honours in 8 hrs 43:23 after lying in 2nd overnight.


Gary Tompsett and Gavin Miles extended their lead in the score class with a total of 780 points, Magnus Andersson and Fredrik Hedin had 2 solids days, winning both to take overall first place in the B class in a time of 9 hrs 25:04 , whilst  Jacques Penderis and Jo Armstrong took both individual days to win the C class overall by 50 minutes in an overall time of 8hrs 33:08.


It had been 2 great days of Scottish weather and conditions for the Highlander Mountain Marathon. Some 400 competitors had braved it all, finishing wet, tired, cold footed and sunburnt. But they had all loved it.


We hope to everyone back again next year to keep the spirit of the Highlander alive, the ceilidh music going and the beer flowing.