Isaac’s Tea Trail Ultra Marathon 6th August 2022- Entries Open

  • 37 miles of dramatic scenery.
  • 5000 ft of ascent.
  • Branded mug.
  • Copy of the Isaac Tea Trail Guide
  • Free downloadable event pictures 
  • A packet of wild flower seeds.
  • Event tracker to provide safety and dot watching fun for your family and friends.
  • Branded tea pots for category winners.
  • Well stocked checkpoints each with a featured tea en-route, offering hot/cold drinks, snacks, fruit, vegan sweets and  cake!
  • Hot food and drinks available at race HQ following completion of the event.
  • A £3 donation from each entry will go towards the upkeep of the trail. Donations will be made to the Friends of the North Pennines and the Pennine Way National trail.
  • Venue: Allendale Village Hall, Allendale, NE47 9PR
  • Parking: Allendale Primary School, Allendale.
  • Start Time: 9am
  • Registration: 6pm-9pm on 5th August and 6.00-8.00 am on the 6th August

Relay Team leg distances.

Allendale to Nenthead 11.26 miles and 1779ft of climbing

Nenthead to Ninebanks 16 miles and 2023ft of climbing

Ninebanks to Allendale 13 miles and 1177ft of climbing


About the Trail.

Come and join us on this epic journey through some of the most dramatic countryside in the UK. The race route follows Isaac’s Tea Trail, a 37-mile loop from Allendale, via Nenthead, Alston and Ninebanks before returning back to Allendale. The run route is completely within the North Pennines AONB, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a UNESCO Global Geopark. The North Pennines is a stunning landscape of open heather moors and peatlands, attractive dales and hay meadows, tumbling upland rivers, wonderful woods, welcoming communities, intriguing imprints of a mining and industrial past, distinctive birds, animals and plants and much, much more.

The race route will follow the finger posts and Isaac’s Tea Trail markers through some stunning landscapes, on a great mixture of farmland, meandering riverside trails, beautiful villages, flower filled meadows and moorland. We will have marshals at key points along the route, but other than the permanent signage this event is a self navigating challenge. We will provide you with a route description, map, the Isaac’s Tea Trail Guide book and a GPX file should you choose to use a GPS device. You will have 12 hrs to complete the route which means you need to average approx 3 mph, the current fastest know time is held by Cees van der Land who completed the route In 2021 a new course record was set by Cees Van Der Land in an amazing time of 5hrs 48 mins, Emily Cowper-Coles set the ladies record and an incredible 7 hrs 2mins.

You can read more about the race day by having a quick read of Anne’s blog

We will be running some recce days covering the whole route, but broken down into manageable chunks and with a lunch stop along the way at one of the villages. We will provide transport back to the start . There will be a small charge for this to cover the cost of bus hire etc.

A great resource for getting a flavour of the Trail, Isaac Holden and the North Pennines is

If you would like to learn more about why the North Pennines AONB is so special you can do so here.

Race Route

Isaac Holden

Isaac Holden was born around 1805 in Mohope in the Ninebanks grieveship of the West Allen. The family were known to be amongst the poorest and he never attended a school. The Holden’s were lead miners as most others were or employed in processing or transporting the ore. The market for lead boomed in the 1700s at home and abroad but made the miners vulnerable when the trade slumped in times of recession. Born into this way of life Isaac was indistinguishable from his contemporaries. Yet by the end of his life he had assumed almost a legendary status with the grandest memorial in Allendale churchyard with a revealing tribute:

“ISAAC HOLDEN A native of this parish who died November 12th 1857, aged 51 years. He gained the esteem and respect of the public by his untiring diligence in originating works of charity and public usefulness upwards of 600 persons subscribed to erect this monument.”    

How he won the respect across the community is the inspiration for Isaac’s Tea Trail and an invitation to follow in his footsteps. Along the way you will discover the hidden heritage of a remote part of Northern England. Even if you are not interested in the history the varied route will introduce you to the some of the best bits of the North Pennines.

Isaac and Tea

If Isaac had remained a lead miner there would probably have been no memorial or trail. What changed everything was a down turn in the lead trade in the early 1830s and the near exhaustion of ore in the mine where he worked. At this time of crisis in the industry Isaac turned away from mining and launched into his career as an itinerant tea seller and energetic fund raiser. It is a matter of speculation as the exact circumstances behind his career change. Tea selling was a calling driven only from dire necessity.

He was given a helping hand with advice and access to the tea supply chain. Fortunately, in the years ahead tea drinking grew steadily in popularity, as the price dropped with reductions in import tariffs, tea became more affordable and within the reach of most households. In Methodist circuits tea bazaars became the rage at special anniversaries and for raising funds and was encouraged as an alternative to alcohol.

Around this time Isaac experienced a life changing religious conversion and was later described as “pious”. Whatever the reasons behind his conversion such emotionally charged occasions were a powerful feature in the close faith driven communities of the North Pennines. At this already eventful time he married Anne Telfer and before long they opened a grocer’s shop in Allendale.

By then Isaac, dressed in black, had become a familiar figure, uphill and down dale selling tea door to door in all weathers to the mining communities, farmsteads and remote hamlets. Over the years, as he fund-raised for charity and his name became known not only in the Allen Valleys but across the North of England from Carlisle to Newcastle.

Fortitude Running Events is an eco-friendly company and, on that basis, we don’t use disposable plastic cups and don’t offer T shirts as standard – many go to waste after events. As with all of our races we will be collecting Pre-loved running kit so that we can pass it all onto an up-cycling scheme which we are supporting. We are actively encouraging participants to give something back to the environment which is why your race goodies are a little bit different. We are including a packet of mixed wild flower seeds for you to plant which will encourage bees and other pollinators to visit your garden and is great for the environment.

We have recently signed up to the North Pennines AONB Responsible Tourism Charter, which broadly means that when planning our events full consideration is given to the environment, conservation issues, the local economies, local landowners and obviously any impact we may have on wildlife.


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