YOUNG runners from across the district packed out the playing fields at Haydon Bridge High School.

Pupils from 10 local schools took part in the annual School Games cross country festival, where they ran a specially configured 1,250m course.

The figure-eight shaped route took the children around the cricket field, up to the school’s Waite Farm, and back.

The event was co-ordinated by the School Games organiser for Tynedale, Damien Dimmick, and was led by young sports leaders from Haydon Bridge High.

Head of PE Liz Hicks said the school welcomed Year 3 and 4 pupils from the village’s Shaftoe Trust Academy, primary schools at Newbrough, Henshaw, and Greenhead, and first schools at Haltwhistle, Chollerton, Prudhoe Castle, Mickley, and Hexham’s Sele First School.

She added: “There was a bumper entry of 220 runners for this year’s annual cross country festival at Haydon Bridge High School. The aim of the afternoon was to get as many children as possible active, having fun and challenging themselves, and whilst it was designed to be non-competitive, the series of runs were, in reality, hotly contested.”

The young runners were put through their paces by the sports leaders, before taking part in a boys’ race, a girls’ race and a mixed race over one lap. There was a further option of completing a two lap run, and the vast majority of the children took up the challenge.

The event afforded valuable experience for 33 of Haydon Bridge High’s accredited sports leaders, drawn from this year’s Northumberland Volunteer Coaching Academy, the Football Association’s Game of our Own coaches, and Step into Sport leaders.

Feedback on their performance from the visiting staff and children was glowing, with the leaders credited with offering vital support and encouragement.