Christmas Handicap

*Postponed 2020 – See alternative event

The traditional Christmas Handicap Race is held over a hilly and usually muddy 8 mile course from the Fisherman Inn, Dowley Gap, Bingley. The course follows the Leeds – Liverpool canal to Hirst Locks from where a gruelling ascent of Hope Hill is made. Runners have to pass the trig point before descending via the riding stables to Spring Woods. The return journey is made via the White House (no not THAT one!) over an even more gruelling Hope Hill to retrace the route back to the Fisherman for a cold bath and a warm beer.

For those of you who might want to try your hand for the first time, there is a description of the route below. It must be pointed out however that much of the route is up to the choice of each individual and there are one or two places where different paths are taken. Runners must however follow the path through Low Springs Wood and must touch the trig point on the way out and on the way back.

The route description can be found below

 Race Details…

19th December 2020

First away 1:00pm.

Registration from the
Fisherman’s Pub from 12:00pm
Entry £2.00


Start – Dowley Gap Locks,

Contact the race organisers:
David Weatherhead
or email



2018 2017
2016 2015
2014 2013
2012 2011
2010 2009
2008 2007
2006 2005
2002 2001
2000 1999


START at the top of Dowley Gap Locks and then down the locks towpath and turn left over the hump back bridge (Bridge 206) and turn right along the canal towpath for 100m and just before crossing the Aquaduct drop down to the left and over stone stile in the low wall leading to the footpath along the river. Follow the footpath along the river bank and pass along the front of the rowing club (Bradford Amateur Rowing Club).

Pick up the track leaving the rowing club and 50m after the last building leave the track to the right and take the concrete footbridge with handrail (don’t follow the main track bearing left). Once over the bridge bear left across the grass towards the second concrete lampost and turn left and head for the bus shelter (bus terminus). Bear left across the road on to footpath at signpost ‘PUBLIC BRIDLEWAY & DALES WAY LINK F/P. Follow the walled footpath for 200m and at the path junction turn left. After 10m the right hand wall ends and is falling down, clamber over and climb the steep scrubby banking and reaching the top head for the right hand side of Brackenhall Farm.

Cross the road and take the signposted tarmac track (over the cattle grid) on the right hand side of Brackenhall Farm after 100m go through the metal gate on the left and then cross the field towards the metal gate in the far corner and climb stone step stile in the left hand wall. Bear right up the field to go through gateway and then keep to the wall on the right. When nearly at the top of the field look out for stone step stile in the wall. Climb the stile and turn immediately left and follow the wall to wooden gate with stile on the left hand side. Go through the stile (tight squeeze) and follow the rising very wet path to the Crook Farm Caravan site access road. Do NOT take the obvious path straight on from the passing place but turn left on the caravan park access road for 20m and then turn right up the path through ferns and climb quite steeply to Dobrudden Caravan site wall corner. At the wall corner head across the scrubby and wet fairly level section which then rises steeply to the top of Baildon Moor.

At the trig. point head over the top (if in doubt have a look at the direction plinth and basically follow the arrow towards ‘Leeds’). At the edge of the summit plateau head down towards the path following the edge of the golf course with the housing estate on the right. After 200m from the trig. point look out for seat and descend steeply. Towards the end of the path on the edge of the golf course approaching the road take the left hand fork to the road.

Cross the road (about 50m from the cattle grid) and take the path across the flat’ish wet scrubland towards the far corner of the houses (keep the dry stone wall on the right). Meet a narrow tarmac road at house ‘Strawberry Gardens’ and follow the road right. The road descends and bends left. When round the bend look out for a gate stile down a steep banking to the right. Go through the stile gate and down a few steps past the stables and continue down over a few stiles initially then with Hawthorn hedge on the right and lower down wall on the left. eventually go through gap between wall and large Holly tree then bear slightly right and down steep banking to the stream to cross the stepping stones.

Climb up stream bank for 5m then climb over wooden stile in fence on the left. Continue to follow the stream (upstream) for 600m on occasionally muddy path keeping barbed wire fence on the left. Just after the next wooden stile cross the wooden footbridge and after a few metres at the next wooden stile in fence go straight ahead on path. The path gradually climbs and bends right eventually climbing steeply to gap in wall. Go through the gap and continue straight forward across the field towards large tree. Look out for stile in wall by signpost and then go straight ahead keeping the fence on the left eventually going through metal farm gate to pick up a wall on the right. Follow the wall to corner and turn sharp right and after 20m go through stile and go straight ahead to the road.

Turn left up the road for 50m then cross to small car park. In the car park take path to left of black rubbish bin and sign ‘NO TIPPING NO DUMPING’ after 5m take the right hand (lower) path (do not take the left path uphill) continue on the lower path gradually curving left to the road. Don’t cross the road but keep on the track on the right hand side of the road and when this steepens look out for small path left and cross the road to path with stone at the start. Continue on this path gradually rising to meet the track to Dobrudden Caravan site. Turn left up the track curving right and when starting to level out at a convenient point head left to the top of Baildon Moor to the trig point.

Descend from the trig point is the reverse of the ascent but be careful leaving Baildon Moor plateau to head in the direction of the Dobrudden Caravan site left hand wall corner and then take the path down towards Crook Farm Caravan site to pick up the path down the fields towards Brackenhall. From Brackenhall tarmac track cattlegrid  head slightly left across to the woods and descend the steep banking to pick up the path back to the bus shelter then to and over the footbridge and back along the river bank path to meet the canal and on to FINISH at the top of Dowley Gap Locks.

Map of course