THERE was a significant sense of achievement on the fells of the North Pennines at the weekend.

And that wasn't just from the individual walkers and runners who crossed the finish line at the annual Allendale Challenge.

For organisers and long term supporters were in celebratory mood on Saturday, as the challenge marked its 30th anniversary.

All 850 places available in the event were taken, with participants from near and far keen to be part of the landmark occasion.

"It was a magnificent day," said Rachel Smith, of the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team, which organises the annual meeting of walkers and runners.

"We were maxed out in terms of numbers. We knew that we couldn't accommodate more than 850 participants in terms of resources and health and safety.

"But we were pleased to see such interest, and that so many people wanted to be part of our 30th anniversary year."

One of the mountain rescue team's founder members, Ian Holland, who has been involved with the event since it started, was among the participants.

Rachel added: "It rained towards the end, but apart from that we enjoyed good weather and good conditions."

The Allendale Challenge started and finished in Allendale, with the circular route taking walkers and runners through some of the North Pennines' most beautiful countryside.

The 25-mile (40 km) route through rural areas, included Hard Rigg, Black Hill and Kilhope Law, before returning to Allendale via Spartylea, the Drag, and Ladelwell.

Mountain rescue team members acted as marshals on the route, which took in some of the area's finest peat bogland.

The mountain rescue team was first established in the 1970s in response to an increase in the number of incidents on hills and fells in the area.

It is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers, and is funded by charitable donations.

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