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Reservoir Dogs Ultra

01-Jul-2017 Otley, West Yorkshire, UK (England)


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Trail Race Race Terrain
60KM / 37Miles
1 Day

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Basic Route Details: Reservoir Dogs is a tour around 7 of the reservoirs that serve the Leeds area, starting with Lindley Wood Reservoir in North Yorkshire, the route then goes to Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir before heading over to John O’Gaunt, Beaver Dyke, Scargill Reservoirs before returning to West Yorkshire via Stainburn Forest and Almscliffe Crag to Eccup Reservoir before finishing in Pool-in-Wharfedale. For the shorter race you return straight back to Pool-in-Wharfedale before Eccup Reservoir. All finishers of both distances will receive a T-Shirt and medal. Those that complete the full distance will be listed before those doing the shorter distance.

1. Norwood 9km (5.5. miles)
2. Blubberhouses 18 km (11 miles)
3. Stainburn 29km (18 miles)
4. Weeton 38km (23 miles)
Then the 57km race has an extra checkpoint
5. Eccup 50km (31 miles)
The route is mainly off road on public footpaths and tracks.
A GPX file of the exact route is available upon request.


Event Organiser
Ryk Downes



Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Review Reservoir Dogs Ultra

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05:58 05-08-17

The sun always shines for Punk Panther. This race was the third in this new series of Ultras; see also review for The Welcome Ultra and A Bridge Too Far.
As for the other two races, the sun was out and, for this summer, it was warm too. The preceding week there had been a lot of rain and one small section of the route had been diverted out of Stainburn Forest to avoid the standing the water. However nearly all the route was mostly dry and the ground was firm but not hard. So, near perfect conditions.
A familiar start to the route: heading north out of Otley, picking up the Six Dales Trail through Weeton. Before entering the Washburn Valley and heading down to the first reservoir – Farnley and then a short steep road climb to the first check point.
The route then follows the Washburn Valley on the west side of Swinsty and Fewston Reservoirs, to check point two at the northern point of Fewston. This section is undulating and on mostly hard tracks, and continues until nearly a full circuit of both reservoirs is completed. Fortunately this section is undertaken early in the morning before too many dog walkers and buggy walkers arrive.
Up to this point, most of the route was very familiar having, run and walked around here many times. However leaving Swinsty to head up to Beaver Dyke and beyond was mostly new territory for me. This was one of the attractions of this series of races. Which are in my locality, but piece together route sections I have neither run nor walked before.
This next 30 mile section pieced together numerous sections of sublime countryside, that was a delight to run and with clear skies and warm sun, and good company, (Dave Reynier, who has great a Ultra pedigree with a few 100’s and many more between 40 and 60 under his belt), I say company; Nursemaid and personal trainer and motivator is more accurate.
[A short literary diversion, (the running ones are to come), my new and naïve and not recommended training plan. Coming up to the Welcome Way, the inaugural event in the Punk Panther series, I had injured myself in the Rombald’s Stride – muscle strain probably. So my preparation for the Welcome Way consisted of four weeks of no running. I undertook the race really as a tourist and was not even sure I would finish. That I did finish, in very muddy conditions, lulled me into a false sense of security, being one that I don’t need to train that much, as long as I am happy to get around the course in a reasonable time and make the most of the scenery.]
Well I made the most of the scenery, I got around in a reasonable time this time – but it would have been a lot less painful if I had undertaken some more training for this race.
Beaver Dyke and Scargill Reservoirs were unexpected, hidden treasures. It was a warm day, ahead was a group of teenagers, one of which appeared to be wearing a fleece Onesie. Upon catching them up, it was indeed a Onesie. It was a DoE, day two, group, who had morphed from a presumably fresh faced, perfectly-packed-kit day one group, into a bedraggled mostly morose post slumber party group who just wanted to be home.
After the check point at Stainburn Forest, a generally gentle downhill approach to Almscliffe Crag lead onto Weeton. Thank you, to the marshal here, who ran after me, waving my waterproof jacket I had carelessly left behind, when, refilling my hydration pack.
Another great section of running through woodland and alongside the river Wharfe to the A61, where not reading the instructions nor looking at the map, but going where you think you is correct was a familiar schoolboy error. One I tend to repeat at some point in all my races. So we lost a bit of time here, trying to locate the correct entrance to the Harewood Estate.

Dave said, ‘do you think we may see some deer’, ‘how about those 50 or so over there’, said I. Another lovely section through the grounds and finally passing the coach parties visiting the Em*****ale Farm set. Another Dale I had not visited before.
Schoolboy error number two – yellow tape on the left, 20m later yellow tape on the right, attached to a footpath sign at 90 degrees to the right – does not mean you should turn right. But we did, and rather than admitting we should turn back, as we had lost sight of the yellow tape markers, we, (well I really), decide to press on. Which means we arrived at the North West edge of Eccup reservoir, which we were meant to get to eventually but not before we tracked back to the North East edge of the reservoir to do nearly a full loop of the reservoir, adding a dog leg of about 1.5 miles.
The last check point was a welcome relief, and then just a few miles across farmland paths before dropping to Arthington Church and the final couple of road miles before the usual finish at Pool-in-Wharfedale Methodist Church Hall, with goodie bag, hot and cold food and hot and cold drinks.
Another great day out; another great event, superbly organised and marshaled, and I am now looking forward to the next round in September. With an amended training plan?

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