The first weekend in April was a tale of high winds in high places as dozens of Harriers braved Storm Kathleen to compete on the fells.

At the classic Pendle Fell Races, on Saturday, a strong cohort of RMI juniors travelled to Barley, in witch country, to compete in the vertiginous race on the slopes of Pendle Hill.

In the Under-nines’ race, April Mort was second girl home in a time of 4mins 36secs, kicking the day off on a positive note for those in red and black vests.

Next came the U11s, with Louis Yates producing a strong run to finish in sixth place in 5:18, while Jennifer Irving came in after 7:43 over their 1.19km (50m) course. Harry O’Connor was flying the flag solo in the U13s and ran very well in his first fell race (22:56), getting a flavour of the unique British sport as he arrived at the finish windswept and covered in mud.

Harry Yates produced the run of the day in the U15s’ race, narrowly missing the podium by six seconds (21:21), while Kitty Crossland had a cracking run, too, finishing fifth female in the same race, in 22:42.

In the final junior race of the day, the U17s, Mark Titmuss held his own at the front end of a competitive 4.4 km (245m) route, finishing fourth in a time of 24:26. As ever, the juniors were ably assisted with hot soup, chocolate treats and shouts of encouragement by club stalwarts Tony and Brenda Hesketh.

In the 7.25 km (457m) senior race, Mark Walsh came in fourth MV50 (41:51) over the classic route, putting himself in contention for selection for Lancashire at the inter-counties in Keswick on April 21.

On the same day, Rochdale Harriers hosted the third round of the 2024 Run The Moors Grand Prix, also doubling as the Horwich Harrier’s fell championships, the Wardle Skyline Fell Race.

In what the organisers dubbed ‘the windiest edition’ of the race, a strong contingent of Thursday Hills regulars braved the blowy conditions to bag valuable points.

First Harrier home was Matt Fawthrop, finishing in sixth place, in 54:46. Sandra Kelly, Alison Mort and Helen MacDonald took a commanding win in the ladies’ team classification, proving Horwich are a force to be reckoned with in the season-long series. Some 45mph gusts blasted across the 11.3km (381m) course, which took in several summits around the South Pennines, causing Gary Porteous to lose his race number and Doug Fleming to christen it a “six-pin day”.

At the Alan Kirk Memorial Lad’s Leap Fell Race, in Derbyshire, also on Saturday, MV45 Nick Leigh was the sole representative from Horwich in the second race of the English Fell Championships.

He was to rue a fast pace on the first climb as he faded slightly through the pack throughout the remainder of the 9.5km (518m) race.

Nevertheless, Leigh rallied gamely to finish fourth in his age category (51:17) and hold on to his second MV45 place in the fell championships.