Top of the Gorge Festival 2019

I was gutted to miss the 2018 Top of the Gorge festival so when I noticed a few mates (Andrei Burton) were going to be there this year I made sure I was going. A couple of people put me in touch with Patrick Kinsella, the event organiser, and he was happy for me to attend with my camera.

Andrei Burton putting on a show at the TotG Festival with Saltrock

It was heaving it down as I packed up my kit in the garage so I grabbed my Vivobarefoot SGs knowing that it was going to be a bit sloppy and slippery. Thankfully, after a bit of a drizzly start, the sun did come out on Friday evening… that was the last time.

In Patrick’s own words “Ah, ’twas only weather – that great landscape wouldn’t be there without a bit of rain every now and then”. It’s clear to see that the event is put on by those who make the most of bad weather, for those who just equally get on with it. Massive credit is due to the everyone there, guests included who braved the less than ideal conditions and still have a great time.

Ben Smith from the 401 Challenge giving a talk at the Top of the Gorge festival

Listening to Ben Smith on the Friday evening was a real eye opener. He spoke with humour, truth and passion and really captured everyone’s attention. After a few beers, I headed back to my tent for an early night knowing that I had a busy weekend a head of me.

A runner tackles the Relish Running Omnium at Cheddar Top of the Gorge Festival 2019

The Relish Running Omnium event was a great way to feel my flow again after being away from photographing this sort of thing for a while. I finished off the evening listening to Jo Bradshaw, Claire Maxted & Connor Roe and devouring some of the great food on offer (washed down with some more Hardrock Pale Ale, of course)

The next morning I headed up Hells Steps to get some images of the runners completing the 10k, half and full marathon along the Top of the Gorge. The weather meant I got some moody shots of the dark clouds, helped with a Cokin ND Grad on the Samyang 12mm.

A runner at the Top of Cheddar Gorge with dark moody clouds
Runners from the Relish Running Races in cheddar tackle the tough hilly course
A runner panting for breath up Hells Steps on the Mendips near Black Rock, Velvet Bottom
Happy runners at in Velvet Bottom on the Mendips near Cheddar Gorge

Again, massive kudos to everyone who worked, volunteered and attended the event. It shows that there’s no such thing as bad weather.